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not set
Type Surname (from nickname & from location)

Meaning & History

Nickname for a fleet-footed or timid person, from Old French levre ‘hare’ (Latin lepus, genitive leporis). It may also have been a metonymic occupational name for a hunter of hares. Topographic name for someone who lived in a place thickly grown with rushes, from Old English l?fer ‘rush’, ‘reed’, ‘iris’. Compare Laver. Great and Little Lever in Greater Manchester (formerly in Lancashire) are named with this word (in a collective sense) and in some cases the surname may also be derived from these places. Possibly from an unrecorded Middle English survival of an Old English personal name, Leofhere, composed of the elements leof ‘dear’, ‘beloved’ + here ‘army’.
Added 10/9/2016 by LMS