Meaning and Origin of: Bishop

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First name origins & meanings:

  • English : A bishop
  • Greek : Overseer

First name variations

Last name origin & meaning:

  • English : from Middle English biscop, Old English bisc(e)op ‘bishop’, which comes via Latin from Greek episkopos ‘overseer’. The Greek word was adopted early in the Christian era as a title for an overseer of a local community of Christians, and has yielded cognates in every European language: French évêque, Italian vescovo, Spanish obispo, Russian yepiskop, German Bischof, etc. The English surname has probably absorbed at least some of these continental European cognates. The word came to be applied as a surname for a variety of reasons, among them service in the household of a bishop, supposed resemblance in bearing or appearance to a bishop, and selection as the ‘boy bishop’ on St. Nicholas’s Day.