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Updated June 9, 2019

Family name origins & meanings

  • German : nickname for an honest man, from a compound of Middle High German biderbe ‘honorable’ + man ‘man’. Associated with it is the surname Biedermeier (see Mayer), adopted in 1853 by a group of German humorists as the name of a fictitious writer, Gottlob Biedermeier, satirized as an unimaginative bourgeois philistine. The name came to be used to refer to the stolid style of furnishing and decoration that was popular in mid 19th-century Germany.
  • Jewish (Ashkenazic) : surname adopted because of its honorific meaning, from modern German bieder ‘honest’, ‘upright’ + -mann ‘man’.

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