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Updated June 9, 2019

Family name origins & meanings

  • English and Scottish : from Middle English bis, biss(e), bice, byse ‘dingy’, ‘dark’, ‘gray’, ‘murky’; ‘dark fur used for trimming and lining garments’ (Old French bis(e), of Germanic origin), hence a nickname for someone with an unhealthy complexion or someone who habitually dressed in particularly drab garments, or (from the noun) a metonymic occupational name for a furrier or maker of fur-trimmed garments.
  • South German : nickname for a cutting, sarcastic person, from Biss ‘bite’.

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