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Updated June 9, 2019

Family name origins & meanings

  • Polish, German, and Jewish (eastern Ashkenazic) : from Polish litwin, an ethnic name for someone from Lithuania (Polish Litwa, Lithuanian Lietuva, a word of uncertain etymology, perhaps a derivative of the river name Leità). In the 14th century Lithuania was an independent grand duchy which extended from the Baltic to the shores of the Black Sea. It was united with Poland in 1569, and was absorbed into the Russian empire in 1795. The region referred to as Lite in Ashkenazic culture encompassed not only Lithuania but also Latvia, Estonia, Belarus, parts of northern Ukraine, and parts of northeastern Poland.
  • English : from an Old English personal name, Lēohtwine, composed of the elements lēoht ‘light’, ‘bright’ + wine ‘friend’.

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