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Updated June 9, 2019

Family name origins & meanings

  • Italian (mainly Liguria and Lombardy) : from mala ‘bad’ + èrba ‘grass’, ‘weed’, applied in a transferred sense as a nickname for a wicked or dangerous person, or in some cases possibly a habitational name from any of various places so named; it is not clear whether the place name is a descriptive name or derives from the nickname.

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