Readers reply: why is the surname Farmer unheard of when there have been so lots of farmers for so extended?

Why is the surname Farmer so unusual when there have been massive figures of farmers for so very long? Is it for the reason that most of them had been tenant farmers, and the precise landowners had been greater up the social scale with longstanding family members names? Gerry Cotter, Morecambe, Lancs

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Certainly the reply is in the issue. Names (which include those people primarily based on occupations) are meant to distinguish you from the relaxation. Folks referred to as Potter, Fletcher or Cooper ended up presumably the only (or most nicely-known) makers of pottery, arrows or barrels in the group. In which everybody farmed to some extent in buy to remain alive, there would be no place in referring to an individual as (the) farmer. Frank Wintertime

As a corollary, this also describes the attractiveness of the surname Smith: in a offered village you’d almost certainly only have a single, so it operates to distinguish, but you pretty much undoubtedly would have at the very least just one. Callum Ramsey

The identify Farmer comes from the Center English “fermer”, which derives from the very same root as fermier in French, which means a individual who collects tithes and taxes on land. Shepherd, Cowman and Ploughman are the type of names attributed to men and women who worked on larger farms or solitary-use smaller enterprises. A basic identify designed from smaller farms on which a jack of all trades may possibly have produced a dwelling with numerous diverse solutions may have been Croft or, in the situation of rented land, Tenant and Granger are names that are descriptive of doing the job the land. Ackerman (ploughman), Bannister (basket maker), Berger (shepherd), Marshal (horseman), Stoddard (horse keeper), and Shearer (shearer of sheep) all refer to certain functional roles in farming, whilst Bailey, Stewart, Steward and Graves all refer to clerical work on farms. A human being owning a farm without actually functioning basically on it would commonly be Laird, Lord or Yeoman, meaning totally free holder. Anna Gregory

Assume of the type of medieval modern society wherever surnames originated. In your village, the Lord, his agent the Reeve, the Smith and the Miller were being important people today and there was possibly only a person of each and every. Most of the rest ended up farmers of some type, unless of course they had a specialised trade such as Butcher or Taylor or Brewer. So it was pointless to call them all Will or Thomas Farmer. Which farmer? The tall one (Very long), the red-headed 1 (Russell), the one particular who lived on the Hill or by the Lake, Thomas’s son, Will’s son, the inexplicably teetotal a person (Drinkwater) and so on. gallerymouse

It’s mainly because the identify farmer does not refer to people today who farm. It’s an previous medieval title for a tax collector. Mike Wood

In the Netherlands, the surname “De Boer” (“the Farmer”) is a person of the most prevalent names in the state. This invalidates the premise “Why is the surname Farmer so uncommon”. At minimum in the Netherlands. Heikki Doeleman

Because in medieval England (which is from in which a lot of prevalent English-language surnames originate) really couple folks were farmers. Individuals who did not are living in towns had been pretty much all serfs or peasants, so whilst they would have “farmed” their land, that was not so a great deal their occupation as their total way of lifestyle. The food stuff they manufactured would have absent solely to both feeding their family members or as tribute to the tax collector and neighborhood feudal lord. The concept of a person accomplishing farming (ie growing food or increasing livestock in purchase to provide it for income) didn’t definitely originate until the 18th century, by which time most families experienced acquired surnames previously. (Source: a person smarter than me on Reddit, /u/buried_treasure) CHPala

Before “husband” meant husband or wife, I believe it intended an individual who functions on the land. For this reason the words and phrases for every member of a married pair referred to their most important occupation: particular person who weaves or spouse, and individual who tends (husbands) the land. I feel there are a few surnames with “husband” in them. tenduvets

The surname Mather means mower. A man or woman who’s trade was to mow meadows for hay. Farmers also took the name, as quite a few did, of the nearest settlement. For instance John of Airton, at some point becoming basic John Airton. ProfessorScoggins

Farmers were being, originally, not persons who worked the land. Rather, they ended up tax collectors who would acquire rent on behalf of the landlord from these doing the job in the fields. When surnames had been initial turning into prevalent there would have been rather couple of farmers in contrast to the selection of labourers. politevulture

Farmer is not truly a literal etymology of real farmers. It’s a warping of the unique French word fermeur, a collector of tithes for the king. Alexxe

Of course but. The primary sense of fermier (not fermeur) is “holder of a company-cost lease”, regardless of whether the lease is for the exploitation of tax selection or land cultivation. In the agricultural realm, fermier is distinguished from métayer, another person whose lease is paid on the basis of a half-share of the crop. Being a fermier or à métayer is circumstantial, not a make any difference of competencies and working experience. Thus a less probable choice for a family identify, I would guess. justinbb

Certainly, this arrived up on QI when: it basically usually means “tax farmer”. A farmer might be named Ackerman (acre gentleman – a ploughman) or Cotter (related to cottage) or Bond (bondsman, bondage, certain to the land), Mather (mower, as in aftermath, a next crop), or other distinct phrases. jno50

Indeed, “farmer” often experienced that agricultural sense as one particular of its meanings, but in medieval moments, it was extremely significantly a secondary meaning. Simply simply because really little agricultural land was in the kind of set-price leases most of it was organised into manors. I guess there was a transitional stage in the 14th and 15th hundreds of years, in the course of which “yeoman” was the usual phrase for primarily the similar matter. Getting a yeoman experienced a superior social standing locally, and the term in all probability fell out of use as getting an agricultural operator-manager became a lot more typical and ceased to have really the exact cachet it when did. “Farmer” in its modern day perception became a common utilization at some stage in the 16th century. PaniscusTroglodytes

I’ve just read that the etymology of the surname Cole is almost certainly linked to the Latin “cola”, as in agri-cola. It is supposed to imply “farmer”. Roy Cole, O’Fallon, Illinois

It may perhaps be since the word “farmer”, which in the Greek authentic suggests “earth worker”, geōrgos (γεωργός), was to start with employed as an etymological pun as a nickname for George III (1738-1820) AKA “Farmer” George. Potentially for the reason that the pun was not in particular flattering to the king, it lost its mojo, even though it experienced been close to since the Norman conquest. Richard Orlando, Westmount, Quebec

This feels like a excellent put to advise Kevin Stroud’s Background of English podcast. Entire episodes detailing agricultural vocabulary, and how English surnames arose. Be suggested – he goes deep. Just about every episode is about an hour, and by episode 100, he experienced just obtained to Magna Carta. whood

Other comments say Farmer by itself is not a pretty handy surname when so many folks farmed the land, which is accurate, but there could have been particulars extra, which would have produced valuable surnames. In Danish a lot of non-patronymic surnames come from specific farms (gård or gaard), these kinds of as in the circumstance of thinker Kierkegaard (church farm) or my individual, Storgaard (major farm). I have under no circumstances witnessed equal farm surnames in English. hettisa

I look to be continuing the tradition of naming people today after their trade. My contacts list features Andy Plumber, Andy Caravan, Andy Mover, who fixed the mover on my caravan), Andy Neighbour, Dave Household (a builder), John Paver, who paved my lawn. I sense that I really should know their surnames but … Swanvesta22

Unfortunately I come to feel, a word from the middle ages for just one who is effective the land has extensive fell out of favour. From Center English erthling (“farmer, ploughman”) … from Outdated English ierþling, eorþling (“farmer, husbandman, ploughman”) …. from eorþe (“ground grime earth Earth”). Anglo-saxon also presents us Webbestre (weaver) for Webster, Bæcestre (female kind of baker) for Baxter. And the all-goal Wyrhta, that means labourer or employee, which turned Wright. All lifted from The Term Hoard by Hana Videen. bewildered23

It’s recognised that farming families from time to time took their surname from the name of the farm, area or other topographic characteristic in the fast hinterland around their dwelling. So John at New Corridor farm could possibly grow to be John Newhall. Farmland has a name for possessing some definitely ancient obscure names for personal fields, meadows, ponds and woodland and I have no doubt that some of these bought made use of as surnames by farmers when they had to undertake a single. Pesmog

Listed here in Australia, the place we mature sugar, I know of just one circumstance in which someone with the surname “Farmer” had to be talked out of naming their son “Kane”. Urknall

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