Last name origins & meanings:
- English: from the Middle English nickname Bere meaning
‘bear’ (Old English bera, which is also found as a byname), or
possibly from a personal name derived from a short form of the various
Germanic compound names with this first element. Compare for example
Bernhard. The bear has generally been regarded with a mixture
of fear and amusement because of its strength and unpredictable temper
on the one hand and its clumsy gait on the other, and in the medieval
period it was also thought to typify the sins of sloth and
gluttony. All these characteristics are no doubt reflected in the
nickname. Throughout the Middle Ages the bear was a familiar figure in
popular entertainments such as bear baiting and dancing bears.
- English: variant spelling of the habitational name Beer.
- Probably a translation of cognates of 1 in other languages,
for example German Baer, and also an Americanized spelling of
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