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Last name origins & meanings:

  1. English: habitational name from Brill in Buckinghamshire, named with the Celtic element bre- ‘hill’ + Old English hyll also ‘hill’.
  2. North German and Dutch: habitational name from any of various places in northwestern Germany and the Netherlands named Brill, from Middle Low German brūl, bröil ‘wet lowland’. Compare German Bruehl.
  3. German: from Middle Low German brill ‘eyeglasses’, hence a metonymic occupational name for a maker of spectacles or perhaps a nickname for someone who wore them.
  4. Jewish (Ashkenazic): acronymic surname from Hebrew ben rabi ‘son of …’ and the first letter of each part of a Yiddish double male personal name, most likely Yude (Juda) Leyb. Many Ashkenazic family names beginning with Br- and Bar- are probably of acronymic origin, but without detailed evidence from family histories it is impossible to specify the personal name from which each is derived.
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