Last name origins & meanings:

  1. Variant spelling of Dutch, German, and Scandinavian Karl.
  2. English: from the Anglo-Scandinavian personal name Karl(i), ultimately from Germanic karl ‘man’, ‘freeman’. See also Charles.
  3. English: status name for a bondman or villein, from the vocabulary word karl, carl, which had various different meanings at various times: originally ‘man’, then ‘ordinary man’, ‘peasant’, and in Middle English specialized in the senses ‘free peasant’, ‘bondman’, ‘villein’, and ‘rough, churlish individual’.
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