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Last name origins & meanings:

  1. French: from the Old French personal name Germain. This was popular in France, where it had been borne by a 5th-century saint, bishop of Auxerre. It derives from Latin Germanus ‘brother’, ‘cousin’ (originally an adjective meaning ‘of the same stock’, from Latin germen ‘bud’, ‘shoot’). In the Romance languages, especially Italian, the popularity of the equivalent personal name has been enhanced by association with the meaning ‘brother (in God)’, and in Spanish the cognate surname is derived from the vocabulary word meaning ‘brother’ rather than from a personal name. The feminine form, Germaine, which occurs as a place name in Aisne, Marne, and Haute-Marne, is associated with a late 16th-century saint from Provençal, the daughter of a poor farmer, who was canonized in 1867.
  2. English: variant of German.
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