Last name origins & meanings:

  1. German (common in the north of Germany and around Hamburg): in some cases probably a habitational name from the city of Kiel in Schleswig-Holstein, but more likely a topographic name for someone living by a long narrow bay or area of sheltered water, from Middle Low German kil ‘wedge’, the word from which the city derives its name. Alternatively, it may be from the same word applied as a nickname to denote a crude person.
  2. North German: possibly an occupational name for a ship’s captain, short for Low German Kilmester (Middle Low German kil ‘keel’, ‘boat’ + mester ‘master’, ‘skipper’). Kilmester is attested as a surname near Rostock in the 13th century.
  3. German: from a pet form of the personal name Kilian.
  4. Dutch: from Middle Dutch kidel, kedel ‘smock’, hence a metonymic occupational name for someone who make such garments or perhaps a nickname for someone who habitually wore one.
  5. Dutch: habitational name from a place so named in Antwerp or from the German city (see 1).
  6. Jewish (Ashkenazic): variant of Kil.
  7. Polish (Kieł): from kieł ‘tooth’, ‘fang’, hence a nickname for someone with bad or protruding teeth.
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