Last name origin & meaning:
English, Scottish, German, Dutch, etc.: from the personal name
Peter (Greek Petros, from petra ‘rock’,
‘stone’). The name was popular throughout Christian Europe in the
Middle Ages, having been bestowed by Christ as a byname on the apostle
Simon bar Jonah, the brother of Andrew. The name was chosen by Christ
for its symbolic significance (John 1:42, Matt. 16:18); St. Peter is
regarded as the founding head of the Christian Church in view of
Christ’s saying, ‘Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my
Church’. In Christian Germany in the early Middle Ages this was the
most frequent personal name of non-Germanic origin until the 14th
century. This surname has also absorbed many cognates in other
languages, for example Czech Petr, Hungarian Péter.
It has also been adopted as a surname by Ashkenazic Jews.
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