Last name origins & meanings:

  1. German and Jewish (Ashkenazic): descriptive epithet for a wise person or counselor, from Middle High German rāt ‘counsel’, ‘advice’, German Rat ‘counsel’, ‘advice’, also ‘stock’, ‘supply’.
  2. German (also Swiss Räth): from a short form of any of the various Germanic compound personal names formed with rād, rāt ‘counsel’, ‘advice’ as the first element.
  3. German (Rhineland): habitational name from any of various places called Rath, which derives from Middle Low German roden, raden ‘to clear land for cultivation’.
  4. Irish: in some cases a habitational name from a place called Rath; in County Derry it is a reduced form of McIlwraith (see McIlrath).
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