Last name origins & meanings:

  1. South German and Jewish (Ashkenazic): from a Germanic personal name, but mainly a nickname for an exceptionally tall or big man, Middle High German rise, German Riese ‘giant’. In some cases the name may have been used to refer ironically to a particularly short man.
  2. South German: habitational name from any of several places named Ries.
  3. German: topographic name from Middle Low German rīs ‘branch’, ‘twig’, ‘brushwood’.
  4. Altered spelling of German Riess or Reis.
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