Recorded as Chafer and Chaffer, this is an English medieval surname. It is occupational and has at least two possible origins, one of which may be French. This from the pre 10th century Olde French word "chaufeur", which has nothing directly to do with driving a vehicle, but describes the owner of a "chauffour", or limekiln. This was a word introduced by the Normans after thge 1066 Invasion when for three centuries Frencghwas the official language of England. An alternative and more likely origin is from the similar sounding Middle English word "chaffar", meaning one who trades, the ultimate origin being the Olde English "ceapfaru". This gives a result similar to the surname Chapman, which also means a trader or merchant. Occupational surnames were amongst the first to be created, but they did not usually become hereditary unless a son followed his father into the same line of business. In this case early examples of the surname recording include: John del Chaufeur in the Subsidy Tax Rolls of Yorkshire in the year 1301, and this is a definate reference to one who lived at a limekiln, although John Chaffar also recorded in Yorkshire, but in the Friary Rolls of 1360, is almost certainly a reference to a merchant. Over the centuries surnames have continued to develop. The general lack of education upto the Victorian times where only about one in ten of the public could read and write, and the local dialects which were extremely "thick", often lead to the introduction of variant surname forms or in this case, where the two base names are so similar, to a fusing of recordings.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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  • Chafer — Chaf er, n. [AS. ceafor; akin to D. kever, G k[ e]fer.] (Zo[ o]l.) A kind of beetle; the cockchafer. The name is also applied to other species; as, the rose chafer. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Chafer — Chaf er, n. 1. One who chafes. [1913 Webster] 2. A vessel for heating water; hence, a dish or pan. [1913 Webster] A chafer of water to cool the ends of the irons. Baker. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • chafer — (n.) kind of beetle, O.E. ceafor beetle, cock chafer, from P.Gmc. *kabraz (Cf. O.S. kevera, Du. kever, O.H.G. chevar, Ger. Käfer), lit. gnawer, from PIE *gep(h) jaw, mouth …   Etymology dictionary

  • chafer — [chāf′ər] n. [ME < OE ceafor (orig. sense prob. “devourer”) < IE base * ĝebh , jaw, mouth, devour > JOWL1, Ger kiefer, jaw, Ir gob, mouth] any of various beetles (esp. family Scarabaeidae) that feed on plants, as the cockchafer or rose… …   English World dictionary

  • Chafer — Difficile de se prononcer sur ce nom de famille dont l origine géographique n est pas évidente. En supposant qu il soit porté par des juifs, il pourrait correspondre à l hébreu shefer (= grâce, beauté, charme) …   Noms de famille

  • chafer — ► NOUN ▪ a large flying beetle of a group including the cockchafer and June bug. ORIGIN Old English …   English terms dictionary

  • chafer — /chay feuhr/, n. any scarabaeid beetle. [bef. 1000; ME cheaffer, chaver, OE ceofor; akin to G Käfer] * * * Any of several species of scarab beetle (most in the subfamily Melolonthinae). Adult leaf chafers (genus Macrodactylus) eat foliage; the… …   Universalium

  • chafer — Cockchafer Cock chaf er, n. [See {Chafer} the beetle.] (Zo[ o]l.) A beetle of the genus {Melolontha} (esp. {Melolontha vulgaris}) and allied genera; called also {May bug}, {chafer}, or {dorbeetle}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • chafer — noun Any of several scarab beetles, including the cockchafer, leaf chafer and rose chafer …   Wiktionary

  • chafer — chaf•er [[t]ˈtʃeɪ fər[/t]] n. ent any of various scarab beetles that are pests of plants, as the cockchafer and rose chafer • Etymology: bef. 1000; ME cheaffer, chaver, OE ceofor; akin to OMDkever, OHG chevar(o) …   From formal English to slang