This French, Spanish and Portugese name of MAGRO was a nickname for a thin person, derived from the Old French word MAIGRE, and rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form MACER (delicate). The name has numerous variant spellings which include MAGRITTE, MAIGRE, MAGRE, LEMAIGRE, MEGAR, MAGER, MAGRON and MAGRONI, to name but a few. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. A notable member of the name was Rene MAGRITTE (1898-1967) the Belgium Surrealist painter, born in Lessines, Hainault. His major paintings include 'The Wind and the Song' (1928) and 'The Human Condition'. He was acclaimed in the United States, as an early innovator of the 'Pop Art' of the 1960's. In the 8th century, Spain fell under the control of the Moors, and this influence, which lasted into the 12th century, has also left its mark on Hispanic surnames. A few names are based directly on Arabic personal names. The majority of Spanish occupational and nickname surnames, however, are based on ordinary Spanish derivatives. French, or rather Norman French, was the language of the aristocracy and the upper classes in England at the time fixed surnames were being developed, it is therefore not surprising that many of our well-known family names are derived from French words. Originally only Christian or personal names were used, and although a few came into being during the 10th century, surnames were not widely used until much later, when people began to realize the prestige of having a second name.
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