Help with a French (?) surname

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Leader of the Balkan Squad
Joined: 14.10.2016
Pending moderation

Hello, all,

This is an etymological request. Does anyone know the ethnic background and/or history of the surname Haddeau? It may or may not be spelled with an x at the end (Haddeaux), and is most likely French in origin, but could be Lithuanian. Any information, no matter how small, would be greatly appreciated.


Editor and cheeky nitpicker
Joined: 14.09.2013

I'll take your "no matter how small" to the letter, since I can't say I found anything really groundbreaking.

I certainly never heard such a surname, but then again if you look hard enough you can find mighty weird surnames in France.

There is a word in French that falls pretty close. "hadal" is an adjective meaning "related to (the depths of) deep-sea trenches" whose plural is actualy "hadaux". Just one double consonant short of the target! However, I doubt you will hear it very often, unless you specialize in deep-sea trenches.

You can find Haddeau and Haddeaux as family names, but the only country where French was an official language at some point in history where I could find such names is the Ivory Coast.

Google doesn't seem to know about it, nor the countless French sites that earn a living providing that kind of explanations (mostly to future mothers, apparently).
I wouldn't bet my life on the accuracy of their ethymological explanations, but the frequency figures are based on real population census published by a state organization in charge of official statistics, so I assume they can be trusted.

Hadau is indeed a Celtic word, but I couldn't find anyone with that surname, only family names.
Haddou seems to have been used 6 times between 1980 and 2010 in France. Maybe it's more of a diminutive or a nickname?

Apparently, the vast majority of male surnames beginning with H are rather of Germanic origin.
You can get an idea on this page (the drop-down menu in the bottom letf corner)
I would say I never heard about 2/3 of the "Germanic" ones as names actually used in France.

Broadening the search, I found the Nadaud, Nadeau, Nadau family which, apparently, could be a diminutie of "Bernard" or some variant of an Occitan word meaning "Noël" (French for christmas, also a rather usual surname).
Even this group seems pretty rare, the aforementioned sites count only a few hundreds of them.

And also Hadal, which is apparently of Arabic origin and has been given to a few hundred boys.

Editor and cheeky nitpicker
Joined: 14.09.2013

Since the search on family names in French-speaking countries came up nearly empty, I thought it was interesting to follow the trail of first names, that's all. Nothing to be worked up about, really.

Now I realize my mistake, apparently it was a pissing contest.
Which you won, since you were the only player in the game.

Senior Member
Joined: 18.07.2015

I don't see either any Haddeau in my Dictionaire étymologique des noms de famille et des prénoms de France, Larousse, 1951, 1989.

- The closest surname starting with "H" is Hadaud : "nom de personne d'origine germanique Had-wald (had- combat ; waldan, gouverner), Hadon, Haton, Hatton, Hadet, Hadier, Haderot, Hadrot."

- The closest surname with another starting letter is Nadau : "forme occitane de Noël, Nadaud, Nadin, Nadot, Nadal".

- Or it could be a pseudonym for "ado", meaning "adolescent" (teenager).

Edit : Already said in previous post, sorry.

Leader of the Balkan Squad
Joined: 14.10.2016

Is the Dictionaire étymologique des noms de famille et des prénoms de France still published? I'd love to get my hands on a copy.

Senior Member
Joined: 18.07.2015

It seems it is not published anymore. only sells 2 second hand copies.

Anyway, I think that this book is not very interesting for several reasons:

- There are many names, but almost no explanations.
- There are two parts, because the new names are placed at the end of the book, instead of being inserted in the main corpus.
- You can often find the same pieces of information with a quick search on the internet.

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