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Surname Geller - Meaning and Origin

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Geller: What does the surname Geller mean?

The surname Geller is of Ashkenazi Jewish origin and is derived from the Yiddish word "geler," which means "red." This could indicate that the original bearers of this name might've had red hair or a ruddy complexion. Alternatively, it may also refer to someone who produces or sells dye. Geller could also originate from the German word "gellen" that translates to "to yell" or "to shout," possibly describing a person's profession as a town crier or their loud, boisterous nature. As with many surnames, it could have different meanings in different regions and might not necessarily indicate any characteristic of the family's ancestors. Therefore, it is important to note that the meaning can vary greatly depending on geographical location and historical context.

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Geller: Where does the name Geller come from?

The last name Geller predominantly originates from Central Europe, particularly Germany and is of Ashkenazi Jewish descent. The surname is occupational, originating from the Middle High German term "gellen" which means "to yell" or "cry". Thus, it was often designated for town criers, or people tasked with making public announcements in the streets.

Today, the Geller surname is most commonly found in the United States, followed by Germany, Israel, and Canada. It has become quite known in popular culture due to the characters Ross and Monica Geller from the television sitcom “Friends”. However, it is worth noting that the frequency of the Geller surname is significantly less as compared to many others due to the smaller population of Ashkenazi Jews globally.

Additionally, although the surname can be traced back to specific roles in society, over time and with migration, categorizing the surname to a certain region has become increasingly difficult. Yet, it maintains its presence in countries that have a significant Jewish diaspora community.

Variations of the surname Geller

The surname Geller is of Germanic and Ashkenazic Jewish origin, primarily used in Eastern Europe and Germany. It comes from the personal name Gellert, derived from the Germanic elements “geri” meaning "spear" and “hart” meaning "hardy", "brave", or "strong."

Some common variants of the surname include Gellert, Gellerman, Gellertsen, and Gellehr. As the origin is German, it is common to see spellings with two “l’s” but variations with one “l”, like Geler or Gelehr, do exist too.

The Jewish form of Geller derives from Yiddish "geler," an occupational name for a potter or an abbreviation for the female personal name Golda. In such cases, spellings such as Geler or Gellere are conceivable.

The surname can also be anglicized into other forms, especially in America where people often changed the spelling of their name to integrate more easily. Hence, Gellar - like the American actress Sarah Michelle Gellar - is another variation.

The surname Geller might be also connected, especially in the Eastern European area, with other names of the same root, like Gelb, Gelt, or Geltman.

Famous people with the name Geller

  • Courtney Geller: television writer, producer and showrunner behind series like Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce and Impastor.
  • Monica Geller: fictional character from the NBC sitcom Friends, portrayed by Courteney Cox.
  • Jack Geller: fictional character from Friends, portrayed by Elliott Gould.
  • Ross Geller: fictional character from Friends, portrayed by David Schwimmer.
  • Uri Geller: Israeli-British illusionist, magician, television personality and self-proclaimed psychic.
  • Atara Geller: professional performer, musician, vocalist, and Broadway artist.
  • Gary Geller: American plastic surgeon and author.
  • Bob Geller: American aerospace engineer, educator, and astronaut on two Space Shuttle missions.
  • Miiko Geller: professional cheerleader and former member of the NBA’s Miami Heat dance team.
  • Joanna Geller: co-founder and executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, a non-profit think tank.

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