Ralph Norman Bauer
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German and Jewish (Ashkenazic): status name for a peasant or
nickname meaning ‘neighbor’, ‘fellow citizen’, from Middle High German
(ge)bur, Middle Low German bur, denoting an
occupant of a bur, a small dwelling or building. Compare Old
English bur, modern English bower. This word later
fell together with Middle High German buwære, an agent
noun from Old High German buan ‘to cultivate’, later also
(at first in Low German dialects) ‘to build’. The German surname thus
has two possible senses: ‘peasant’ and ‘neighbor’, ‘fellow citizen’.
The precise meaning of the Jewish surname, which is of later
formation, is unclear.