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Does the German surname "Untermeyer" (as in the famous poet Louis Untermeyer) mean a subordinate?

Question #144131. Asked by tjoebigham.
Last updated Apr 30 2017.
Originally posted Apr 30 2017 1:06 PM.

WesleyCrusher star
Answer has 7 votes
Currently Best Answer
WesleyCrusher star
14 year member
158 replies avatar

Answer has 7 votes.

Currently voted the best answer.
Partially yes. A "Meier" (of which "Meyer" and "Maier" are alternate spellings) was a bailiff or an administrator of some plot of land, who himself wielded some often considerable power. "Unter" means "under" (as a subordinate), so that was a lesser / subordinate Meier (but still a low-level manager, so not entirely a subordinate).


In German, "Unter" and the opposite "Ober" are common modifiers to office / rank names, such as in "Oberleutnant" (first lieutenant) or "Unterfeldwebel" (junior sergeant)

Response last updated by WesleyCrusher on Apr 30 2017.
Apr 30 2017, 3:33 PM
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