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SHAKESPEARE Family HistoryThis famous name is of early medieval English origin, and has been the subject of much dispute as to its meaning. The most reasonable and likely interpretation is the simplest, that the surname derives from a nickname for a spearman or a belligerent person. The derivation is from the Middle English "schak(k)en", to brandish, shake, with "speer", spear, a development of the Old English pre 7th Century "sc(e)acan" and "spere". A number of similarly formed surnames support the straightforward interpretation of the name: Shacklock or Shakelock, a lock-shaker, gaoler, Shakelance, a spearman, and Shakeshaft, also for a spearman.
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