Unlike many other popular South-African family names, which can often unambiguously traced back to English, Dutch, or Huguenot French, the origin of the name Coetzee is unclear. It is known that it dates back to the person Dirk Coetzee who came to Cape Colony from Kampen in Netherlands in the 17th century.
The Apr 2018 version of the article "Coetzee" in English Wikipedia states, without any source, that it derived from the Hungarian Kocsi, meaning "from Kocs"; and that the surname also originates from the Flemish Couché, which itself originates from the Breton Coet.
A Dutch linguist Jan-Wouter Zwart dismisses this explanation as unlikely and "folk etymology", after examining several facts. Instead Zwart shows the guess, in an informal essay, that it derived from the common Dutch name Koetsier, guided by the pronunciation.
Notable people with the surname "Coetzee"
- Basil Coetzee (1944–1998), South African musician
- Clem Coetzee (c. 1939 – 2006), Zimbabwean conservationist
- Danie Coetzee (born 1977), South African rugby union footballer
- Dirk Coetzee (1945–2013), co-founder and commander of the covert South African Police unit in the 1990s
- Felix Coetzee (born 1959), South African jockey in thoroughbred horse racing
- George Coetzee (born 1986), South African golfer
- Gerrie Coetzee (born 1955), South African boxer
- Hannes Coetzee (born 1944), South African guitarist
- Hendrik Coetzee (c. 1975 – 2010), South African adventurer
- Jandre Coetzee (born 1984), South African first class cricketer
- Jeff Coetzee (born 1977), South African tennis player
- J. M. Coetzee (born 1940), South African-Australian author awarded the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature
- Justin Coetzee (born 1984), South African-Australian cricketer
- Lee Coetzee (born 1984), South African cricketer
- Pietie Coetzee (born 1978), South African field hockey player
- Price Coetzee (born 1946), South African actor
- Rivaldo Coetzee (born 1996), South African footballer
- Ryan Coetzee (born 1973), South African politician and political strategist, businessman
- Tansey Coetzee (born 1984), Miss South Africa 2008
- Roean Coetzee (born 1974), rugby union footballer
- Allister Coetzee (born 1963), South African rugby coach
- Jan-Wouter Zwart (2018), On the origin of the South-African surname Coetzee, archived from the original on 2018-06-20, retrieved 2018-06-20
- Coetzee, English Wikipedia, 2018-04-27