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Coat of arms of the Fenech family

There are various interpretations of the origins of the surname Fenech. The most notable is the meaning of "rabbit", since fenek is rabbit in Maltese. This in turn comes from the Arabic word for fox, فَنَك (fenek, fanak, “fennec fox”) which like the rabbit has large ears as its distinguishing feature and may have been confused during the development of the Maltese language which borrows heavily from Semitic languages. The word is also thought to be a respelling of Fenich, the German for millet farmer.[1]

"Phoenician" variation[edit]

Another variation is formed from the word Phoenicians. In fact, some bearers of this surname use the horse, a Phoenician symbol, on their crest rather than the rabbit.

"Fenwick" variation[edit]

Another variation is an Anglo-Saxon one where it is derived from a family living in Fenwick, which was in Northumberland and the West Riding of Yorkshire. This name was originally derived from the English fenn which means marsh and wic, which means a farm. The surname Fenwick is still widely found in northern England and has spread through most English-speaking countries.

Famous people[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Patrick Hanks, American Family Name Origins. Dictionary of American Family Names. 2006