Variant spelling of Geoffrey, common in the Middle Ages (as reflected in surnames such as Jefferson). This is now the usual spelling of the name both in North America and Britain. Well-known bearers include the novelist and former British politician Jeffrey Archer (b. 1940), the British conductor Jeffrey Tate (b. 1943), and the American soul singer Jeffrey Osborne (b. 1951).
English and Scottish: occupational name for a tailor, from Old French tailleur (Late Latin taliator, from taliare ‘to cut’). The surname is extremely common in Britain and Ireland, and its numbers have been swelled by its adoption as an Americanized form of the numerous equivalent European names, most of which are also very common among Ashkenazic Jews, for example Schneider, Szabó, and Portnov.