German and Jewish (Ashkenazic): status name for a peasant or nickname meaning ‘neighbor’, ‘fellow citizen’, from Middle High German (ge)būr, Middle Low German būr, denoting an occupant of a būr, a small dwelling or building. Compare Old English būr, modern English bower. This word later fell together with Middle High German būwære, an agent noun from Old High German būan ‘to cultivate’, later also (at first in Low German dialects) ‘to build’. The German surname thus has two possible senses: ‘peasant’ and ‘neighbor’, ‘fellow citizen’. The precise meaning of the Jewish surname, which is of later formation, is unclear. This surname is also found elsewhere in central and eastern Europe, for example in Slovenia, where it may also be a translation of Kmet.