Transferred use of the surname, in origin a Norman baronial name from any of several places in Normandy called Néville or Neuville ‘new settlement’. It was used as a given name first in the 16th century, and with increasing regularity from the second half of the 19th to the 1930s; since then it has steadily declined in popularity.
Indian (Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka): Hindu and Parsi name which goes back to an official title meaning ‘village headman’, pəṭel in Gujarati, Marathi, and Kannada (where it is paṭēla). It comes ultimately from Sanskrit paṭṭakila ‘tenant of royal land’. Among the Indians in the U.S, it is the most common family name.