Apparently invented by Felice Romani in his libretto for Bellini's opera of this name (first performed in 1832). It is identical in form with Latin norma ‘rule, standard’, but there is no evidence that this word was the source of the name. In recent times, it has come to be taken in England and the Scottish Highlands as a feminine equivalent of Norman.
Portuguese, Galician, and Jewish (Sephardic): topographic name from Portuguese pereira ‘pear tree’, or a habitational name from a place named with this word in Portugal and Galicia. The surname is also common in western India, having been taken there by Portuguese colonists.