Aramaic name, meaning ‘doe’ or ‘roe’, borne in the New Testament by a woman who was restored to life by St Peter (Acts 9:36–41). In the biblical account this form of the name is given together with its Greek equivalent, Dorcas. It was one of the names much favoured by Puritans and Dissenters from the 16th to the 19th centuries.
Jewish (Ashkenazic): ornamental name composed of the German elements Friede ‘peace’ + hof ‘courtyard’. Alternatively, it may be a topographic name from the German Friedhof ‘graveyard’, ‘cemetery’ (from Middle Low German, Middle High German vrīthof ‘enclosed farmstead or courtyard’, later ‘cemetery’).