German and Jewish (Ashkenazic): nickname from (respectively) Middle High German vrītac and German Freitag ‘Friday’ (Old High German frīatag, frījetag, a translation of Late Latin Veneris dies: Freya was the Germanic goddess of love, sometimes considered as equivalent to the Roman Venus). The German name may have denoted someone born on a Friday or who performed some feudal service then. However, Friday was considered unlucky throughout Christendom in the Middle Ages (because it was the day on which Christ was crucified), and it seems more likely that the name was given to a person considered ill-omened. It is found as a byname in this sense in Old High German. This is by far the commonest of the surnames drawn from the days of the week, followed by Sonntag ‘Sunday’, traditionally a day of good omen. Among Jews, it seems to have been one of the names that were distributed at random by government officials.