Von

In German, von is a preposition which approximately means of or from.

When it is used as a part of a German family name, it is usually a nobiliary particle, like the French, Galician, Spanish and Portuguese de. At certain times and places, it has been illegal for anyone who was not a member of the nobility to use von before the family name. However, in the Middle Ages, the von particle was still a common part of names and was widely used also by commoners; thus, "Hans von Duisburg" meant Hans from Duisburg. The Dutch van, which is a cognate of von but does not indicate nobility, can be said to have preserved this earlier meaning.

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Famous quotes containing the word Von:

    Go to foreign countries and you will get to know the good things one possesses at home.
    —Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749–1832)