The family name Cottier, is found today mostly in Switzerland and France, but also in Great Britain and Ireland, as well as in Australia and the USA, from Swiss emigration to those countries. It is derived from the Latin common noun "cottus", referring, in the old feudal system of peasantry which prevailed to the end of the Middle-Ages, to a land-labourer (villein) who did not own the land he worked on - nor paid rent for it : he paid back the landowner by cultivating the plot allotted to him, living in a small, thatched hut or lodging which came to be known as a cottage. One interesting characteristic of a "cottier" is that he was not a serf, but a freeman.


  • Charles Keith Cottier (born January 8, 1936 in Delta, Colorado) is a former second baseman, manager and coach in American Major League Baseball

A "cottier" (common noun):

[1]. In Switzerland:

A person who hires a small cottage, with or without a plot of land. "Cottiers" commonly aid in the work of the landlord's farm.

[2]. In France:

Same etymology and meaning as for 1. (Switzerland)

[3]. In Great Britain and Ireland:

A "cottier", common noun [from Old French "cotier"; a medieval English villein [syn.: "a cotter"].

In Great Britain and Ireland : a person who hires a small cottage, with or without a plot of land. As in Switzerland and France : "cottiers" commonly aid in the work of the landlord's farm. [Note : feudal status terms also written "cottar" and "cotter".]

"Cotter" (family name):

Status name from Middle English "cotter", a technical term in the feudal system for a serf or bond tenant who held a cottage by service rather than rent, from Old English "cot" : "cottage", "hut";

(see "Coates" + -er agentive suffix).

Status name for a cottager, or a topographic name for someone who lived in a relatively humble dwelling (from Middle English "cotes", plural (or genitive) of "cote" , "cott" ); or a habitational name from any of the numerous places named with this word [See also: Cotter].

Manx language:

"Cotter" (family name): Derived from MacOttar constructed from the prefix for clan "Mc" or "Mac" and the 10th century Norse family name Ottar.

German language

"Kötter" (family name) : Status name for a farm laborer who lived in a cottage or hovel with no land, from an agent derivative of Middle High German and Middle Low German "kote" : cottage, hovel.

"Koth" (family name) :

German (also "Köth" ) : from Middle German "kote" : "cottage", "hovel", a status name for a day laborer who lived in a cottage and owned no farmland.

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