Moreau Surname Meaning and Origin

What Does the Last Name Moreau Mean?

Young woman standing in front of the Eiffel Tower.

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Moreau is a common surname in France that is found throughout the world, including the U.S. and Canada.

Alternate surname spellings for Moreau include Morreau, Moreaux, Morreaux, Morault, Morrault, Moreault, Moreaud, Morreaud, Morault, Moraud, Morraud, Morot, Morrot, Merau, Maureau, Maure, Moro, and Moreault.

Moreau Meaning

The Moreau surname originated as a nickname for someone with dark skin. It's derived from the Old French word more, meaning "dark-skinned," which in turn derives from the Phoenician mauharim, meaning "eastern." 

Where to Find

Moreau as a last name can be found in countries all over the world. Within the borders of France, Moreau is most common in the Poitou-Charentes region of France, followed by Centre, Pays-de-la-Loire, Limousin, and Bourgogne.

The Moreau surname was most commonly found in the northern part of France, as well as in Indre, Vendee, Deux Sèvres, Loire Atlantique, and Charente Maritime in central France between 1891 and 1915. This general distribution held for successive decades, although Moreau was most common in Loire Atlantique between 1966 and 1990.

Famous People Named Moreau

Famous people with the last name Moreau include Jeanne Moreau, a legendary French actress who appeared in nearly 150 movies, including "Jules and Jim" and "The Bride Wore Black."

Auguste Francois Moreau was a prominent Victorian and Art Nouveau sculptor. Gustave Moreau was a French symbolist painter, and Marguerite Moreau was an American actress.

Moreau Family

Contrary to what you may hear, there is no such thing as a Moreau family crest or coat of arms for the Moreau surname. Coats of arms are granted to individuals, not families, and may rightfully be used only by the uninterrupted male-line descendants of the person to whom the coat of arms was originally granted. 


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Powell, Kimberly. "Moreau Surname Meaning and Origin." ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020, Powell, Kimberly. (2020, August 28). Moreau Surname Meaning and Origin. Retrieved from Powell, Kimberly. "Moreau Surname Meaning and Origin." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 29, 2023).