Recorded as Mordant, Mordaunt (English), Mordagne, Mordant (French) and apparently Mordanti in Italy, this is a surname of French origins. According to the famous Victorian etymologist Canon Charles Bardsley writing in the year 1880, the name was originally Norman, and was brought to England by a follower of Duke William of Normandy, when he conquered England in 1066. He claimed that the name means or meant in the 12th century 'The biter,' a reference it would seem to somebody who succeeded as a result of another persons misfortune. This is a possible explanation, anything is possible with surnames, and the name does seem to derive from a fused form of 'mort d'entaille' or something similar, literally meaning 'death by cuts!' However early recordings in both France and Italy are usually erratic or non existent. In Italy because basically it did not become a unified county until 1860, and even then it was many years before centralised recording was established, whilst in France most early records and registers were deliberately destroyed by the Revolutionaries in 1792. Such recordings as exist would seem to include Osbert le Mordaunt of Bedfordshire, England in 1199, Edward Mordant who was a student at Oxford University in 1575, and Jean Baptiste Mordant, chistened at Montherme in the Ardennes, on October 11th 1791.
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