Recorded in the International Genealogical Index as Playfair, Playfer, Playfere, Pluvier and others, these are mostly believed to be English and Scottish surnames. They also actually mean what they say, that is a nickname for a person who "played fair" or given the robust humour of the medieval times, the reverse. Nicknames are one of the largest groups amongst the surname listings with at least 15% being proven to be of that genre whilst a question mark hangs over the same amount again. We also have a problem with the spelling as Pluvier or Pluveire. This seems to be first recorded in England in the year 1652 when Isaac Pluveire appears in the register of St Giles Cripplegate in the city of London. This suggest that unless it is a gross misspelling, always possible but unlikely in this case, it has nothing to do with Playfair or its variations but is a variant of the French surname Plouvier, meaning to rain. Plouvier as a surname is almost certainly a Huguenot protestant refugee name from the Mid 17th century, and means a water carrier. The recordings taken from the surviving church registers of the city of London include Martha Playfer at the church of St Lawrence Puntney on October 3rd 1582, Samule Pleayfaier on November 2nd 1654 at St Olave Southwark and Thomas Playfair at All Hallows the Great, London wall, on May 8th 1737.
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