This is one of a group of Central European surnames, of Czech or possibly Slavic origin. Recorded as Semerad, Semered, Semirad, Semorad, Semoradova, and Semerat and Semiras, the latter probably being the diminutives, as well as the Croatian and Serbian Samardzic, it was probably originally an occupational nickname either for an official messenger, or for an athlete, one fleet of foot. It is said to derive from the pre 12th century words 'semi' meaning a person, and 'ra' or 'rad', nimble or swift. Medieval nicknames form one of the largest groupings in the surname lists, although the modern interpretation may not accord with the actual meaning at the time when a nickname was given, perhaps seven hundred years ago. Medieval humour was famously robust. A good English example being that of 'Little John' otherwise known as John Little, because he was the biggest man in Robin Hood's famous band of outlaws. Both Chaucer and later Shakespeare, give a number other examples.Unfortunately in Central Europe, unlike most of the West, few early public and church register recordings survived the destructive impact of the Second World War, and the later Communist regimes. However an example of an early recording is that of Rehor Semered and his wife, the former Marketa Poorrazka, at Trebic, on October 6th 1686.
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