Rice Family History
Rice Name Meaning
Welsh: Anglicized pronunciation of one of the most common Welsh personal names Rhys from a form originally meaning ‘rash impetuous’ also spelled Rys and Re(e)s. See also Reese with which it is interchangeable as a result of different Anglicized forms of the Welsh vowel y and also compare Preece and Price . Initial R- in Welsh is voiceless and often spelled Rh- but in English R- is voiced as in the Anglicized surnames Rees and Rice. Welsh y is a short back vowel /ɪ/. In the medieval period the English approximation of this vowel was either /i/ or /e/ lengthened to /i:/ and /e:/. Subsequent sound changes in English produced the alternative pronunciations represented in Rees Preece and Rice Price. The name has also been established in Ireland from an early date. English: either a topographic name for someone who lived in or near a thicket (Middle English ris rice ris from Old English hrīs Old Norse hrís) or a habitational name for someone who came from a place called with this word such as Rise (East Yorkshire). English: perhaps a nickname from Middle English Rys(e) and Re(e)s which when without a preposition could derive from one or other of several Old French and Middle English words including Anglo-Norman French ris ‘laughter smile’ Middle English ris res ‘stem stalk’ in origin the same word as in 2 above and Middle English ris rise rice res Old French ris riz ‘rice’ perhaps a nickname for a rice dealer or a cook. Americanized form of German Reis .
Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press