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Shapiro, and its variations such as Shapira, Schapiro and Chapiro (in French), is a Yiddish surname.


One theory suggests that it derives from Shpira, the Hebrew/Yiddish name for Spira (, pronounced Shpira), the medieval name of Speyer, Germany. The Jewish community of Speyer was an important centre in the development of Ashkenazi culture. Other name variants are Sapiro, Spira, Spira, Spire, Spiro, Spero, Chapiro, Sprai, Szpir, Szpiro, Saphir and Spear. The name "Speyer" has also become a well-known surname that was spread by Jews from Frankfurt to England, the United States and Canada in the late 19th and early 20th century.

According to another theory, the word Shapiro is Aramaic (probably derived from the Hebrew word sapir (ספיר), usually translated as "sapphire", which refers not to the sapphire gemstone but to the lapis lazuli,<!--"refers" or "referred"? he:WP's article is about the sapphire--> and is reputed to be the stone which represented the tribe of Issachar on the breastplate of the high priest of Israel and thus identifies the Shapiro family with that tribe) and appears, for example, in the 11th Century Aramaic-language Jewish religious poem Akdamus a.k.a. Akdamuth (line 45) and in Onkelos's commentary on Genesis 29:17....
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