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Etymology of the name Orban

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Etymology of the name Orban

Belgium BE

In Belgium, the root of the name Orban is the latin word urbanus, meaning city dweller, citizen (inhabitant of a large city), itself derived from urbs (city). There were a few popes named Urbanus (in English Urban, in French Urbain). The name evolved into Urban and later Urbain (which nowadays is both a first name and a surname), and, in the southern part of Belgium called Wallonia, also into Orban, with a few variations such as Orbain and Orbant, and possibly also Orband and Orbans. The name Orban is known as such in Wallonia since 1433.

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Hungary HU

I have found two different explanations for the name Orbán. It is likely that both are true and that they co-exist, meaning that the family name Orbán could have two different origins. A Hungarian friend of mine has still another explanation: he says that Orbán could mean inhabitant of Orbo, a Hungarian village.

A family legend says that Orbán actually used to be a profession in the medieval ages that was widespread in Transylvania. Orbán's used to be something like travelling magicians, wandering from city to city, market to market, to make a living on tricks. Some say they were closer to the "dark side of the force" than innocent trickmasters..., but this is really something we cannot either prove or refute.

According to in a name interpretation book published in Hungary, the name Orbán means friendly and sophisticated. But a Canadian outfit that makes studies on the interpretation of first names for parents wishing to name their babies says: The name of Orban creates a very chaotic, restless nature, desiring peace and understanding. Under this name, you have been continually forced into activity which often creates mental turmoil. Misunderstandings with others often arise because they fail to understand your desire for freedom from binding restrictions and your intense desire for knowledge and for something worthwhile in your life. To you, life is very short and you have an intense, seeking urge that does not let you rest. You find it difficult to control your moods as you are very easily hurt or offended. This name is accident prone and you could experience mishaps and personal injuries. This name does not create good health due to its intensity and could bring such diseases as tuberculosis, pneumonia, stomach problems, heart attacks. Also you could experience many accidents.

Spain ES

In Galicia, a region in the Northwest of Spain, Orbán is the name of one village, two hamlets and a river. From there, the name passed also to several people. Here is, in Galician language, an explanation on the name Orbán in Galicia, written by a language professor at the University of Vigo (A translation in French is available in the page on the village):

No censo do 93 de Galicia figuran 71 Orbán con dereito a voto (maiores de 18 e censados). Hai outros dispersos por España adiante pero creo que deben vir todos de aquí. Os únicos topónimos con esa forma que atopei na Península con esa forma son ourensáns: unha aldea no cllo. de Celanova e a parroquia (Santa María) en Vilamarín. Outro lugar chamado Orbán en Cervantes, Lu, xa non aparece hoxe nos nomenclátores (teño que comprobar se desapareceu ou qué)... Vén do xenitivo dun nome de posesor URBANUS (Orbán < [Villa] Urbani). Estúdiao Piel en "Nomes de possessores latino-cristãos na toponímia asturo-galego-portuguesa", separata de Biblos, Coimbra, 1948). Aí coméntase (e dáse a referencia bibliográfica) que Schulze estudiou a presencia de derivados dun nome emparentado (Urbanius) na toponimia francesa. Se dis que o atopa en Hungría e en Francia, o máis probable é que etimoloxicamente sexan dúas cousas distintas. En Francia non debe de ser apelido demasiado común (non aparece no diccionario de Dauzat: Dictionnaire Étymologique des Noms de Famille et des Prénoms de France, Larousse, Paris, 1987), pero si como topónimo no Dictionnaire Étymologique des Noms de Lieux en France (de A. Dauzat e Ch. Rostaing, Librairie Guénégaud, Paris, 1978, 2ª), onde se di que vén dun antropónimo Urbanius (creo que seguindo a Schulze, pero igualmente podería vir de Urbanus, coma os galegos). Para min que tódolos posibles Urbán, Orbán e formas equivalentes que atope no dominio románico teñen a mesma orixe (é dicir, o nome persoal nacido do adxectivo derivado de urbe. Os húngaros se cadra non, pero podería ser un latinismo onomástico no maxiar, cousa ben probable tratándose dun nome relativamente común e seguramente difundido pola igrexa (mesmo foi nome de Papas...).

Another similar explanation is given by a correspondant in Galicia:

A orixe do nome ORBÁN

O topónimo e antropónimo ORBÁN é un deses nomes que denominamos transparentes por estár a súa orixe clara e poderse reconstruír no noso ámbito lingüístico -o galego- a súa evolución sen maiores complicacións.

É unha derivación do xenitivo do nome persoal latino URBANUS.

De xeito semellante:

Xenitivo de SILVANUS:   SILVANI > SILVÁN
Xenintivo de ALBANUS:   ALBANI > ALBÁN
Xenitivo de FLAVIANUS:  FLAVIANI > CHAIÁN
Xenitivo de QUINTILIANUS: QUINTILIANI> QUINTIÁN
Xenitivo de URBANUS: URBANI> URBÁN   > ORBÁN

Lingüísticamente: A apertura posterior en medio punto dun u -vocal anterior pechada- a o -vocal anterior semipechada- é influencia da líquida lateral vibrante simple que traba a sílaba na posición de marxe silábica implosiva.
De xeito semellante, aínda que máis documentado  URSARIA  > OSEIRA

Estes topónimos correspóndense cos nomes dos fudadores das “vilae” con que se ocuparía o espacio xeografico galego en época romana e xermánica. Daquela,  o topónimo correspóndense cunha fundación do século II ó VI a.D. É imposible concretar máis pois os antropónimos latinos continúan utilizándose durante época xermánica.
De todas maneiras, a humanización do espacio xeográfico concreto no que se asenta o lugar de Santa Mariña de Orbán - o noroeste da provincia de Ourense- no Concello de Vilamarín é moi antiga.
Existen restos paleolíticos -cantos rodados traballados- duns 250.000 mil anos de antigüidade, algúns restos megalíticos -dolmens- de ano 2000 a.C., moitos “castros” que os ingleses denominan “hill-forts”, poboados prerromanos e logo romanizados, (s. VIII b.C.- III a.D)
No lugar de Orbán existe un fermoso “PAZO”, modesta casa  noble construída no século XVII.

United Kingdom GB

According to the Facebook page called "The Orban Family" the history of the English Orban family name begins after the Norman Conquest of 1066. They lived in Normandy where it was derived from the ancient English given name Albin, meaning white.

First found in St. Taurin, Evreux, Normandy, in the year 980 as St. Aubyn. The distinguished name arrived with the Conqueror though Sir John Aubyn and settled in Barnstable, Devon, where he became a patron of Barnstable abbey. The family were granted many estates and they were recorded under the name Alban in the Domesday Book.

Variations of the name Orban include: Albone, Allibone, Hallibone, Albin, Allbahn, Alibone, Alban, Aubin, Aubyn, Auban, Ellibone, Elbin, Ellban, Ellbone and many others.

Egypt EG

El-Orbany is an Arabic word. Its root Orban which means "Arab", the El before "Orbany" means "the" and the "y" after "Orban" associates the person with the name "Orban" therefore, El-Orbany means one who belongs to the Orbans or "the Arabs". The Egyptian name El-Orbany one seems to be of Saudi origin.

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Recent modifications of other names

In some cases, the name Orban resulted from the simplification of other names. During my research, I have met eight such modifications, respectively from Oberle, Oder, Oesterreicher, Orbann, Orbanowski, Oriben, Urban and Urbancewski. These changes are mentioned later in the text.

Names similar to Orban

Urbain in French-speaking countries has the same etymology as Orban in Belgium. Dorban was found in Belgium and would mean "son of Urban" or "son of Orban". Orbant in the Flemish part of Belgium is a modification of the name of Walloon Orban migrants who got their name incorrectly written in the official records.

Orbán in Szarföld, Hungary, was sometimes changed to Orbany around 1730.

Orbanes in the USA results from the modification of Urbanus or Urban. Orbane was found in the Philippines, probably a variation of Orbanes.

Orbansen in Denmark means "son of Orban".

Orbanek, Orbanic and Orbank all come from the simplification of the Polish name Urbanowicz in the USA. Orbanic is also found in Croatia.

Orbin is a US modification of Orban, but in some cases it could also be the other way around! Orbin has also derived from the Lithuanian Urbonas.

The name Orbann finds its origin in Germany, Horban in Austria and/or in Poland, and Orbaneja in Spain (Andalusia, where it is an very old surname, and Asturias).

The name Urban is very common in Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia and has the same etymology as Orban. In Hungary, it was often written Vrban during the XVth and XVIth centuries: the name later evolved into Orban, and finally Orbán. In Hungary, one also can find the names Orba, Orbai, Orbay, Orbanc, Orbancz and Orbantz.

For one family named Orbanz in the US, the name originates in either the most eastern part of Germany or in Poland during the last century.

Orbon is a common Spanish name, also known in Cuba (where a famous composer was Julián Orbón De Soto) and in the Philippines.

Oirbans is found exclusively in the Netherlands. I do not know the etymology. The Oirbans's might be descendants from French Huguenots.

Oriben is a name found in Scotland, where it also appears under the spellings Orben, Orban, Oriban, Horriben and the most recent Horribine. The name might originate in Germany.

I am still looking for the origin of the following names: Orbanac, Orbanus, Orbanski (all from the USA), Orpen and Orben (the latter exists in Massachusetts, USA, since at least 1800, coming from France?), Orbani and Orbana (from Italy), Orbant in Russia, Ukraine and Bulgaria (from Jewish origin, probably not related to Orbant in Belgium - see above).

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Last updated on 7 February 2011
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