Dreyfuss and Dreyfus are surnames usually found among Jews from the Rhine Valley in modern-day Germany and Alsace (France). In German, drei Fuß means three feet, referring to a three-legged stool or tripod.
The spelling variants, Dreyfuss vs. Dreyfus, tend to correspond to the country the family was living in at the time the spelling was standardized. The use of one "s" tends to be more common among people of French origin, while the use of two "s" tends to be found among those of German descent (stemming from the use of the long s (ſ) and ß (s sharp).
Also see Dreifuss.
By Dean Hanley
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