The English surname Bass, also found in Scotland, is either a descriptive nickname for a short person or a status name meaning “of humble origin.” In some instances the name is derived from the Middle English term bace meaning “bass” (the fish), hence a nickname for a person supposedly resembling this fish, or an occupational name for a fish seller or fisherman. A notable bearer of the name was Michael Thomas Bass (1799 - 1884), a brewer and M.P. for Derbyshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Aelizia Bass, which was dated 1180, in the "Pipe Rolls of Warwickshire." The name Bass is well established in the United States today with over 55,000 occurrences of the surname in the 2010 US census.
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