The surname Cohen is of Jewish origin. It is derived from the Hebrew ‘kohen’, priest. In Jewish tradition priests are regarded as members of a hereditary caste descended from Aaron, brother of Moses. Not all Jews bearing the name Cohen belong to the priestly caste: when many Jews were being forced to join the Russian Army for twenty-five years, a number changed their names to Cohen because members of the clergy were exempt from service. The same word is met with in Phoenician inscriptions as the official name of the priest. The corresponding word in Arabic, ‘kahin’, is employed to designate the soothsayer: Cohen, a tribal as much as an official name, has known many variations. In Italy it is met with under the guise of Sacerdote. Other forms are: Acohen, Coen, Cahn, Kahn. In England it had been modified to give it an English ring, Cowan and Cowen. The name dates back to early history were it is found in Phoenician records. The name has been used by the Irish as an anglicization of the Gaelic name O’Cadhain. The name was brought to America predominately by English immigrants… Coat of arms: Or. a lion rampant …
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