French (Bègue): nickname for someone afflicted with a stammer, from a derivative of Old French beguer ‘to stammer’ (from Middle Low German beggen ‘to chatter’). In the 12th century in Liège a priest called Lambert le Begue (‘Lambert the Stammerer’) founded a Christian sisterhood whose members followed an austere rule of life; they came to be known as the Béguines. A century later an order of lay brothers modeled on this sisterhood was founded in Flanders, the Beghards ( see Beckert ). The name is frequent in LA.
Dictionary of American Family Names © Patrick Hanks 2003, 2006.