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"piou" is my last name; looking around the web, at French web pages, I see the word in use, but am not sure what it means. Is there a colloquial meaning for this? Is it a nickname some people have? Is "Piou-Piou" just a type of soldier? Or is it, as one reference I saw said, the sound (French) chickens make?
Explanation: It means both, as you suspected. Piou-piou can be the name for an infantry soldier (or tommy) or the sound a chick makes. See the explanations below for more information.
Hope this helps you!
E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
An infantry soldier. This is probably a corruption of pion, a pawn or foot-soldier. Cotgrave, however, thinks the French foot-soldiers are so called from their habit of pilfering chickens, whose cry is piou piou. 1