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100 Common Last Names: With Origins and Meanings

Updated
These common surnames will shed light on our early history.

Surnames typically describe a person’s ancestry and, in many cases, can reveal a great deal about a particular country. For example, the most popular last names in the U.S., a country of immigrants, are typically of English and Spanish origin.

Common last names are evolving in regions where migration is on the rise. We can look at lists of popular last names or common surnames and compare data over time to see changing trends. Interestingly, the Hispanic surnames Garcia and Rodriguez entered the top ten for the first time in U.S. history.

Let’s dive in and discover the most common last names worldwide.


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100 Most Popular Last Names

These common surnames are based on census data of the respective countries.

Adams

Adams derives from the given name Adam, which derives from the Latin “adamus,” meaning “ earth.” Adams is also connected to the Greek legend of Zeus, who fashioned the first human beings from Earth.

  • Origin: Anglo-Saxon
  • Meaning: Son of Adam
  • Pronunciation: AE-duhms
  • Variations: Addams, McAdam, MacAdam, Adamson
  • Namesakes: Bryan Guy Adams, a Canadian musician and singer-songwriter, is known as one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 100 million records and singles worldwide.
  • Popularity: Adams ranked #39 among the most popular surnames in the U.S. and #69 in England.
Classic, Beautiful

Alexander

Alexander derives from the Greek Alexandros, composed of “alexin,” meaning “to defend,” and “andros,” meaning “man.” In Greek mythology, Alexander was another name for the hero Paris. Alexander is also said to originate in Scotland from the Gaelic surname MacAlasdair.

  • Origin: Greek, Scottish
  • Meaning: Repulser of the enemy, defender of men
  • Pronunciation: al-ig-ZAN-dar, AE-luhg-zAEn-der
  • Variations: Alexandre, Alesander, Alesandre, Alaxandair, Alexandar Alexsander Macalexander
  • Namesakes: Jane Alexander, an American award-winning actress, and author known for winning two Primetime Emmy Awards and three Golden Globe Awards.
  • Popularity: Alexander is popular in Scotland and fairly common worldwide.
Ancient, Strong

Allen

Allen derives from the Irish and Scottish “Ailin,” meaning “little rock, harmony,” but also derives from the Celtic “Aluinn,” meaning “handsome.” Another origin is from the Middle English and Old French personal name Alain or Alein. In England, the personal name is now usually spelled Alan, and the surname as Allen.

  • Origin: Celtic, English
  • Meaning: Little rock, harmony, great, handsome
  • Pronunciation: AE-lun
  • Variations: Alan, Allan, MacAllen
  • Namesakes: Heywood “Woody” Allen, an American filmmaker, actor, and comedian known for winning four Academy Awards during his career of over six decades.
  • Popularity: Allen ranked #39 among the most popular surnames in England and Wales and is also very popular in the U.S.
Cool, Traditional

Anderson

Anderson is a patronymic “A” surname derived from the Greek “andreas,” meaning “man, manly.” The earliest British mention of any name connected with Andrew or Anderson is in the 1086 Domesday Book, where Andreas is mentioned. In Sweden, Anderson is lengthened to Andersson, which combines the words “Anders” and “son.”

  • Origin: Scottish, English
  • Meaning: Son of Ander or Andrew
  • Pronunciation: AN-der-sun
  • Variations: Andison, Androson, Andrisoune, Endherson, Andersson
  • Namesakes: Ever Gabo Anderson, an American actress and model known for portraying Natasha Romanoff in the 2021 film Black Widow.
  • Popularity: Anderson is a very popular surname in the U.S., ranking #9 among the top 100 U.S. surnames.
Refined, Wholesome

Baker

Baker is an occupational “B” surname derived from the Old English word “baecere,” a derivation of “bacan,” meaning “to dry with heat.” There is no coat of arms for the Baker surname, as coats of arms are granted to individuals, not families.

  • Origin: Anglo-Saxon
  • Meaning: To dry by heat
  • Pronunciation: BAY-ker
  • Variations: Bakere
  • Namesakes: Dylan Baker, an American film and TV actor famous for his role in the 1987 film Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.
  • Popularity: Baker is very popular, ranked #38 in the U.S., #37 in England, and #35 in Australia.
Historic, Formal

Bailey

Bailey derives from the Anglo-Norman “bailli,” the equivalent of “bailiff.” Bailey could be a locational Norman surname derived from Bailleul-En-Vimeu in Normandy, France. Bailey is fairly popular in most English-speaking countries as a given female name.

  • Origin: Anglo-Norman
  • Meaning: Fortification, bailiff
  • Pronunciation: bAY-lee
  • Variations: Baily, Baillie, Bailie
  • Namesakes: DeFord Bailey, an American country music and blues artist and the first African-American performer to have his music recorded in Nashville.
  • Popularity: Bailey is the 66th most popular surname in the U.S. and is also popular in the U.K.
Traditional, Historic

Barnes

Barnes stems from the Old English “beorn,” meaning “warrior,” which is, in turn, of Old Norse origin. Barnes is also an occupational surname for someone who worked in a barn. A third origin of the Barnes surname relates to the Gaelic word “bearn,” meaning “gap.”

  • Origin: English, Norse
  • Meaning: Of the barn, warrior, gap
  • Pronunciation: bAHrnz
  • Variations: Barns, Bernes
  • Namesakes: Priscilla Barnes, an American actress best known for her role in the ABC sitcom Three’s Company.
  • Popularity: Barnes is the 110th most common surname in America.
Modern, Wholesome

Bell

Bell derives from the French “bel,” meaning “fair, beautiful, handsome,” or from the Gaelic surname Mac Giolla Mhaoil. Bell in Scottish history began as knights in Northern France who fought in the Norman conquest, the Crusades, and more. Bells were embedded in the Knights Templar and fought for Scottish independence.

  • Origin: Gaelic
  • Meaning: Son of the servant of the devotee
  • Pronunciation: bEHl
  • Variations: Belle, Beale, Beal, Beals, Beales, Bale, Beel, Biehl, Bale, Beall
  • Namesakes: Alexander Graham Bell, a Scottish-born inventor, scientist, and engineer known for inventing and patenting the first telephone.
  • Popularity: Bell is very popular in Scotland, ranked #36 and #67 among popular surnames in the U.S.
Wholesome, Classic

Bennet

Bennet is associated with St Benedict, derived from the Latin “Benedictus,” meaning “blessed.” The Bennet clan stems from the Roxburghshire area on the Scottish-English border. The Bennett clan still wears the Roxburghshire tartan and has maintained ties with Roxburghshire.

  • Origin: Anglo-Norman, Gaelic
  • Meaning: Blessed
  • Pronunciation: bEH-niht
  • Variations: Bennett, Benett, Benet
  • Namesakes: Naftali Bennett, an Israeli politician who served as the prime minister of Israel on two separate occasions in 2021 and 2022.
  • Popularity: Bennet is fairly popular in the U.S. and other Western countries.
Attractive, Bold

Brooks

Brooks stems from the Swedish surname Backland which relates to a brook or stream. However, Brook originates from the English, Gaelic, and Scottish word for “of the brook.” Brook is also found among English-speaking Ashkenazi Jews and derives from the male Hebrew name Boruch meaning “blessed.”

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Residing near a stream or brook
  • Pronunciation: brUUks, BRUWKS
  • Variations: Brook, Broocks, Broks
  • Namesakes: Meredith Ann Brooks, an American singer-songwriter and guitarist known for her solo album Blurring the Edges, which earned her a Grammy Award nomination.
  • Popularity: Brooks is common throughout the U.K., Australia, and the U.S.
Gorgeous, Modern
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Brown

Brown refers to the color of an individual’s complexion, hair color, or frequently worn garments. Brown is also a translation of the Gaelic “donn,” which means “brown.” The Brown Clan’s motto translates to “Let majesty flourish.”

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: The son of Brun
  • Variations: Braun, Browne, Broun, Breun, Bruun, Bruan, Brun, Bruene, Brohn
  • Namesakes: Margaret (Molly) Brown, an American socialite who survived the sinking of the Titanic and inspired the 1960s musical “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.”
  • Popularity: Brown is one of the most common last names in English-speaking countries and ranks #4 in the U.S. and Australia.
Traditional, Cool

Chavez

Chavez is the Spanish derivation of the Portuguese surname Chaves derived from the Spanish “laves” and Latin “clavis.” Chavez originated as an occupational surname given to someone who made keys for a living. Chavez is also prevalent in Peru among its Chinese community and is an adaptation of a Chinese surname meaning “plum.”

  • Origin: Portuguese, Spanish
  • Meaning: Keys
  • Pronunciation: chAA-vEHz
  • Variations: Chaves
  • Namesakes: Julio Cesar Chavez, a Mexican former professional boxer famous for being a multiple world champion in three weight divisions during his boxing career.
  • Popularity: Chavez is the most popular surname in Mexico and ranked #22 among popular Hispanic surnames.
Cool, Refined

Coleman

Germans celebrate St. Colman’s Day annually – with Coleman being the German form of Columba or Yonge. Coleman is also the original Irish name of St, Columbanus and is a version of O’Colmain, O’Clumhain, or Mac Colmain. Lastly, Coleman is an English occupational name related to charcoal burning, synonymous with Collier.

  • Origin: German, Irish, English
  • Meaning: Little dove, the son of Coleman
  • Pronunciation: KOL-man
  • Variations: Colman, Colleman, Colemann, Colemane
  • Namesakes: Catherine Grace Coleman, an American chemist, engineer, and astronaut veteran of two Space Shuttle missions and a recorded 159 days in space.
  • Popularity: Coleman is a common American surname; about 75% of people with the last name reside in North America.
Beautiful, Regal

Campbell

Campbell derives from the Scots Gaelic “Caimbeul,” composed of the Gaelic “cam,” meaning “crooked,” and “beul,” meaning “mouth.” Campbell also stems from the Irish Mac Cathmhaoil, meaning “son of the battle chieftain.” Campbell is historically one of the largest and most powerful of the Highland clans.

  • Origin: Scottish, Irish
  • Meaning: Crooked or wry mouth
  • Pronunciation: kAEm-buhl
  • Variations: Cambell, MacCampbell, McCampbell
  • Namesakes: Julia Campbell, an American film and TV actress famous for her role in the film Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion.
  • Popularity: Campbell is very popular in Scotland and ranked #43 among the most popular surnames in the U.S.
Refined, Regal

Carter

Carter is derived from the Anglo-Norman French “caretier” from the Old French “caret,” which originally meant “carrier.” Carter is an occupational name given to one who transports goods by cart or wagon from place to place.

  • Origin: Celtic
  • Meaning: Carrier
  • Pronunciation: kAHr-ter
  • Variations: McCarter, Cartier
  • Namesakes: Kayli Carter, an American actress known for her roles in the films Bad Education and Private Life.
  • Popularity: Carter is among the more common last names in the U.S., ranking at #46.
Ancient, Strong

Clark

Clark is an English surname derived from the Latin “clericus,” meaning “scribe, secretary, scholar, or penman.” Clark evolved as a proper surname from the 15th-century. Clark and Clerk are recognized as septs, or as divisions of the Cameron and MacPherson clans, and the clan motto is “Sure and Steadfast.”

  • Origin: English, Irish
  • Meaning: Clerk, penman, scribe
  • Pronunciation: klAHrk
  • Variations: Clarke, Clerk, Clerke
  • Namesakes: Octavius Rene Clark, an American competitive runner known for winning the gold medal in the 800-meter event at the 1991 Pan American Games.
  • Popularity: Clark ranks #25 among the most popular last names in the U.S. and #34 in England.
Attractive, Classic

Collins

Collins derives from the Gaelic “O’Cuilleain” and translates to “holly,” an evergreen plant with red berries. Collins is typically believed to be a Scottish and English patronymic name for someone who is the son or descendant of someone named Colin. Collins may have also derived from the Irish “cuilein,” meaning “darling.”

  • Origin: Gaelic, English
  • Meaning: Son of Collin, holly
  • Pronunciation: KAH-Lihns
  • Variations: Collin, Colling, Collings, Coling, Collen, Collens, Collis, Coliss, Coleson
  • Namesakes: Michael Collins, an American astronaut famous for being part of the Apollo 11 mission that first landed on the moon.
  • Popularity: Collins ranked #52 among the most popular surnames in the U.S. and #30 in Ireland.
Gorgeous, Bold

Cook

Cook is an Old English occupational surname derived from the Old English “coc” and Latin “cocus,” meaning “cook.” MacCook was a branch of the Scottish Clan MacDonald of Kintyre. Their coat of arms was designed for Captain James Cook, featuring a globe showing the Pacific Ocean.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Cook
  • Pronunciation: KUWK
  • Variations: Cooke
  • Namesakes: James Cook, a British navigator famous for discovering and charting New Zealand and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
  • Popularity: Cook ranked #60 in the U.S. and #53 in England.
Wholesome, Historic

Cooper

Cooper is an occupational name originally given to those who made barrels, vats, casks, buckets, and tubs in medieval England. Cooper is also an Anglicized form of the German “Kiefer.” Cooper derives from the Middle English “couper” or “cowper,” taken from the Middle Dutch “kuper” or “kup,” meaning “tub, container.”

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Barrel maker
  • Pronunciation: kOO-per
  • Variations: Kooper, Koeper, Kupfer, Coopers, Cooperman, Coper, Coober
  • Namesakes: Quade Santini Cooper, a New Zealand-born professional rugby player who played ruby for Australia internationally.
  • Popularity: Cooper ranks #27 in England and #64 in the U.S.
Cool, Modern

Cox

Cox stems from its first bearer, who resembled a rooster and was given to early risers and those who strutted proudly. Cox may be a topographical name from the Old English “cock” meaning “heap” or “hill.” Coc may have also originated from the Welsh “coch,” meaning “red.”

  • Origin: Anglo-Saxon
  • Meaning: From the hills, little one, the Red
  • Pronunciation: kAAks
  • Variations: Cocks
  • Namesakes: Alaqua Cox, a Native American actress known for her role in the Marvel Disney series Hawkeye.
  • Popularity: Cox ranked #78 among the most common surnames in the U.S.
Formal, Gorgeous
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Cruz

Cruz is a habitational name for someone who lived by a cross or crossroad, derived from the Latin “crux,” meaning “cross.” Cruz is spread throughout the territories of the former Spanish and Portuguese Empires.

  • Origin: Spanish, Portuguese
  • Meaning: Cross, dweller near a cross,
  • Pronunciation: krOOz
  • Variations: Cross, Cruces, De Cruz, De La Cruz, Da Cruz, Cruzado, Cruse, Cruise
  • Namesakes: Raúl Ceferino Cruz, an Argentine chess player known as the World Junior Chess Championship medalist in 1951.
  • Popularity: Cruz is fairly popular in the U.S. and ranked #17 among Hispanic surnames.
Beautiful, Wholesome

Davis

Davis may be a variation of Davy or a reference to King David in the Old Testament. Davis first emerged as a “D” surname in the early 14th-century, where Davys was initially the more common spelling.

  • Origin: English, Welsh
  • Meaning: Son of David, beloved
  • Pronunciation: dAY-vihs
  • Variations: Davies, David, Davidson, Davison, Daves, Dawson, Dawes, Day, Dakin
  • Namesakes: Miles Dewey Davis III, an American trumpeter and composer known for his influence in the history of jazz and 20th-century music.
  • Popularity: Davis ranks #8 among the most common surnames in America.
Formal, Attractive

Dias

Dias or Diaz stems from the Latin “dies,” meaning “days.” Diaz is believed to have Jewish origins that predate the Hispanic world. Dias is also related to the Spanish patronymic surname Diego.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Days, son of Diego
  • Pronunciation: DEE-aez
  • Variations: Diasz, Diaz
  • Namesakes: Bartolomeu Dias, a Portuguese mariner and explorer known as the first European navigator to round the southern tip of Africa.
  • Popularity: Dias is a very popular Hispanic surname and ranked #73 in the U.S.
Ancient, Bold

Edwards

Edwards derives from the Old English “Eadward,” composed of the elements “ead,” meaning “prosperity, fortune,” and “w(e)ard,” meaning “guard.” The popularity of the given name Edward and surname Edwards relates to Edward the Confessor, an early Patron Saint of England.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Son of Edward
  • Pronunciation: EHd-werdz
  • Variations: Edwardes, Edwardson, Edward, Edwart
  • Namesakes: Sir Gareth Owen Edwards, a Welsh former rugby union player recognized as the greatest player in Welsh rugby history.
  • Popularity: Edwards is a common surname in the U.S. and very popular in England, where it ranked #17 among the top surnames in England.
Regal, Strong

Evans

Evans is a derivative of the Welsh name Ifan. In Welsh, “f” is pronounced as “v,” so Ifan becomes Evan. Evan relates to the Gaelic word “Eoghan,” meaning “youth” or “young warrior.” Evans means “right-handed” in Scots and “rock” in Hebrew.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Son of Evan
  • Pronunciation: EH-vuhnz
  • Variations: Evins, Evens, Evan, Evian
  • Namesakes: Indiana Rose Evans, an Australian actress known for her roles in Home and Away and Blue Lagoon: The Awakening.
  • Popularity: Evans is the fifth most common surname in Whales and ranked the 48th most common surname in the U.S.
Regal, Beautiful

Flores

Flores has existed in Spain since the 12th-century and is believed to derive from the given name Floro. Flores stems from the Latin “flos,” meaning “flower.”

  • Origin: Spanish
  • Meaning: Flower, son of Floro
  • Pronunciation: Floor-ez
  • Variations: Florez, Floriz, Floraz Flor, Folran, Flori, Floris
  • Namesakes: Brenda Eunice Flores Munoz, a Mexican long-distance runner known as a double gold medallist at the 2014 Central American and Caribbean Games.
  • Popularity: Flores is a common American surname and is listed as the 15th most common Hispanic surname.
Refined, Traditional

Foster

  • Origin: English, Scottish
  • Meaning: One who keeps the forest
  • Pronunciation: FAWS-tar
  • Variations: Forster, Forrest, Forest Forester, Forrester
  • Namesakes: Adrianna Foster, a prominent Mexican singer of soul, jazz, and pop, known as the Voice of Mexico.
  • Popularity: Foster is a common surname in the U.S. and other Western countries.
  • Description: Foster is an occupational surname beginning with F, which is derived from “forester,” which refers to a forest warden. Foster is also believed to derive from the Old English “Forseter,” meaning “shearer.” The Scottish Foster clan adopted the name from their ancient role as guardians of the royal forest around Edinburgh.
Classic, Historic

Garcia

The first recorded reference of Garcia can be found in the year 843 A.D. Garcia is a common name throughout Spain, Portugal, Andorra, the Americas, and the Philippines. García was also a very common first name in early medieval Iberia.

  • Origin: Iberian, Spanish
  • Meaning: Descendant or son of Garcia
  • Pronunciation: gahr-see-ah
  • Variations: Garci, Garza, Garces, Gacia, Gacias, Garsea, Gassia
  • Namesakes: Adam Gabriel Garcia, an Australian stage actor best known for lead roles in the musicals Saturday Night Fever and Kiss Me Kate.
  • Popularity: Garcia ranked #8 among the most popular surnames in the U.S.
Strong, Attractive

Gomez

Gomez is a patronymic form of the given name Gome or Gomo, derived from the name Gomesano. Colors on the Gomez family crest include silver, representing the Gomez family’s reputation for peacefulness and sincerity. The gold symbolizes generosity, and the azure represents loyalty and the truthful nature of the Gomez family.

  • Origin: Spanish
  • Meaning: Man, son of
  • Pronunciation: gOH-mehz
  • Variations: Gomes, Gomis, or Gometz
  • Namesakes: Vernon Louis Gomez, an American professional baseball player famous for being a five-time World Series champion with the Yankees.
  • Popularity: Gomez is a fairly popular surname in the U.S. but ranked #15 among the most common Hispanic surnames.
Ancient, Formal

Gonzalez

Gonzalez derives from a Visigothic name combining the words “guntho,” meaning “battle, war,” and “alf,” meaning “elf.” The given name Gonzalo stems from the medieval Gundisalvus, a Latin form of a Germanic name composed of “gund, meaning “war, battle,” and “salv,” of unknown meaning.

  • Origin: Spanish
  • Meaning: Son of Gonzalo
  • Pronunciation: gohn-zAA-lehz
  • Variations: Gonzales, Conzalaz, Gonzalas, Gonsalas, Goncalez, Gonsales, Goncales
  • Namesakes: Sofia Gonzalez, a Swiss Paralympic athlete and a European bronze medalist in the 100m sprint.
  • Popularity: Gonzalez is Spain’s second most common surname, ranked #13 in the U.S. in 2017.
Classic, Gorgeous
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Gray

Gray is believed to relate to the complexion of the hair or clothing but is considered a habitational surname. Gray stems from the Duke of Normandy, France, who was granted the castle and lands of Croy (Gray) in Picardy. He subsequently adopted Gray as his surname. Another Norman possibility is from a placename called Graye in Calvados from the personal name Gratus, meaning “welcome, pleasing.”

  • Origin: French, Scottish, English
  • Meaning: Gray-haired
  • Variations: Grey
  • Namesakes: Linda Ann Gray, an American actress best known for her role as Sue Ellen Ewing on the CBS TV drama series Dallas.
  • Popularity: Gray is a common surname in England, Ireland, and Scotland.
Cool, Bold

Green

Green is believed to have geographical origins and refers to someone who lived near or at a village green or grassy area. Green stems from the Middle and Old English word “grene,” which has the same root as “grass” and “grow.” The surname Green is mostly spelled in Ireland with an “e” as Greene.

  • Origin: Anglo-Saxon
  • Meaning: Green
  • Variations: Greene
  • Namesakes: Aliza Green, an American chef and writer known as a pioneer of the farm-to-table movement, which began in Philadelphia.
  • Popularity: Green is ranked #37 in the U.S. and #19 in England.
Wholesome, Gorgeous

Griffin

Griffin derives from the Welsh given names Griffin, Gruffin, and Griffith, which were pet forms of the Middle Welsh Gruffudd. Griffin was adopted in Ireland after the 12th-century Anglo-Norman invasion of Strongbow. Griffins (mythical creatures) were sometimes sculpted in Christian churches, symbolizing the protector from evil.

  • Origin: English, Welsh
  • Meaning: Descendant of the Griffin-like, lord, prince
  • Pronunciation: GRIF-in
  • Variations: Griffing, Griffien, Griffina, Griffinn
  • Namesakes: Angela Mellissa Griffin, a British actress known for her role in the TV soap opera Coronation Street.
  • Popularity: Griffin is somewhat common in the U.S. and the U.K.
Traditional, Strong

Hall

Hall derives from the Old English “heall” and the High German “halla.” Hall was basically borne by someone who lived near a manor or was employed at a hall or manor. The Hall family motto translates to “Through difficulties to Heaven.”

  • Origin: Anglo-Saxon
  • Meaning: Hall, manor, hero
  • Variations: Halle, Haall, Haul, Haull, Hawl, Holl
  • Namesakes: Manly Palmer Hall, a Canadian author, lecturer, astrologer, mystic, and freemason, best known for his writing titled The Secret Teachings of All Ages.
  • Popularity: Hall ranked #30 in the U.S. and #20 in England.
Classic, Attractive

Harris

Harris derives from Mayo County in Ireland but is also an English form of the Gaelic “OhEarchadha.” Harris is a patronymic surname meaning “son of Harry,” which is a derivation of Henry, meaning “home-ruler.”

  • Origin: Irish, English
  • Meaning: Son of Harry
  • Pronunciation: hEH-rihs
  • Variations: Harrison, Haris, Harries, Harriss, Harrys, Harys, Herrice, Herrice, Herries
  • Namesakes: Bernard Anthony Harris Jr, an American astronaut known as the first African American to walk in space.
  • Popularity: Harris ranked #24 among the most popular surnames in the U.S. and #22 in England.
Beautiful, Refined

Hayes

Hayes is said to derive from the Irish mythological god Aodh meaning “fire.” Hayes is also an English or Scottish place name for a man who lived near an enclosure fenced off for hunting called a “haeg” or “heye.” Hayes may have derived from the Old English “haes” or the old French “heis,” both meaning “brushwood.” The Hayes family motto translates to “Fortune favors the bold.”

  • Origin: English, Scottish, Irish
  • Meaning: At the hay, enclosure
  • Pronunciation: HAYZ
  • Variations: Hay, Haye, Hays, Heas, Heyes, Highes, O’Hea, Hease, Heyes, Heise
  • Namesakes: Sean Patrick Hayes, an American actor known for his role on the sitcom Will & Grace, for which he won several awards.
  • Popularity: Hayes is a fairly popular surname in the U.K. and the U.S.
Historic, Cool

Henderson

Henderson derived from the patronymic form of Hendry, the Scottish form of Henry. Henry stems from a Germanic given name composed of the elements “haim” or “heim,” meaning “home,” and “ric,” meaning “power.” Henri was introduced into England by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066. The Henderson Clan motto translates to “Virtue alone ennobles.”

  • Origin: Scottish
  • Meaning: Son of Hendry, son of Henry
  • Pronunciation: hEHn-der-suhn
  • Variations: Hendersen, Henson, Henryson, Henrysoun, Hennderson, Henhyson
  • Namesakes: Florence Agnes Henderson, an American actress, and singer best known for her role as Carol Brady on the ABC sitcom The Brady Bunch.
  • Popularity: Henderson is common in the U.S. and other English-speaking countries.
Ancient, Regal

Hill

Hill derives from the Old English “hyll” and is a topographic surname given to someone who lives on or near a hill. Hill could also be a corruption of the German “hild,” meaning “battle.” “Beinn, bheinn, ben, ven,” and “vain” are Scottish generic names for hills.

  • Origin: Scottish, English
  • Meaning: A person who lived on a hill
  • Variations: Hills, Hille, Hyll, Hylle, Hille Hillemann, Hillmann, Hilmann
  • Namesakes: Alfred Hawthorne Hill, an English comedian, actor, singer, and writer best known for his TV program The Benny Hill Show.
  • Popularity: Hill ranked #31 in the U.S. and #19 in Scotland.
Modern, Attractive

Howard

Howard derives from the Germanic term “howart,” meaning “high chief, warden.” Howard could also stem from the Anglo-Scandinavian” Haward,” which derives from the Norse elements “ha” and “varor,” meaning “high guardian.”

  • Origin: Germanic
  • Meaning: Braveheart, watchman
  • Pronunciation: hAH-werd
  • Variations: Hayward, Howardh, Howardd, Howeard
  • Namesakes: Trevor Wallace Howard-Smith, an English actor known for his roles in Mutiny on the Bounty and The Charge of the Light Brigade, among other films.
  • Popularity: Howard ranked #70 among popular surnames in the U.S.
Formal, Bold

Hughes

Hughes is a patronymic surname meaning “son of Hugh.” Hugh is of Germanic origin, meaning “heart, mind.” In Wales and other parts of Britain, Hughes is said to derive from the given name “Hu” or “Huw,” meaning “fire, inspiration.”

  • Origin: Celtic, Gaelic
  • Meaning: Son of Hugh, fire
  • Pronunciation: hyOOz
  • Variations: Hugh, Hughe
  • Namesakes: Miko John Hughes, an American actor known for his film roles in Kindergarten Cop, Apollo 13, Spawn, and Mercury Rising.
  • Popularity: Hughes ranked #18 in England among the most popular surnames.
Modern, Wholesome
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Jackson

Jackson is an English patronymic surname meaning “son of Jack,” a pet form of John. Jackson may have derived from “Jackin,” a medieval diminutive of “John.” The close relationship between Jack and John means that Jackson is related to the surname Johnson.

  • Origin: Anglo-Saxon
  • Meaning: Son of Jack
  • Pronunciation: JAEK-suhn
  • Variations: Jacksen, Jacson, Jaxon, Jaxson
  • Namesakes: Jeremy Dunn Jackson, an American actor, and singer known for his role as Hobie Buchannon on the TV show Baywatch.
  • Popularity: Jackson is a very popular last name in the U.S., ranked #24 in England and Wales.
Cool, Gorgeous

James

James derives from the Latin Jacomus and the New Testament Hebrew name, Jacob. James was first found in Surrey, which migrated from Normandy under the name FitzJames, a noble house of Normandy. The Irish version of the English James is Seamus which also means “supplanter.”

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Supplanter
  • Pronunciation: JAYMZ
  • Variations: Jaimes, Jammes, Jaymes, Jamies
  • Namesakes: Bradley James, an English actor known for starring in the TV series Merlin, The Magnificent, and The Liberator.
  • Popularity: James is ranked the 85th most common surname in the U.S.
Attractive, Bold

Jenkins

Jenkins is a variant of Jenkin, commonly found in Cornish and English ancestry. Jenkins translates to “little John” or “John the little” and relates to a small stature. The earliest records of Jenkins can be found in the Domesday Book of 1086.

  • Origin: Flemish, English
  • Meaning: Little John, son of John
  • Pronunciation: jEHng-kihnz
  • Variations: Jenkin, Jenking, Jenkinson, Jenkyns.
  • Namesakes: Richard Dale Jenkins, an American actor known for his role in the HBO funeral drama series Six Feet Under.
  • Popularity: Jenkins is one of the most common surnames in southwestern England and much of Wales.
Strong, Refined

Johnson

Johnson became extremely popular in Europe since the Christian era after St John the Baptist, St John the Evangelist, and almost one thousand other Christian saints. Johnson may also be an Anglicization of the Gaelic surname MacSeain or MacShane. Findings reveal that surnames like Henderson, Johnson, and Hobson are big indicators of Viking ancestry.

  • Origin: Anglo-Norman
  • Meaning: Son of John
  • Pronunciation: JAHN-suhn
  • Variations: Johnston, Jonson, Jonsen, Johanson, Johnstone, Johnsson, Johannsan, Jensen, MacShane, McShane, McSeain
  • Namesakes: Brian Johnson, an English singer, and songwriter known as the third lead singer of the Australian rock band AC/DC.
  • Popularity: Johnson is the second most common last name in the U.S. and very popular in the U.K.
Wholesome, Historic

Jones

Jones is Celtic Welsh and became known following the Norman conquest of England in 1066. The Jones family motto translates to “Without God, without anything.”

  • Origin: Celtic
  • Meaning: Son of John
  • Pronunciation: jOHnz
  • Variations: Johns, Johnson
  • Namesakes: Sir Thomas Jones Woodward, a Welsh singer who began his career with a string of top 10 hits in the 1960s, has remained very popular since.
  • Popularity: Jones is the most common surname in Wales, the second most popular in England and Australia, and #5 in the U.S.
Traditional, Beautiful

Kelly

Kelly derives from the ancient Irish name “O’Ceallaigh,” where the given name “Ceallach” means “strife, contention.” Kelly may have derived from the English place name Kelli in Devon, which relates to the Welsh/Cornish “celli,” meaning “grove.” O’Kelly stems from the Viking Era in the 9th-century. In the mid-16th-century, the “O” was dropped, and the name became Kelly.

  • Origin: Gaelic, Irish
  • Meaning: Descendant of war, warrior
  • Pronunciation: KEH-lee
  • Variations: Kelley, Kellie, O’Kelly, O’Kelley, Kelli
  • Namesakes: Craig Kelly, an English actor and voice-over narrator known for his roles in the TV series Queer as Folk and Coronation Street.
  • Popularity: Kelly is Ireland’s second most common surname and ranked #69 in the U.S.
Strong, Regal

Kim

The first historical record of the surname Kim is in 636 and references the Korean king, Jinheung of Silla. The Kim family rose to prominence in the Silla kingdom and ruled Silla for 586 years. Kim is also a very popular given name worldwide, with other origins.

  • Origin: Korean, Vietnamese
  • Meaning: Gold, iron
  • Pronunciation: kihm
  • Variations: Khim, Keim, Kime, Kimm, Keum
  • Namesakes: Alan Sun Kim, an American child actor known for his role in the drama film Minari for which he was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.
  • Popularity: Kim is the most common surname in Korea.
Wholesome, Beautiful

King

King stems from the Old English “cyning,” meaning “tribal leader.” The nickname King was usually given to a man who carried himself like royalty. King is of Celtic origin, is common throughout the U.K., and is found in many medieval manuscripts.

  • Origin: English, Scottish
  • Meaning: Tribal leader, ruler
  • Variations: Kinge, Conroy, O’Conry, O’Mulconry
  • Namesakes: Martin Luther King Jr., an American Baptist minister and activist known as one of the most prominent leaders in the civil rights movement.
  • Popularity: King ranked #35 among popular surnames in the U.S. and #36 in England.
Regal, Ancient

Lee

Lee has several different roots. Lee is mostly seen as an Asian name meaning “plum tree” in Chinese and was the royal surname during the Tang dynasty. Lee is also said to derive from the Old English word “leah,” meaning “forest clearing or meadow.” Lee could also be a modern form of the ancient Irish name “O’Liathain.”

  • Origin: Asian, English
  • Meaning: Plum tree, forest clearing
  • Variations: Lea, Leh, Leigh, Lay, Lees, Leese, Leighe, Leagh, Li
  • Namesakes: Bruce Lee, a Hong Kong and American martial artist, actor, and filmmaker credited with paving the way for modern mixed martial arts.
  • Popularity: Lee ranked #21 among the most popular surnames in the U.S.
Gorgeous, Modern

Lewis

Lewis is derived from the Germanic given name Lewis, Lowis, or Lodovicus. In Wales, Lewis may have derived from an Anglicized form of the given name Llywelyn. Lewis could also be an Anglicized version of the Gaelic Mac Lughaidh, derived from “Lugh,” meaning “brightness.”

  • Origin: Germanic
  • Meaning: Son of Lughaidh, renowned, famous battle
  • Pronunciation: LUU-ihs
  • Variations: Louis, Louys
  • Namesakes: Frederick Carlton Lewis, an American former track and field athlete famous for winning nine Olympic gold medals.
  • Popularity: Lewis ranked #26 among the most popular surnames in the U.S. and #21 in England.
Traditional, Bold
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Long

Long derives from the Old English “lang” and Old French “long,” which was often given as a nickname for a tall, lanky man. Long may have derived from the Gaelic name O’Longain, meaning “descendant of Longan” The French influence occurred after the Anglo-Norman conquest in 1066 AD.

  • Origin: English, Irish, French, Chinese
  • Meaning: Tall, descendant of Longan
  • Pronunciation: l-ONG (English), LUWNG (Chinese)
  • Variations: Longe, Lang, Delong, Laing
  • Namesakes: Nia Long, an American actress best known for her role in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air sitcom.
  • Popularity: Long ranked #86 among the most popular surnames in the U.S.
Cool, Attractive

Lopez

Lopez began as a patronymic surname starting with L, meaning “son of Lope.” Interestingly, the Spanish given name Lope is derived from the Latin “lupus,” meaning “wolf.”

  • Origin: Spanish
  • Meaning: Son of Lope
  • Pronunciation: LOH-pehz
  • Variations: Lopes, Lopaz, Lopas
  • Namesakes: George Lopez, an American stand-up comedian and actor known for starring in his self-produced ABC sitcom George Lopez.
  • Popularity: Lopez ranked #21 in the U.S. and #4 among popular Hispanic surnames.
Classic, Refined

Martin

Martin derives from the Latin Martinus and was adopted by the Scottish to form the surname McMartin. Martinus stems from the Roman god Mars, the god of war. The Martin Gaelic clan name comes from “Mac Giolla Mhartain” and means “Devotee of Saint Martin.”

  • Origin: Gaelic
  • Meaning: Of Mars, warlike, warrior
  • Pronunciation: mAHr-tihn
  • Variations: Marten, Martine, Martain, Martyn, Merten
  • Namesakes: Pamela Sue Martin, an American actress known for her roles in the TV series The Hardy Boys – Nancy Drew Mysteries and the ABC soap opera Dynasty.
  • Popularity: Martin is very popular in Ireland, England, and Scotland.
Modern, Gorgeous

Martinez

Martinez is a patronymic “M” surname derived from the given name Martin, which stems from the Latin Martinus. Martinus is a derivative of “Mars,” the Roman god of fertility and war.

  • Origin: Spanish
  • Meaning: Son of Martín, son of Martino
  • Pronunciation: maar-tEE-nehs
  • Variations: Martines, Martins, Martinson, Martin
  • Namesakes: Adolfo Larrue Martínez III, an American actor, and singer known for his roles in the TV soap operas Santa Barbara, General Hospital, One Life to Live, The Bold and the Beautiful, and Days of Our Lives.
  • Popularity: Martinez is the second most common surname among Spanish speakers and the second most popular Spanish surname in the U.S.
Historic, Formal

Miller

Miller began as an occupational surname, referring to someone who owned or worked in a grain mill. Miller could have derived from the Gaelic words “meillear,” meaning “having large lips,” or “maillor,” a man wearing armor or a soldier. The Miller clan motto translates to “This I’ll defend.”

  • Origin: English, Scottish, German, French, Italian
  • Meaning: Milling grain
  • Pronunciation: mIHler, MIL-ar
  • Variations: Millar, Mills, Mullar, Mahler, Mueller, Moeller
  • Namesakes: Arthur Miller, an American playwright known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning play Death of a Salesman.
  • Popularity: Miller ranked #299 among the most common last names worldwide and is the most popular in the U.S.
Bold, Traditional

Mitchell

Mitchell derives from the Middle English words “michel, mechel,” and “muchel,” meaning “big.” Mitchel is also a patronymic surname derived from the Norman Michel or Michael. The Mitchell family motto means, “By God’s favor, I conquer.”

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Son of Michael
  • Pronunciation: MICH-al, MIH-chuhl
  • Variations: Michell Michill, MacMichael, Mitchel, Mitchelson
  • Namesakes: Beverley Ann Mitchell, an American actress and country music singer known for her role as Lucy Camden on the TV series 7th Heaven.
  • Popularity: Mitchell ranked #44 among the most popular surnames in the U.S. and #15 in Scotland.
Attractive, Regal

Moore

The Irish Moore surname stems from Conal Cearnach, one of the Chieftains of the Knights of the Red Branch. From Gaelic origin, Moore is derived from O’Mordha, meaning “noble or stately.” The English relate Moore to the Old English “mor,” meaning “moor, marsh, fen.”

  • Origin: Gaelic, Irish
  • Meaning: Stately and noble
  • Pronunciation: MUWR
  • Variations: Mores, More, Moars, Moor, Moar, Muir
  • Namesakes: Demi Gene Moore, an American actress known for her roles in Blame It on Rio, St. Elmo’s Fire, and About Last Night.
  • Popularity: Moore ranked #16 on the most common surnames in America and #33 in England.
Formal, Beautiful

Morales

Morales is a typical topographical surname given to someone living near a mulberry or blackberry bush. Morales is also a common yet ancient patronymic surname.

  • Origin: Spanish
  • Meaning: Son of Moral
  • Pronunciation: moh-rAA-lehs
  • Variations: Moralez, Moral, Moreira, Mora, and Morais
  • Namesakes: Erik Isaac Morales Elvira, a former Mexican professional boxer famous for being the first Mexico-born boxer in history to win four world championships in four different weight classes.
  • Popularity: Morales ranks #16 among common Hispanic surnames and #94 in the U.S.
Classic, Ancient

Morgan

Morgan derives from the Old Welsh, given name Morcant. Morgan is among the oldest and most common Welsh surnames. The Scottish Morgan is linked to the McKay clan, whose motto is “Onward and Upward.”

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Borne from the sea, son of Morgan
  • Pronunciation: mAWr-guhn
  • Variations: Morgain, Morgann, Morghan
  • Namesakes: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, an American actor known for his role as Negan in the AMC horror drama series The Walking Dead.
  • Popularity: Morgan ranks #844 among the most common surnames worldwide, with most Morgans residing in the U.S.
Beautiful, Refined

Morris

Morris may have originated as Maurice, an Old French name derived from the Latin “maurus,” meaning “moorish, dark, swarthy.” Morris may also have derived from the Welsh given name Meurig or the Latin name Mauritius.

  • Origin: English, Scottish, French
  • Meaning: Dark-skinned
  • Pronunciation: mAW-rihs
  • Variations: Morriss, Morish, Morissh, Morce, Morse, Morrice, Morice
  • Namesakes: William Morris, a British writer and artist known as one of the principal founders of the British Arts and Crafts Movement.
  • Popularity: Morris ranked #54 among the most popular surnames in the U.S. and #32 in England.
Gorgeous, Historic
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Murphy

Murphy derives from the ancient Irish name O’Murchadha, meaning “descendant of the sea warrior, strong, superior.” Murphy includes the Gaelic “muir,” meaning “sea.” The Murphy family motto translates to “Brave and hospitable” and “Victory or death.”

  • Origin: Irish, Scottish Gaelic
  • Meaning: Sea Warrior
  • Pronunciation: mER-fee
  • Variations: Murphey, Morphy, O’Morchoe, McMurphy, O’Murphy, O’Murchu
  • Namesakes: Audie Leon Murphy, an American soldier known as one of World War II’s most decorated American combat soldiers.
  • Popularity: Murphy is the most common surname in Ireland and ranked #58 in the U.S.
Bold, Cool

Myers

Myers is derived from the German word “steward” or “bailiff.” Myers is an English patronymic surname meaning “son of the mayor,” derived from the Old English “maire” meaning “mayor.” Myers may have also derived from the Old French “mire,” meaning “physician.”

  • Origin: English, German
  • Meaning: Steward, bailiff, son of the mayor
  • Pronunciation: mYE-erz
  • Variations: Myer, Meyer, Meers, Mears, Meares, Myars, Myres, Miers, Miares
  • Namesakes: Michael John Myers, a Canadian actor, comedian, producer, and director, famous for his numerous film awards.
  • Popularity: Myers ranked #85 among the most popular surnames in the U.S.
Formal, Strong

Nelson

Nelson is a patronymic surname and a form of the Irish Neal, derived from the Gaelic Niall. Nelson could also mean “son of Eleanor,” a female name with the same origins as Neal. The Nelson family motto means, “Let he who has earned it bear the palm.”

  • Origin: Irish
  • Meaning: Son of Neil
  • Pronunciation: NEL-suhn
  • Variations: Neilson, Nealson, Nilson, Nilsen, Nilsson, Nielson
  • Namesakes: Willie Hugh Nelson, an American singer-songwriter known as one of the most recognized country music artists.
  • Popularity: Nelson ranked #34 among the most common surnames in the U.S. and is very popular in Northern Ireland
Ancient, Regal

Parker

Parker is an Old English occupational surname derived from Old French, meaning “keeper of the park.” Parker was commonly used as a nickname given to gamekeepers in medieval England.

  • Origin: English, French
  • Meaning: Park keeper
  • Pronunciation: pARK-er
  • Variations: Parkerson, Parkhouse, Parkman, Parcker, Parkerr, Paarker
  • Namesakes: Andrea N. Parker, an American actress known for her roles on the TV series E.R., The Pretender, Desperate Housewives, and Pretty Little Liars.
  • Popularity: Parker ranked #854 among the most common last names worldwide.
Attractive, Strong

Perez

Perez is a typical Castilian Spanish surname also common among people of Sephardic Jewish descent. Perez is the fourth most common surname in Israel that is not of Hebrew origin.

  • Origin: Spanish, Hebrew
  • Meaning: Son of Pero or Pedro, breach or burst forth
  • Pronunciation: pEH-rehs
  • Variations: Peres, Peret, Peretz, Perets, Phazes, Parez, Peris
  • Namesakes: Armando Christian Pérez, an American rapper and businessman known as Pitbull, recognized for his unique take on Latin hip-hop and crunk music.
  • Popularity: Perez is ranked 29th among the most popular surnames in the U.S. and is 7th among Hispanic last names.
Traditional, Gorgeous

Perry

Perry is an English topographic surname for someone who owned or lived near a pear tree, while Parry is of Welsh origin. Perry is an Old English surname derived from the Latin “pirum,” meaning “pear.”

  • Origin: Anglo-Norman
  • Meaning: Son of Harry, one who dwells by a pear tree
  • Pronunciation: pEHr-ee
  • Variations: Pery, Pury, Pirie, Parry,
  • Namesakes: Stephen Ray Perry, an American singer-songwriter known as the lead singer of the rock band Journey.
  • Popularity: Perry is widely popular in Western countries.
Cool, Modern

Peterson

Peterson is a Scandinavian patronymic surname derived from the Greek “petros,” meaning “rock.” Peterson is said to be an ancient Scottish name derived from Peter, which transformed into a patronymic surname.

  • Origin: English, Scottish, Scandinavian
  • Meaning: Son of Peter
  • Pronunciation: PEE-ter-suhn
  • Variations: Petersen, Pettersson, Peters, Petersson, Peterssen, Peterzen, Pedersen
  • Namesakes: Debbi Peterson, an American drummer and musician in the all-female band, The Bangles.
  • Popularity: Peterson ranked #63 among the most popular surnames in the U.S. and is also very common in European countries, including Denmark, Germany, and Holland.
Classic, Refined

Phillips

Phillips is a patronymic surname from Phillip, meaning “lover of horses.” Clan Phillips is a Scottish clan with an extensive history from the 13th-century. The Phillips clan played a monumental role in the development of Scotland.

  • Origin: English, Welsh
  • Meaning: Son of Philip
  • Pronunciation: FIHL-ihps
  • Variations: Philips, Phillip, Philip
  • Namesakes: Abigail Louise Phillips, an English actress best known for her role as Liberty Savage in the TV soap opera Hollyoaks.
  • Popularity: Phillips ranked #819 among the most common surnames worldwide and ranked #17 in Wales and #46 in the U.S.
Historic, Formal

Powell

Powell is a patronymic “P” surname derived from the Welsh name Hywel, later Anglicized as Howell. The Powell surname originated from the Welsh “Ap Howell,” meaning “son of Howell.”

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Son of Howell
  • Pronunciation: pOW-uhl
  • Variations: Powel, Pouel, Powells, Pauwel, Pauwels, Powels
  • Namesakes: Colin Powell, an American diplomat and military leader known as the first African American appointed as the U.S. Secretary of State.
  • Popularity: Powell ranked #23 among the most common surnames in Wales and #91 in the U.S.
Formal, Wholesome

Price

Price is a patronymic surname derived from the Welsh “Ap Rhys,” meaning “son of Rhys.” The Price family motto means “Life is short, glory eternal.” Price was originally spelled “Pryce” but was changed to make the name appear more English and thus more prestigious.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Son of Rhys
  • Pronunciation: prAYs
  • Variations: Pryce, Pris, Prys, Preece, Prees, Preis, Preuss
  • Namesakes: Alan Price, an English musician who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 as a member of the Animals.
  • Popularity: Price ranked #82 among the most popular surnames in the U.S. and #19 among Whales.
Ancient, Cool
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Ramos

Ramos is a habitational name for people who resided in the Spanish and Portuguese towns called Ramos. Ramos could also be a topographic name for someone who lived in a thickly wooded area. Ramos derives from the Latin “ramus,” meaning “branch.”

  • Origin: Spanish, Portuguese
  • Meaning: Palms, palm branches
  • Pronunciation: rAA-mohs
  • Variations: Ramose, Ramis, Ramo, Ramon
  • Namesakes: Nathalia Norah Ramos Cohen, an American actress known for her roles in the film Bratz and The Damned.
  • Popularity: Ramos ranked #20 among the most common Hispanic last names.
Classic, Wholesome

Reed

Reed is derived from the Old English word “read,” meaning “red,” which is usually used as a nickname for someone with red hair. Reed could also be a topographical surname for someone who lived in a clearing derived from the Old English “ried, ryd.”

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Red
  • Variations: Reid, Read, Reade, Red, Readman Ried, Reede
  • Namesakes: Chris Reed, an American-born Japanese ice dancer who, with his sister Cathy Reed became a seven-time Japanese national champion.
  • Popularity: Reed ranked #65 among the most popular surnames in the U.S. and #11 in Scotland as Reid.
Attractive, Bold

Richardson

Richardson derives from Richard, a Germanic name meaning “powerful and brave.” In Scotland, Richardson belongs to the Buchanan or the Ogilvie clan, which dates back to the 13th-century.

  • Origin: Anglo-Saxon
  • Meaning: Son or descendant of Richard
  • Pronunciation: RIH-cherd-sun
  • Variations: Richards, Richardsen, Richerdson
  • Namesakes: Patricia Castle Richardson, an American actress known for her role on the ABC sitcom Home Improvement.
  • Popularity: Richardson ranked #76 among the most popular surnames in the U.S. and #55 in England.
Modern, Regal

Rivera

Rivera stems from the Late Latin “riparia,” meaning “bank, shore.” The Spanish word for “riverbank” is “rebera.” Rivera may also be a habitational name for someone from any place named Rivera, meaning “of a river” in English.

  • Origin: Spanish
  • Meaning: Riverbank
  • Pronunciation: ree-vEH-raa
  • Variations: Ribera, Riva, Rivero, Riviere, Riba
  • Namesakes: Naya Marie Rivera, an American actress, and singer known for her work on the musical comedy-drama series, Glee.
  • Popularity: Rivera ranked #9 among the most common Hispanic surnames.
Attractive, Strong

Roberts

Roberts stems from the Welsh given name Robert. Robert is of Germanic origin and composed of the elements “hrod,” meaning “fame,” and “beraht,” meaning “bright.” Although Germanic, it was the Normans who historically introduced Roberts to Britain.

  • Origin: Welsh, German
  • Meaning: Son of Robert
  • Variations: Robert, Robarts, Robins, Robart, Ropartz, Robberts, Ropert, Ruppert
  • Namesakes: Julia Roberts, an American actress known for her roles in the films Pretty Woman, Steel Magnolias, and Erin Brockovich.
  • Popularity: Roberts ranked #6 on the list of most popular surnames in Whales and #45 in the U.S.
Regal, Historic

Robinson

Robinson is a typical English patronymic surname whose motto is translated to “In peace, in war.” Robinson is of Anglo-Norman descent, spreading throughout Ireland, Scotland, and Wales in early history, and is found in many medieval manuscripts.

  • Origin: Anglo-Norman
  • Meaning: Son of Robin
  • Pronunciation: rAA-bihn-suhn
  • Variations: Robeson, Robison, Robins
  • Namesakes: Gertrude Maud Robinson, a British organic chemist famous for her work on plant pigments.
  • Popularity: Robinson ranked #27 among the most popular surname in the U.S.
Wholesome, Refined

Rodriguez

Rodriguez derives from the ancient Germanic name Roderick meaning “famous power.” Rodriguez stems from the Visigoths who invaded Spain in the 400s and left the original Germanic name Hrodric. Rodriguez is a patronymic surname where the “ez” refers to “descendant of.”

  • Origin: Spanish, German
  • Meaning: Son of Rodrigo
  • Pronunciation: roh-drEE-gehz
  • Variations: Rodrigue, Rodriques, Roderick, Rodiger, Rhodriquez, Rhodriguez, Rodrigues
  • Namesakes: Luis Javier Rodriguez, an American writer known for his award-winning work titled, Always Running La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A.
  • Popularity: Rodriguez ranked #60 on the list of most common surnames worldwide and #9 in the U.S.
Traditional, Ancient

Rogers

Rogers is a knightly name of Anglo-Saxon descent that spread to Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Rogers is said to derive from the Germanic given name Roger meaning “famous spearman.” Rogers, in turn, originated from the Latin Rogerus and Rogeri. The Rogers family motto translates to “We and ours to God.”

  • Origin: Anglo-Norman
  • Meaning: Son of Roger
  • Pronunciation: RAA-jerz
  • Variations: Roger, Rodgers, Rogerson, Rodgerson, Rogars
  • Namesakes: Kenneth Ray Rogers, an American Country Music Hall of Fame singer-songwriter best known for his 1978 hit, The Gambler.
  • Popularity: Rogers ranked #61 among the most popular surnames in the U.S. and #77 in England.
Gorgeous, Strong

Ross

Ross is a habitational surname derived from the Gaelic “ros,” meaning “headland.” Ross may stem from the Welsh “rhos,” meaning “moor, bog,” but could derive from the Middle English “rous,” meaning “red-haired.” In German, das Ross means “the horse.”

  • Origin: Gaelic
  • Meaning: Red-haired, headland
  • Pronunciation: rAAs
  • Variations: Rosse, Ros
  • Namesakes: Nelson Alexander Ross, an American comic book writer and artist best known for his work on the 90s Marvel Comics.
  • Popularity: Ross ranked #14 among the top surnames in Scotland and #89 in the U.S.
Cool, Beautiful

Russell

Russell is derived from the Anglo-Norman “Rousel,” a diminutive of the Old French “rouse,” meaning “red, reddish.” Russel began as a nickname for someone with red hair or a ruddy complexion. The Russell clan motto is “Promptus,” meaning “Ready.”

  • Origin: Anglo-Norman
  • Meaning: Red-haired one
  • Pronunciation: rUH-suhl
  • Variations: Russel, Rusell, Roussell, Ruessell, Roussel, Ruessel
  • Namesakes: Kurt Russell, an American actor known for starring in films such as Overboard, Backdraft, Executive Decision, and Vanilla Sky.
  • Popularity: Russell is most common in Australia and Scotland and ranked #93 among the most popular surnames in the U.S.
Modern, Beautiful
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Sanchez

Sanchez is a patronymic surname derived from the medieval given name “Sancho,” meaning “sanctified.” Sanchez stems from the Latin name Sanctius, a derivative of “sanctus.” Sanches is the Portuguese variation of Sanchez.

  • Origin: Latin, Spanish
  • Meaning: Son of Sancto
  • Pronunciation: SAHN-chehz
  • Variations: Sanches, Sanz, Sainz, Saenz, Saiz, Saez, Sanguez, Sanchiz
  • Namesakes: Oscar Arias Sanchez, a former Costa Rican President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate who served two different terms as president.
  • Popularity: Sanchez ranked #8 among the most popular Hispanic surnames and #33 on the list of popular surnames in the U.S.
Classic, Bold

Sanders

Sanders is a medieval form of the Greek Alexander, meaning “defender of men.” Sanders may have derived from Xander, the shortened form of Alexander. The first record of the surname Sanders was found in 1606 in County Wicklow, Ireland.

  • Origin: Greek, Irish, English
  • Meaning: Son of Alexander
  • Pronunciation: saen-duhrs
  • Variations: Sanderson, Sandersen, Sander.
  • Namesakes: Christopher Sanders, an American actor known for his roles in the TV series Ghost Whisperer and the sitcom Last Man Standing.
  • Popularity: Sanders ranked #87 among the most popular surnames in the U.S.
Historic, Refined

Scott

Scott is an ethnic or geographical name for someone from Scotland who speaks Gaelic. Scott is said to have derived from the Old English “scotti,” a generic name the Romans used for the Gaelic raiders from Ireland.

  • Origin: Gaelic, Scotland
  • Meaning: A native of Scotland
  • Pronunciation: skAHt
  • Variations: Scot, Scotte, Scotten, Schott, Schott, Scoth, Scutt, Scotus
  • Namesakes: Douglas Keith Scott, an English mountaineer known for the first ascent of the southwest face of Mount Everest in 1975.
  • Popularity: Scott ranked #10 among the most popular surnames in Scotland and #36 in the U.S.
Cool, Traditional

Simmons

Simmons is an English patronymic surname derived from the Hebrew Shimon, which became Simeon and Simon in the Holy Bible. Simmons may also be derived from “Simund” from the Old Norse “sig,” meaning “victory,” and “mundr” meaning “protection.”

  • Origin: Hebrew, English
  • Meaning: Son of Simon
  • Pronunciation: SIH-muhnz
  • Variations: Simond, Simmonds, Simons, Simmance, Semmens, Seamans
  • Namesakes: Chelan Lauren Simmons, a Canadian actress known for her roles in the films Final Destination 3 and Good Luck Chuck.
  • Popularity: Simmons ranked #104 on the list of common surnames in the U.S.
Classic, Formal

Smith

Smith derives from the Old English “Smid,” which is a derivative of “smitan,” meaning “strike, hammer.” Smith was an occupational name for a metal worker, particularly iron, such as a blacksmith or farrier.

  • Origin: Anglo-Saxon
  • Meaning: A worker in metals
  • Variations: Smyth, Smythe, Schmidt
  • Namesakes: Delia Ann Smith, an English chef and TV presenter, and one of the most popular celebrity chefs in British popular culture.
  • Popularity: Smith is the most common last name in the U.S., England, Australia, Canada, Scotland, New Zealand, and many others.
Strong, Attractive

Steward

Steward derives from the Old English word “stigweard,” composed of “stig,” meaning “household,” and “weard,” meaning “guardian.” Steward was typically used as an occupational name for a housekeeper. Steward was the name of the royal family of Scotland between 1371 and 1688.

  • Origin: English, Scottish
  • Meaning: Son of Steuhard, keeper of a household
  • Pronunciation: Ste-whard
  • Variations: Stewardt, Steweard, Steaward
  • Namesakes: Katrina Elayne Steward, an American dancer, singer, and actress known for winning the Miss Black USA Pageant in 2005.
  • Popularity: Steward is a fairly common name in English-speaking countries.
Gorgeous, Modern

Taylor

Taylor is an occupational name derived from the Old French “taileur,” which stems from the Latin “taliare,” meaning “to cut.” The biblical meaning of Taylor is “clothed with salvation” and relates to eternal beauty.

  • Origin: Anglo-Norman
  • Meaning: Cutter of cloth
  • Pronunciation: TAY-ler
  • Variations: Tayla, Tayler, Tailour, Taylour, Tailleur, Tailor
  • Namesakes: James Vernon Taylor, an American singer-songwriter and six-time Grammy Award winner, who sold over 100 million records worldwide.
  • Popularity: Taylor ranked #24 among the most popular names in the U.S.
Wholesome, Historic

Thomas

Thomas derives from the Aramaic term “t’om’a,” meaning “twin.” Thomas began as a medieval first name, and the surname is of patronymic origin. The first letter of Thomas stems from the Greek “theta,” leading to the common “T.H.” spelling.

  • Origin: English, Welsh
  • Meaning: Son of Thomas
  • Pronunciation: thAW-muhs
  • Variations: Tomas, Thomason, Tomason, Tommasi, Toma, Thom, Thoma
  • Namesakes: Clarence Thomas, an American Supreme Court justice nominated by President George H. W. Bush.
  • Popularity: Thomas ranked #14 among the most popular surnames in the U.S., #9 in England, and #3 in France.
Cool, Traditional

Thompson

Thompson is an ancient Celtic patronymic surname. Without the “p,” Thomson is considered a Scottish surname. Thompson is also related to the ancient Gaelic name “MacTamhais.”

  • Origin: Celtic, English, Scottish
  • Meaning: Son of Thome
  • Pronunciation: TAHMp-suhn
  • Variations: Thomson, Thomason, Thomasson, Thomassin, Thomeson, Tompson
  • Namesakes: Bronwyn Thompson, an Australian long jumper who holds the Australian record and won gold at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
  • Popularity: Thompson ranked #412 among the most common surnames worldwide.
Formal, Bold

Torrez

Torrez is a habitational surname given to people who resided near a tower or from a place named Torrez. Torrez derives from the Latin “turris,” meaning “tower.”

  • Origin: Catalan, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Meaning: Tower
  • Pronunciation: tOH-rehz
  • Variations: Tores, Torez
  • Namesakes: Dara Grace Torres, an American former competitive swimmer known as a 12-time Olympic medallist and former world record-holder in three events.
  • Popularity: Torrez ranked #50 among the most popular surnames in the U.S. and #11 among popular Spanish surnames.
Strong, Attractive
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Turner

Turner is an occupational name for working with wood or metal on a lathe. Turner derives from the Old French “tornier” and Latin Tornarius, meaning “lathe.” Turner could also be an occupational name for a guard in a tower, from the Germanic “turn,” meaning “tower.” The Turner coat of arms represents loyalty and truth.

  • Origin: Latin, Anglo-Norman
  • Meaning: Lathe worker
  • Pronunciation: tER-ner
  • Variations: Tournier, Turney, Tarner, Terner, Turnor, Thurner, Tournor
  • Namesakes: Joseph Turner Jr., an American singer known for his rock-and-roll recordings in the 1950s, includes the hit Shake, Rattle, and Roll.
  • Popularity: Turner ranked #49 among the most popular surnames in the U.S. and #27 in England.
Ancient, Refined

Ward

Ward derives from the Old English “warde” or “wearde,” meaning “watch, guard.” Ward is an occupational name but can also be a geographical “W” surname for someone who lives near a guardhouse or fortress.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Watch, guard
  • Variations: Warde, Warden, Wardman, Wordman, Wards, Wardale
  • Namesakes: Anita Ward, an American singer and musician best known for her 1979 million-selling hit Ring My Bell.
  • Popularity: Ward ranked #71 among the most popular last names in the U.S.
Beautiful, Traditional

Walker

Walker derived from the Middle English “walkcere” and the Old English “wealcan” meaning “to walk or tread.” Walker is an occupational name for someone who engaged in a pre-industrial step of cloth making to thicken fabric by walking on it.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: A fuller of cloth
  • Pronunciation: wAW-ker
  • Variations: Wallker, Walkar, Walkere
  • Namesakes: Charles David Walker, an American engineer and astronaut who flew on three Space Shuttle missions in 1984 and 1985.
  • Popularity: Walker ranked #28 among the most popular surnames in the U.S. and #15 in England.
Cool, Classic

Washington

Washington originated as an English place derived from the Old English personal name “wassa,” which means “hunting.” Washington means “from the intelligent one’s farm” and “from the town of Wassa’s people.”

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Place name
  • Pronunciation: WAH-shing-tuhn
  • Variations: Washinton, Wassington, Wassingeton
  • Namesakes: Denzel Hayes Washington, an American actor, and filmmaker known for his many awards, including two Academy Awards.
  • Popularity: Washington is most common in Columbia, the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, and England.
Historic, Bold

Watson

Watson is a patronymic surname related to Walter or Watts. The Middle English given names Wat and Watt were nicknames for Walter, meaning “powerful ruler” or “ruler of the army.”

  • Origin: English, Scottish
  • Meaning: Son of Walter
  • Pronunciation: wAAt-sun
  • Variations: Wattis, Watts, Wattson, Wats
  • Namesakes: Heather Miriam Watson, a British professional tennis player known for winning nine titles.
  • Popularity: Watson ranked #19 among the most common surnames in Scotland and #76 in the U.S.
Gorgeous, Bold

White

White is a descriptive name for someone with light hair, clothing, or fair skin. White can also be an Anglicization of the Gaelic MacGillebhain, meaning “son of the fair Gilli.” White derives from the Middle English “whit,” meaning “white.” The original name was Wights, from the Anglo-Saxon “with” meaning “valiant.”

  • Origin: Anglo-Saxon
  • Meaning: Son of the fair Gillie, fair complexion
  • Variations: Whyte, Whiet, Wight, Whytte
  • Namesakes: Barry White, an American singer-songwriter known for his hits Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe and You’re the First, the Last, My Everything.
  • Popularity: White ranked #16 among the most common surnames in England and #20 in the U.S.
Cool, Classic

Williams

Williams is a patronymic surname derived from the given name William, which stems from the Old German “Willihelm.” The French form of William is Guillaume.

  • Origin: Welsh, French, German
  • Meaning: Son of William
  • Pronunciation: wILL-yumz
  • Variations: William, Willimon, Williman, Williamson, Wilcox, MacWilliams, Willhelm
  • Namesakes: Robin Williams, an American actor famous for his role in Patch Adams, among many others.
  • Popularity: Williams ranked #3 among the most popular surnames in the U.S. and is also very popular in England, Scotland, Australia, and Germany.
Traditional, Attractive

Wilson

Wilson is a medieval patronymic surname meaning “son of Will,” a widely used nickname for William. Will may have derived from the Germanic element “wil,” meaning “desire,” which is common in many German names.

  • Origin: English, Germanic
  • Meaning: Son of Will
  • Pronunciation: wIHl-suhn
  • Variations: Willson, Wilsone, Wills, Willeson, Wulson
  • Namesakes: David Henry Wilson, an English writer known for his children’s stories like the Jeremy James series.
  • Popularity: Wilson is a very common surname, ranked #5 in Australia, #8 in England, and #10 in the U.S.
Formal, Wholesome

Wood

Wood is derived from the Middle English “wode,” meaning “wood,” used for a person who lived or worked in a forest. Wood was also an ancient Scottish surname, first called De Bosco, as trees were in their coat of arms.

  • Origin: English, Scottish
  • Meaning: Wood
  • Pronunciation: wUUd
  • Variations: Woode, Woods
  • Namesakes: Aimee Lou Wood, an English actress known for her roles in Mary Stuart and People, Places, and Things.
  • Popularity: Wood ranks #26 among the most popular surnames in England and Wales, #53 in Scotland, and #75 in the U.S.
Modern, Strong

Young

Young derived from the Middle English “yunge” or “yonge,” meaning “young.” This was a descriptive name for the younger of two relatives with the same first name, much like “junior.”

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Young
  • Pronunciation: yUHng
  • Variations: Younge, Yong
  • Namesakes: Neil Young, a Canadian-American singer-songwriter known for his folk-rock albums Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere and Rust Never Sleeps.
  • Popularity: Young ranked #31 in the U.S. and #19 in Scotland.
Wholesome, Modern
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About the Author

Jennely Pershouse

Hi! I'm Jennely. My hands and my mind can't be still, and neither can my four-year-old and newborn. So, I'm either chasing them or my next project. I'm a qualified highschool teacher by profession and also have a master's degree in business management. Besides teaching, writing is my passion as I always learn something new in the process.
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