Spanish last names are commonly heard around the globe. The names might be traditional or unique. They may represent a historical occupation of a person's ancestors, character traits, or geographic locales. Regardless of the roots and origins of a Spanish surname, they all have a common quality of beauty and a story behind them.
Spanish Last Names That Signify an Occupation
Last names that are derived from a person's occupation are found in many countries around the world, and Spain is no exception. Many last names reflect the jobs that people did centuries ago.
- Abarca - Means "maker"
- Amo - Means "tutor"
- Baro - Means "servant"
- Basurto - Means "middle of the forest"
- Botello - Means "maker of bottles"
- Botero - Means "boat maker"
- Colon - Means "dove keepers"
- Herrera - Means "iron worker"
- Marín - Means "sailor"
- Molina - Means "miller"
- Sarto - Means "tailor"
- Vela - Means "watchman"
Popular Spanish Surnames
These last names are ones you will hear repeatedly should you ever visit Spain or any other country with a large Spanish presence. They are among the most popular Spanish last names in the world.
- Diaz - The name accounts for .17% of the Spanish population. Means "days"
- Fernández - Means "son of Fernando"
- García - May come from the Basque word for "bear"
- González - Might mean "war hall" also means "son of Gonzalo"
- Guzman - Might mean "cadet or person in the army" or may mean "from the village of Guzmán"
- Jiménez - Means "son of Jimeno"
- Pérez - Means "son of Pedro"
- Rodríguez - Means "son of Rodrigo"
- Romero - Means "a traveler" or "a pilgrim"
- Ruiz - Alludes to the meaning "famous ruler"
- Sánchez - 8th most common Spanish surname. Means "son of Sancho"
Uncommon Last Names
While some Spanish last names are frequently heard throughout Spanish-centric regions, others are rarely ever heard. Surnames often change over time, creating rare names held by small numbers of persons. Names are also considered unique due to their meaning. Some name definitions are interesting and unusual.
- Bigotes - Means "whiskers"
- Escarra - Means "left-handed"
- Ladrón - Means "thief"
- Lanzo - Means "to throw"
- Escobar- Comes from the word "escoba" meaning "broom"
- Feo - Means "ugly"
- Guerra - Means "quarrelsome person"
- Padilla - Means "small frying pan"
- Quijada - Means "prominent jawline"
- Sosa - Name linked to "seaweed"
- Tapia - Means "mudwall"
Spanish Monikers That Stem From Nature and Geography
Many monikers are derived from specific places on Earth. These types of last names can come from regions of areas identified by landmarks or they can signify aspects of nature, like plants, animals, and other natural elements.
- Aguado - Means "water"
- Aguilar - Means "eagle"
- Alamilla - Means "poplar or aspen tree"
- Alcaraz - Means "the cherry"
- Aldana - Means "a slope"
- Armendarez - Means "herdsman"
- Azarolla - Refers to "fox"
- Bover - Means "bull" or "ox"
- Calderon - Means "basin, crater or hollow"
- Cabrera - Means "a place of goats"
- Campo - Means "field"
- Ciervo - Means "hunter"
- Cruz- Means "dweller near a cross"
- Cueva - Means "cave"
- Flores - Means "flower"
- Fonseca - Means "someone who lives near a dry spring"
- Gallo - Means "rooster"
- Garza - Means "heron"
- Huerta - Means "garden" or "orchard"
- Lago - Means "someone who lives by the lake"
- Leon - Means "lion-like"
- Lopez - Means "wolf"
- Montes - Means "someone living near a mountain"
- Nocito - Means "walnut orchard"
- Novar - Means "treeless plateau"
- Olivárez - Means "someone living near an olive grove"
- Olmeda - Means "stand of elm trees"
- Ortega - Means "nettle plant"
- Parilla - Means "vine" or "grapevine"
- Peña - Means "someone living near a cliff"
- Pérez - Means "stone" or "rock"
- Prado - Means "meadow"
- Raya - Means "someone living on the line between two towns"
- Rivera - Means "riverbank" or "shore"
- Vasco - Means "crow"
Spanish Last Names Ending in -Ez
Many Spanish surnames end in the letter combination "ez." This denotes the meaning "son of." In other cultures, different letter combinations signify the "son of" meaning. For example, in German and Scandinavian countries, the letter combinations "son" and "sen" were added to last names to decipher when someone was the son of another.
- Hernandez - Son of Hernando
- Gutiérrez - Son of Gutierre
- Márquez - Son of Marcos
- Sáez - Means "saintly or holy" and son of Santo
- Suarez - Means "swine herder" and son of Suero
- Valdez - Son of Baldo
- Velasquez - Son of Velasco
- Yáñez - Son of Juan
Surnames Full of Personality Traits and Characteristics
Does your last name allude to the quality of strength? Might it mean beauty and elegance? Maybe it is more literal, with a definition of a physical characteristic. Spanish last names sometimes point to personality traits, characteristics and qualities, and physical attributes.
- Aceves - Means "holly"
- Alegria - Means "happy" or "joyful"
- Alonso - Means "noble"
- Banderas - Means "flag bearer"
- Barbero - Means "beard"
- Bardales - Means "place covered with thorns"
- Bello - Means "attractive"
- Cabello - Means "covered in hair"
- Cano - Means "person with white hair or light complexion"
- Clemente - Means "gentle"
- Delgado - Means "someone who is thin"
- Duran - Means "steadfast"
- Felix - Means "lucky"
- Florentino - Means flourishing" or "prosperous"
- Moreno - Means "a person with dark hair or dark complexion"
- Neri - Means "black" or "dark"
- Pablo - Means "small"
- Pinto - Means "colorful"
- Rubio - Means "someone with lightly colored hair"
- Urbano - Means "elegant"
What Is in a Last Name?
The short answer is plenty, and often more than you may think initially. When looking at learning about your family heritage and your ancestry, last names are a great place to start the journey. They give insight into what your ancestors did and where and how they lived. The process of researching your last name can be a fascinating activity for a family and a great way to bond and understand your roots more deeply.