31 Spanish surnames and their meanings

21 countries around the world have Spanish as an official language and around 437 million people have Spanish as their native language. Spanish surnames are therefore very widespread across the globe.

Around 437 million people speak Spanish as their first language in 21 countries around the world. Globally, Spanish surnames are very widespread.

31 Spanish surnames and their meanings
31 Spanish surnames and their meanings

Noble Spanish surnames

  1. Lopez

This surname of Spanish origin is also popular in Portugal and Brazil in its variant Lopes. It has the meanings of “brave”, “victorious”, and “son of the wolf”.

Prestigious name, it comes from the Latin lupus, which means wolf. One of the biggest celebrities with this surname is singer and actress Jennifer Lopez who has Puerto Rican ancestry.

  1. Barbosa

This imposing surname of Spanish origin means “place full of trees”. Its origins count from the Quinta (farm) that received this name. Belonging to D. Sancho Nunes, he attributed this surname to himself.

There are several personalities of Brazilian, Spanish, and Latin American origin with this beautiful surname.

  1. Santiago

Besides being the name of several cities where Spanish is the official language, Santiago is a popular surname that means “Saint Iago”, or an agglutination of “Saint James”.

It originates from Santiago and is a Welsh Spanish version of Jacob, which comes from the Hebrew Yaaqobh, related to Aramaic and Arabic. In this version, he has the meaning of “heel” and “he who comes from the heel”.

  1. Rodríguez

The Spanish surname Rodríguez relates to its Portuguese variant Rodrigues. It is a patronymic of Rodrigo and therefore means “son of Rodrigo”.

As the ending “es” was usually used for the idea of descent, the surname Rodríguez has this meaning. It is a beautiful surname and quite popular in Portugal and Spain.

  1. Marquez

Not to be confused with the title of nobility called marquis, the surname Marquez is quite popular in Spain and also in Portugal and Brazil with its variant Marques.

The surname means “son of Marcos” or “son of Marcus”. This is because the suffix “es” is associated with the direct descent of children and other family members.

Noble Spanish surnames
Noble Spanish surnames
  1. Diaz

The surname Diaz means “son of Diego”, “son of Diogo” or “relative of the one who comes from the heel”. It arises from Diez, whose suffix “ez” is used in Spanish to denote ancestry, or “son of”.

Diego, in turn, is related to the biblical name Jacob, which in turn has the meaning of “heel”. One of the most famous celebrities with this surname is the actress Cameron Diaz who is of Cuban descent.

  1. Hernández

Common surnames in countries such as Mexico, Cuba, and Spain, it means “son of Fernando”, “son of the man daring to achieve peace” or “son of the man who dares to travel”.

  1. García

This surname is popular in virtually all Spanish-speaking countries, it means “one who is generous”.

Important personalities who bear it are the Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez, the actor Andy García and the Mexican actor Gael García Bernal.

  1. González

This surname is one of the most common in countries such as Spain, Argentina, Cuba, Uruguay, and Colombia.

It means “son of Gonçalo”, “son of the one who is saved in battle” or “son of the warrior”.

  1. Fernández

It means “son of Fernando”, “son of the man daring to achieve peace” or “son of the man who dares to travel”.

It is a very common surname in Spain, Uruguay, and Argentina.

Surnames of Spanish origin

  1. Pérez

This surname means “son of Peter”, “son of the rock”, or “son of the one who is strong”. It is a very popular surname in Spanish-speaking countries.

  1. Martínez

This surname means “son of Martín”, “son of the warrior” or “son of the one dedicated to the god Mars”.

It is a popular surname in Mexico, Uruguay, and Colombia.

  1. Gómez

It means “son of man”. It is one of the most common surnames in Spain, as well as in Argentina and Colombia.

  1. Medina

This noble Spanish surname, eventually popularised in Brazil, means “Arab town” in Spanish.

A historical personality that carries it is the Brazilian professional surfer Gabriel Medina.

  1. Moreno

As a popular surname, especially in Spain, and noble of the house of the Castilians, it means “dark”, or “Moreno”.

  1. Villalobos

The medieval noble surname originates from the junction of the Spanish terms villa, which means “city”, “town” and Lobo, which means “wolf”, referring to the animal. It means “city of the wolves”, or “village of the wolves”.

An important personality who carried it was the Brazilian maestro and composer Heitor Villa-Lobos.

  1. Rivera

Noble name belonging to the house of the Aragons, it originates from the Spanish Ribera, through the Latin riparius, which means “coast”, “bank”, and “margin”, referring to people who lived near rivers and lakes.

  1. Radamés

This rare surname of Spanish origin is a variation of Ramses, which originates in the Egyptian words Ramses, Rmssu, formed by the union of the elements Ran, the name of the supreme god in Egypt, and means which means “son” or menu, “to be born”.

The surname Radames Radames has the meanings, therefore, of “son of Ra”, “son of the Sun” or “the god Ra procreated”.

  1. Aquino

The surname Aquino has both Spanish and Italian origins, although it is most popular in Italy and is therefore a rare Spanish surname.

Aquino means “he who was born in Aquino”, “born in Aquino”, or “inhabitant of Aquino”. It is a name that was intended to identify people who were born in that region of Italy.

  1. Ortiz

Ortiz is a patronymic name meaning “son of Orti” which derives from the word fortis in Latin, Basque, which in turn means “fortunate”.

In Brazil, we have the heroine Maria Ortiz with this surname. Of Spanish origin, she helped to contain the invasion and attack by the Dutch in the then captaincy of Espírito Santo. Today, a staircase in the center of the capital Vitória in the state of Espírito Santo bears her name.

Rare Spanish Surnames
Rare Spanish Surnames

Rare Spanish Surnames

  1. Mendez

Originally from the Iberian Peninsula, the surname Mendez is quite common in Spain and also in Portugal in its variation Mendes.

Mendez and Mendes mean “son of Mendo” or “son of total sacrifice”. These distinct meanings arise because Mendes was the name given to sons of individuals called Menedo, which in turn derives from the Visigothic Hermengilt meaning “total sacrifice”.

  1. Avila

The beautiful surname Avila means “one who comes from the village” or “hails from the village” and originates from the autonomous region of Castile and Leon in Spain. Its etymological root can be traced back to the Latin avela/abula.

The name has spread both in the region of Spain and elsewhere in the world, as well as in Brazil. The journalist and political figure Manuela d’Ávila has this surname in conjunction with the d and apostrophe (d’).

  1. Fonseca

Very common in the Iberian Peninsula region, the surname Fonseca means “dry spring”, “which originates from the proximities of dry springs”.

The surname came to Brazil with the Portuguese colonization and the most famous historical personality with this surname was the first president of the country, Marshall Deodoro da Fonseca.

  1. Lacerda

This medieval surname means “the bristle” or “the thick hair”. It originated from the Spanish La Cerda, a nickname meaning “the bristle”. Historical records tell that the eldest son of King Alfonso X was nicknamed “La Cerda” because of the thick hair on his chest.

The Lacerda family coat of arms is a shield in the colors red, gold, silver, and blue, with the lion in purple. In addition, the shield has fleurs-de-lis in gold.

  1. Muniz

The historic Spanish surname Muniz has origins in the Middle Ages from the Latin Munnius or Monnius.

Muniz means “son of Muno” or “son of protection”. Some etymologists associate the Germanic root mund, which is presented in the surname with the meaning of “protection”.

  1. Pacheco

Perhaps the most Spanish surname of all, Pacheco means “the one who comes from Spain”. It comes from the Iberian Peninsula and some scholars attribute its origins to the Latin word Pacieco.

Torre-Pacheco is the name of a municipality in Spain in the Murcia region where bones dating back 150,000 years before Christ have been found.

  1. Castillo

The historic surname Castillo is derived from the Latin castellum and means “castle”, “the one who lives in a castle” or “fortification”. Its Portuguese variant is also quite popular in the form of Castilho.

Mexican actress Kate del Castillo is one of the most recognized personalities with this surname.

  1. Ferraz

This imposing and popular Spanish surname has the meanings of “he who smiths or places horseshoes” or “son of the knight in armor”.

Some scholars believe that this surname originated in the region of Aragon in Spain. It is derived from the Latin word Ferrum which means “iron”. Another possibility is the word Ferrari, which has the meaning of “knight’s armor”.

  1. Tenorio

A rare Spanish surname, it was probably given in the form of a nickname to the Spaniards who ruled southern Italy in medieval times.

It probably derives from the word tenor, meaning “high-pitched sound” or “high pitch”, due to this, the surname Tenorio means “resounding high-pitched sound”.

  1. Bueno

A rather uncommon surname in Spanish-speaking countries, it has an uncertain origin, probably originated from a nickname and means “good”, gaining the sense of “kind”.

  1. Crespo

With origins in the Castilian language, this rare surname originates from the Latin crispus, which means “curly”, referring to people with curly hair.

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