For most parents, choosing baby surnames can be an exciting challenge. Given names are often called first names, and surnames or last names usually derive from words with distinct origins. A person’s first name, along with the last name, represents their identity. The study of surnames requires a combination of language studies and a family’s genealogy to help you discover the meaning of your surname. Thailand’s last names are mostly inspired by Thai, Chinese, Korean, Hindi, and Arab languages that lend variety to the heritage of Thai family names. Read on to find interesting information on unique Thai last names that give valuable insight into the Thai naming tradition.
Thai Last names or surnames have indicated a person’s native land or occupation over the years. Until the 19th century, one knew most people from Thailand just by their first names and residence. After 1913, King Rama VI, who received his education in Europe, started adopting last names, similar to the West. But, unlike the West, Thai last names can only be shared by people directly related to each other. The Siamese government recorded birth dates, dates of death, and household members for the practical purpose of identification.
Moreover, as no two families could take the same last name, each family has unique surnames of their own. A new Thai surname must be no longer than ten Thai letters, excluding vowel symbols and diacritics. Interestingly, compound last names or long Thai last names consist of a string of words instead of traditionally common last names like “Smith” or “Jones” of the west. These generally belonged to immigrants who honored both countries and wished to establish their identity from others in their clan or family line who remained in their home country. Hence, some Thai last names may not translate easily, or at all, to English, but they do translate to Chinese. Shorter Thai last names of two-syllables or less typically belonged to native families that have lived in Thailand for generations. Ethnic groups from India, Cambodia, and Southeast Asia highly influence the culture of Thailand. Thailand has a diverse population of around 75 ethnic groups making up about 30 percent of the population. At the same time, the Thai-Lao is about 32 percent, Chinese about 12 percent, and Malay-speaking Muslims and Khmer are about five percent. Each has its unique naming customs that are just as beautiful as their names or surnames. Buddhism is an integral part of everyday life that governs religious practices. For those planning to settle in Thailand, one must either marry a Thai citizen, take up the spouse’s name or take up a long and unique name if a single person becomes a permanent resident or citizen. This well-researched inventory of common Thai last names will help to discover their special meanings and importance.
100 Famous Thai Surnames or Family Names With Meanings
People of Thailand may alter or create a new family name, usually for religious or superstitious reasons. Moreover, many families simply made up a name with meanings that would reflect well on the family. Emphasis on the definition of a word or what it symbolizes and represents makes Thai last names quite popular. Here is a list of Thailand surnames that you may weigh and consider for your little one.
Derived from the Sanskrit words “Atulya,” Adulya means ‘incomparable’ and “Tej” means ‘power.’
Amarin in Thai means ‘forever, undying, immortal; right hand of the angel.’
Ambhom means ‘sky’ in Thai.
This mythological-inspired Thai surname means ‘magic power.’
Derived from the Sanskrit word, Aanand, Ananada means ‘joy’ and ‘happiness.’
This Cambodian surname means ‘greeting’ as it refers to the word of new beginnings and luck.
Derived from the Sanskrit word Ayudha, meaning ‘invincible, unconquerable,’ Ayutthaya was the kingdom that reigned from 1350-1767, the precursor of modern Thailand.
This Thai-inspired name is suitable for warriors as it means ‘a weapon.’
This nature-inspired Thai surname means ‘lotus’ that symbolizes enlightenment.
This Thai surname means “Bhodi tree.”
This Thai surname means “merit have.”
This Thai surname means “virtue with glory.”
This Thai surname means “virtue.”
This Thai surname means “born to good fortune.”
This Chinese surname means “dweller, farmer, and peasant.”
16. Bun Ma
This Thai surname means “to have luck.”
This Thai surname means “sapphire of yellow.”
This Thai surname means ‘King.’
This Thai surname means ‘To prosper, develop, and increase (with) delight.’
This Chinese surname means ‘Great, tremendous; dawn, morning.’
This Thai surname is suitable to descendants of warriors as it means ‘conquer.’
This Thai surname means ‘victory.’
Considered a noble title, this Thai-origin last name means ‘king.’
This motivational last name means ‘to prosper.’
This Thai origin surname symbolizes enlightenment, referring to the gorgeous ‘lotus flower.’
This Chinese origin name from the Zhou dynasty refers to ‘someone from the Shaanxi province in China.’
This Thai surname means “from the heart.”
This Thai origin means “frog.”
This Thai surname is a combination of Hiran, meaning ‘immortal’ and ‘chai,’ indicating ‘acceptance.’
This Thai surname means “blue or green heart.”
This Thai surname means “from Krungthep,” an area of Bangkok, Thailand
This Thai surname means “a reference to a bird native to Thailand.”
This Thai surname refers to someone “from Krungthep,” an area of Bangkok, Thailand.
This Thai surname means “pure happiness.”
Khuatis, the transliteration of a Chinese surname, means ‘bent,’ ‘to feel wronged.’
Kittibun in Thai means “famous fortune.”
This Thai surname means “of a famous clan.”
38. Kob Sook/Kob-Sook
This Thai surname means “heart full of happiness.”
This Thai surname means “lion; brave.”
This popular Chinese-inspired surname refers to ‘logic.’
Defining the ‘yellow color of gold,’ this Thai origin name refers to someone with a bright and shiny personality.’
This nature-inspired Thai surname refers to the ‘fig.’
This Thai surname means “dog.”
This Thai surname refers to “someone from Makok,” a town in Thailand.
Meeboon means “have merit” in Thai.
This topographical name refers to ‘someone from the Mokok islands of Thailand.’
Malee is a nature-inspired Thai surname that refers to a ‘kind of flower’ or simply ‘flower.’
This surname of Sanskrit origin means ‘mental balance.’
The Thai surname defines nativity as ‘Muang’ means mango, a tropical fruit.
50. Na Chiangmai
This Thai surname refers to ‘Descendants of the rulers of Chiang Mai.’
Narak means ‘cute’ in Thai.
Niran means ‘Never ending;’ or ‘everlasting’ in Thai.
Noi means ‘Bird’ in Thai.
This surname means ‘white mouse’ in Thai.
Ngam means ‘Beautiful’ in Thai.
This surname refers to someone born in the Nai Muang District in Nakhon Ratchasima Province, Thailand.
This surname means ‘fruit’ in Thai.
Phutsais is a rare Thai surname referring to a ‘jujube’ fruit.
The last name usually depicts the ‘history of a family.
This Thai surname means “cat’s eye.”
Pasu refers to the ‘Beast’ in Sanskrit.
This Thai surname means “joyful.”
This Sanskrit surname means “in front.”
Derived from the Thai root word ratn, Rattana means ‘gem jeel.’
Rakhang means ‘bell’ or ‘chime’ in Thai.
This Thai surname means “crystal blessing.”
This Thai surname refers to the royal family of the Chakri Dynasty.
Ritthirong refers to someone good at fighting”.
This Thai surname refers to ‘someone good with words”. Rochana means ‘red lotus’ in Sanskrit.
This Thai surname means “glory.”
Si in Thai means ‘glory,’ ‘honor,’ ‘splendor,’ and Suwan means ‘gold.’
Sueadao means ‘leopard’ in Thai.
Suk means ‘joy,’ ‘happiness,’ ‘delight,’ and Kasem means ‘contentment’ or ‘happiness.’
This surname of Thai-Chinese origin means ‘Liu.’
Saengkaew means ‘Crystal light’ in Thai.
Shinawatra means ‘Someone who does good routinely’ in Thai.
This Thai surname means ‘Necklace with gold.’
This Thai surname means ‘Suitable,’ ‘honorable’ in Thai.
This Thai surname means ‘Jewel’; ‘gem’ in Thai.
Sakdan means ‘powerful person’ in Thai.
Suwan means ‘Gold’ in Thai.
Saetang means ‘Chief;’ ‘educated’ in Thai.
Saelim means ‘Intelligent,’ ‘strong’ in Thai.
Siriporn means ‘Gloriously blessed person in Thai.
The surname of Thai origin means ‘merit creation.’
86. Thong di
Inspired by the historic hero Phraya Pichai who was renamed Thong di by his instructor, Thong di means ‘one with white teeth’ in Thai.
Trubbaya means ‘treasure’ in Thai.
Thong in Thai means ‘gold,’ and suk means ‘ripe’ or ‘mature.’
Thahan means ‘military’ in Thai.
This surname refers to ‘someone born in Nai Muang District in Nakhon Ratchasima Province in Thailand.
Trachang means ‘elephant seal’ in Thai.
The Chinese surname means ‘king.’
This Chinese surname means ‘a field or a meadow’ or ‘kin.’
Wong in Thai means ‘lineage, family, dynasty,’ and Kaeo means ‘crystal, glass, diamond.’
Wong means ‘lineage, family and dynasty’ in Thai, and Kham means ‘gold.’
Wong means ‘lineage, family and dynasty’ in Thai, and sawat means ‘happiness.’
Wong means ‘lineage, family and dynasty’ in Thai, and suwan means ‘gold.’
In Thai, Wong means ‘lineage, family, and dynasty,’ and Yai means ‘big, large or great.’
Wong means ‘lineage, family and dynasty’ in Thai, and chai means ‘victory.’
This Chinese surname represents drawing a ‘bow’ or an ‘archer.’
The process of changing the last name in Thailand is not complicated, and Thai laws have made it possible and even easy to do it multiple times. The convention of retaining nicknames assigned after birth stands till today. Names have great significance in Thailand and are said to impact a person’s whole future. However, corruption of speech, regional accents, translation, and conscientious name changes cause the evolution of surnames over time. The variety of spellings in surnames reflect pronunciation differences between regions or maybe the result of ignorance, misunderstanding, or even deliberate remotivation.