Top 140 German Last Names or Surnames With Meanings

140 German Last Names or Surnames

It’s a universal thing. Every parent in the world, regardless of species just wants the best possible life for his or her little one (remember all those cute mother-offspring koala pictures you love on Instagram?). But animals of other species don’t necessarily require a name for identity- it is a human thing.

There can be many reasons for the name you choose- they serve beyond an objective purpose.

140 German Surnames or Family Names With Meanings

Germany has for long been called Das Land der Dichter und Denker, i.e, the land of poets and thinkers. Here we bring you the choicest list of German last names for your child. Take your pick:

1. Abel

Abel is a patronymic name which means ‘noble one’. Derived from one of those old German surnames, ‘Albrecht’.

2. Abt

This is an occupational German/Dutch surname ‘abbot’. Did you know that a famous American game researcher Clark C. Abt introduced storyline gaming to the world?

3. Ackermann

This is a High German term meaning ‘ploughman’- it symbolizes métier and fortitude through life.

4. Adami

This is a humanistic patronym from the Biblical word Adam (using the Latin genitive). It signifies earthiness

5. Adelsberger

A habitational name, it denotes somebody from Adelsberg.

6. Afflerbach

Affal’ in High German means apple and ‘bach’ means brook. As sweet as an apple, as pleasant as a brook.

7. Alig

‘Adal’ in German means ‘benevolent’- the name Alig is a form of this popular German name and has been around for centuries

8. Alpha

Alpha, a name signifying new beginnings is a Hellenization (‘Germanizing’) of the first Greek letter.

9. Altenhofen

‘Alt’ means old in German, and ‘hof’ is a farm. By the old farmstead in tranquil -this name is for your little one that loves peace.

10. Alter

Of Jewish origin, and an inflected form of the eponymous Yiddish name- the name Alter is believed to confuse the Angel of Death.

11. Appelhans

Named after “the one who procures fruit”, this name has a dialectic ring to it. ‘Hans’ is a popular name in Germany – Hans and Gretel, anybody?

12. Armbrecht

This name composed of the Old High German name Arn and irmin and signifies ‘greatness’ in life.

13. Arnhart

This German name is composed of the elements of ‘eagle’ it signifies the unwavering yearning to fly high.

14. Auge

This name is derived from the German word ‘ouge’- meaning eyes. It is for your little one with peculiar eyes.

15. Aupperle

It is a variant of the famous German name Albert which has been famous for all the right reasons – nobility, intelligence, and eminence.

16. Bach

Bach is a topographic German name – representing somebody who lives by the cool creek. Fresh and pleasant to construe.

17. Bahre

The name ‘Bahre’ represents something as fractious and robust as a bear- it is a symbol of wisdom.

18. Balk

This name is the Slavic equivalent of the Dutch name Valentinus- is symbolic of physical prowess, agility, and endurance.

19. Balsam

‘As fragrant as a Balsam’- this ornamental name is derived from the Yiddish word balsam (balm).

20. Bamberg

Bamberg is one of those royal German last names which indicate ecclesiastic power: Bambergs were princes that reigned for almost eight centuries.

21. Banker

Banker is a name that patronizes the German spirit of financial viability.

22. Banning

The name Banning traces its origins back to the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. ‘Banning’ signifies a courageous warrior, the slayer of men in battle.

23. Barck

“Barck” essentially means “dweller by the birchwood”, derived from the 7th Century old English word ‘birce’.

24. Barfuss

Barfuss means ‘the one who goes barefoot’.

25. Bartimus

This is an offshoot of the popular Aramaic-origin name Bartholomew, named after the legendary Irish apostle. Let your child saunter amongst the kindred spirits with this name.

26. Bath

While the English version is symbolic of the legendary European city of Bath, the German version signifies the element Badu which stands for battle.

27. Bauknecht

Originally meaning ‘farmhand’ in German, this name signifies versatility, dexterity, and physical suppleness. It is an exotic-sounding name that will turn many heads.

28. Baumer

‘Baumer’ implies border in German. He is one that guards the border and heaves the spirit of his land in his bosom. ‘Baum’ is also a German nickname for somebody particularly tall.

29. Behle

Behle, a variant of the name ‘Behlen’ is a metronymic name that traces its roots to the Biblical character Elisabeth.

30. Bernstein

“The bear’s stone” or “the burst stone”- this name alludes to amber, known for its longevity.

31. Betzner

This name is common in the German Rhineland which means ‘meadow’. It can also be considered a variant of the Czech word pecnář.

32. Buchholz

‘Buchholz’ is derived from bouche meaning “beech” and Holz, meaning “wood”.

33. Crecelius

Crecelius alludes to the Greek wrestler Pankratios. A name considered to be an epithet of Christ himself.

34. Dahle

A variant of Dahl, this name means “valley”. It was originally derived from the Old Norse word dair.

35. Dietrich

The name ‘Dietrich’ is another form of ‘Theodorice’.

36. Dessauer

Dessauer is an ‘industrious’, elite name, dating back to the Saxony-Asphalt regime in Germany.

37. Dillinger

It is derived from the Old English era name Dylla, associated with ‘a hill slope’. Also remember Ed Dillinger, that enigmatic villain from Tron?

38. Dombrow

Dombrow signifies “brightness”. Let your child be the adorable goofball of glee.

39. Dunst

Dunst symbolizes “haze” in the High German sense.

40. Eben

This patronymic name of Hebrew origin means “stone of help”.

41. Eckelman

The Eckelman(s) was an upper-class German-American family that rose to prominence in the 1880s.

42. Edler

Also of variants “Edle”, “Edlem”, Edlen”, this name comes from the German adjective meaning “noble person”.

43. Eichel

Eichel in German means “acorn”. Ah, the acorn- Ice Age.

44. Eilberts

An ancient Germanic name, Eilberts signifies royalty. Other forms of the name are ‘Achard’ (Old Norman) and Eckhart.

45. Eisenhardt

Eisenhardt is a name composed of the elements isen (iron), hard (signifying hardiness, bravery, physical strength).

46. Enders

The German word ender means ‘very rare’.

47. Engel

This Germanic name is composed of elements of angil (the name of a prominent tribe) and beraht (meaning bright). Saint Engelbert was a 13th-century archbishop.

48. Esser

An occupational name- meaning ‘carmaker’- symbolizing agility and productiveness.

49. Erxleben

Erxleben makes for the perfect rustic name.

50. Everhart

It is the German variant of the English name Everett.

51. Fabrizius

A variant of Fabricius, which is derived from the Latin “Faber” meaning ingenious.

52. Faerber

The German word for “counsel”.

53. Fahle

Fahle is the German word for “striking”.

54. Fassbender

A variant of the German word “Fassbinder” which means cooper. Michael Fassbender, yes.

55. Faust

Derived from the German word for fist or the Latin Faustus– refers to a strong person.

56. Fink

Or, “Finch”- meaning a dynamic and lively person.

57. Fitz

An Anglo-Norman word meaning “the offspring”.

58. Frei

Means “free” in German- an outlier that is unlike anybody.

59. Gabe

This refers to the Hebrew name Gabriel which evokes God’s strength.

60. Ganschow

This is one of those common German last names where a ward is identified by the region of Germany he is from, here, Mecklenburg.

61. Garthe

In Archaic German, “Garthe” means an open yard or garden.

62. Garven

The German version of the English name Garvin, “Garven” means “one who wields the spear”.

63. Geiger

Derived from the word giga meaning fiddle, it is also a famous scientist’s name.

64. Geiss

Geiz means goat in German, somebody who is into farming.

65. Geller

An occupational surname for a “shrill town crier”. We also know two famous New Yorkers who have this surname.

66. Glock

From the Celtic word glocka, a topographic name for somebody who lives by the Church.

67. Gottschalk

Western Ashkenazic word for “servant of God”- with Jewish roots.

68. Guth

In the medieval period, this was a status name for a vassal or somebody of noble birth.

69. Haagen

One of those popular german surnames, it is derived from the Old Norse word Hakon meaning “family”.

70. Halderman

Halder means “slope” in High German. Off to the lofts!

71. Hauth

Of Anglo-Saxon origin, one of the imperial German family names- it means “heath”, land with peaty humus.

72. Hehl

A name implying “secret” (from Hele, meaning concealed or remote). Shhh, that’s all we can tell you!

73. Heinrich

Again an Ashkenazic name, Heinrich has ‘haim’ (home) and ‘ric’ (power) elements.

74. Hilde

Hild was a Nordic-German Valkyrie who conveyed fallen warriors to Valhalla- Warfare is called “Hild’s Game” in Germany.

75. Hurst

A topographic High German name meaning ‘woodland’ or ‘thicket’.

76. Jenner

In Hebrew, Jenner means “God’s Grace”.

77. Kalmer

A family surname from the Thuringian (Eastern) German dialect meaning “yellowhammer” or “Goldammer”.

78. Kelting

Kelting is North German dialect means “field”.

79. Knick

A metonymic occupational name for someone in a knick (hedge, or boundary). Your child can be the grass-angel!

80. Lenz

Lenz is a habitational name, denoting somebody born in the Spring season. Don’t we all love the blooms?

81. Majer

A toponymic name for somebody from Machern in Germany means “major”.

82. Mandel

Mandel means “almond-scented” in German.

83. Margraf

This name comes from the German word ‘margrave’ which signifies “a royal judge”.

84. Michels

German variation of the English “Michael”.

85. Neubarth

The German epithet for a settler that is new- Niu(we) ‘new’ (ge)būre ‘resident’.

86. Nipp

Derived from the High German word that literally means “keen eyesight and hearing”. Your child is a paragon of alertness and discernment.

87. Nix

Nix is the Middle High German term for ‘water sprite- bring out the water-bender!

88. Obermann

It’s the toponymic name for someone upper-class: ober means ‘upper’ and mann is ‘man’.

89. Odenwald

An unusual, enchanting name: it signifies somebody hailing from the mountainside. Don’t we all love the ingenious beauty that mountains have bequeathed earth with?

90. Oertel

The pet form of the German names Ortolf or Ortwin.

91. Olle

Another form of the German name Euler. Euler was one of the greatest mathematicians that ever lived.

92. Panther

A contracted form of Pfander- a distinguished sign of the leopard.

93. Pastorius

It is the Latinized humanistic form of Schafer, meaning ‘shepherd’.

94. Pflug

This occupational German name denotes a ploughman- a symbol of strength and edifice.

95. Radner

The shortened version of ‘Rademacher’, it means wheelmaker or wheelwright.

96. Rahman

The German variant of ‘Rahmann’ deriving from rade meaning ‘a clearing amidst the forest’: a revelation, a light amidst the sombre of the world.

97. Reddix

The Latinized form of ‘Rettig’ or ‘Reddick’- denoting blazon, fieriness in any task he gets his hands on.

98. Rink

The High German word for ‘buckle’- clasp ‘em tight!

99. Saal

Saal is the High German word for ‘a large chamber’ or ‘auditorium’: ‘tis for the large-hearted!

100. Sage

The habitational name for people from Oldenburg. ‘Sege’ means reed or sedge- a stalk of astuteness and perception.

101. Sandel

‘Sandel’ is a popular German-American surname, meaning “the guardian of sand”.

102. Schalk

The court jester or the knave was called ‘Schalk’ in Old Germany.

103. Scheider

Scheider signifies somebody that helps those in need. Let your child stand for the benevolence only human beings can be proud of!

104. Schlei

‘Schlei’ is German for fisherman. Bring out the aquatic!

105. Schmidt

A hard-working, expert blacksmith. Isn’t your tiny tot the (cute) quintessence of astute skill?

106. Semachiah

It is a reference to the eponymous Biblical character.

107. Stadler

This name symbolizes tardiness and vivacity.

108. Stahr

Stahr makes for an upper class, complex, name that your child will surely be proud of.

109. Stauffacher

A child as guileless as the river: derived from Stoufahe, meaning ‘river’.

110. Stavinoha

This name was very popular in the Middle Ages, originating from the Slavs.

111. Sterling

In Medival Germany, Sterling was the name of a coin.

112. Stern

Of Ashkenazic origin, Stern is an ornamental Jewishname referring to a star.

113. Stiller

Signifies an individual of calmness and composure.

114. Stophel

The reduced German form of the English name Christopher.

115. Stroh

A name from High German word strō, one with straw-coloured hair.

116. Supple

Archaic German for ‘cooking soup or broth’. The sumptuousness of this name will always be ineffaceable.

117. Sulzer

A topographic German name for brine.

118. Sussman

Sussman is ‘a sweet man!’ Literally.

119. Synder

From ‘Sunder’, meaning ‘wooded area of land’; can also imply distinctiveness.

120. Tannenbaum

The German word for a fir or pine tree.

121. Taucher

The South German dialectic name for Dauch- a wetland/swamp.

122. Teller

The Jewish occupational name for a market official. Yiddish for ‘a plate’.

123. Tess

The German word for “the essence of something”.

124. Toelke

This name is a variant of Tolk, an Old Slavic name meaning ‘to soothe’.

125. Trester

The Geman word relating to fermentation or brewing of beer.

126. Tripp

It comes from trippe, the German word for wooden patterns or cogs.

127. Ufer

The name originates from High German, meaning ‘water shore’.

128. Uhlhorn

The toponymic name for someone living by the Hunte river.

129. Ulrich

Derived from the Archaic German name Oldaric, it symbolizes power and prosperity.

130. Unruh

The name for your restless, hyperactive baby! From the word Unrouwe (‘unrest’).

131. Utzig

A patronymic German name for the Utz region dweller.

132. Vasel

‘Vasel’ means ‘one of several offsprings’.

133. Velte

Or ‘Velten’, or ‘Valentine’.

134. Viel

‘Vil’ means quagmire in High German. A toponymic name.

135. Voelker

This is a combination of the German words for army or folk. Signifies the ‘people’s guardian’.

136. Voigt

Voigt or Voight is a German surname that means ‘steward’ or ‘manager or overseer of a household’ or ‘bailiff’.

137. Walberg

A variant of ‘Walhberg’. Means ‘mountain’ in High German.

138. Wirth

‘Wirth’ is the German name for one who takes care of the household.

139. Wolff

Wolff is a German surname derived from the personal name ‘Wolfgang’ that was common in Germany during the medieval times. ‘Wolfgang’ is a combination of the German words ‘Wolf’ referring to the canine animal, and ‘ganc’, meaning battle.

140. Zipf

‘Pont’, ‘tip’, or ‘corner’- on point for your child to be the go-getter!

Dale Carnegie said, “A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” – and we couldn’t agree more.

The name you bestow upon your little one shall shape his/her identity for life, dictate their environment- starting from the way they’re treated at pre-school to the power they command at work.

Zero in on the best German-surname for your child.

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