Top 100 American Last Names or Surnames With Meanings

Top 100 American Last Names or Surnames

The origin of last names in America can be attributed to the impact of the mass waves of immigration and the custom of adopting Native American last names after the civil war. American surnames can also be classified into patronymic, locative, occupational and characteristic, based on one’s physical attributes or appearance. Most common last names in the US have English, Irish and Scottish origin, as most American settlers came from these countries. However, the 2010 census revealed the popularity of Hispanic surnames and Asian surnames with the rise of the Asian American population in America. Here are some of the most popular Americal surnames.

100 Popular American Surnames Or Family Names With Meanings

The following uncommon American last names with their meanings can help you choose the best one for your newborn.

1. Alberty

With an Anglo-Saxon origin, this name means ‘noble’ or ‘bright’.

2. Alexander

This American surname originates from Native American ancestors and means ‘defender of the men’.

3. Allard

This old French surname has Germanic origin and means ‘noble’.

4. Allen

Allen has a Celtic origin which means ‘cheerful’ and ‘handsome’.

5. Anderson

Derived from the Greek name ‘Andreas’, meaning ‘manly’, it originated in the British Isles and Nordic countries.

6. Bailiff

Derived from Old English beg ‘berry’ and Leah ‘woodland clearing’, it may refer to someone who lived on the outer wall of the castle.

7. Bell

Bell is derived from a Middle English word ‘Bell’, referring to ‘a bell ringer’, ‘bell maker’ or ‘someone who lived by an actual bell’.

8. Bennett

Derived from the medieval name ‘Benedict’, Bennet originates from the Latin word ‘Benedictus’, meaning ‘blessed’.

9. Biffle

Biffle originates from the Middle High German word for ‘bull’.

10. Brooks

Brooks describes someone who lived near a brook or a stream. It originates from Old English word “’bróc’, meaning ‘stream’.

11. Brown

Originating from the Old English word ‘brun’ or Old Norse name ‘Bruni’, Brown has a Scottish, Irish or English origin.

12. Butler

This English occupational surname originated from Ireland and originally meant ‘a servant in charge of a wine cellar’.

13. Castillo

Originating from Spain, Castillo denoted someone who lived near or worked in a castle.

14. Chia

Derived from the Chinese word ‘Jia’, which is a place name, this surname refers to Chia in the Uesca province, in Spanish.

15. Christensen

Christensen is derived from the Greek Christianos, meaning ‘follower of Christ’ or ‘son of Christen’.

16. Coleman

Coleman is derived from Irish O’Colmain, O’Clumhain or Mac Colmain referring to ‘descendant of Colman’.

17. Cook

Derived from the Old English word ‘coc’ and Latin word ‘cocus’, Cook is an English occupational surname.

18. Courtland

This surname means ‘courteous’ or ‘courtly’ in Old English. It also refers to the Dutch town named Kortland, meaning ‘short land’.

19. Davis

Davis has an Old English origin, which means ‘son of David’ or ‘beloved’.

20. Diaz

Diaz is a common Hispanic surname that comes from the Latin word that means ‘days’ ‘Son of Diego’.

21. Dimick

This surname is derived from the Slovenian name Dimic, which is a nickname for ‘a gray-haired man’.

22. Dollar

Dollar can be an Americanised topographic name for someone from Dol Valley.

23. Easterlin

Easterlin is a form of the German name Osterlin that refers to ‘someone living to the east of a settlement’.

24. Edwards

Derived from the Anglo-Saxon form Eadweard, it means ‘son of Edward’ or ‘rich guard’.

25. Eubank

Derived from the Anglo-Saxon origin it refers to those living near a ridge of yew.

26. Evans

Evans has a Welsh origin, meaning ‘son of Evan’.

27. Fawn

Fawn is an English word for ‘a young deer’. This has proven to be a popular surname given to kids over the years.

28. Felch

Felch originates from the German surname, ‘Felsch’.

29. Flores

Flores is a Spanish surname which is the plural of ‘flor’ or ‘flower’.

30. Foster

This English occupational last name refers to someone who lived or worked in a forest.

31. Gagneux

Derived from the old French word Gagnier, Ganeux means ‘to farm’ or ‘cultivate’.

32. Garcia

Garcia is a Spanish form of Gerald, meaning ‘rule of the spear’ or ‘descendant or son of Garcia’.

33. Gaylord

Gaylord comes from Gaillard, meaning ‘joyful’ or ‘high-spirited’ in Old French.

34. Goleman

Derived from German Gollman, Goleman refers to ‘someone from Golm in eastern Germany’.

35. Gomez

This Hispanic surname means ‘man’.

36. Governor

Originally found in Brittany, Governor refers to ‘a member of the household of a governor’.

37. Gray

Originating from the Scottish English border region, it referred to a person with gray hair.

38. Green

This English surname commonly used to describe someone who dwelled at or near the village green or grassy ground.

39. Griffin

Griffin has an Irish origin derived from its Latinized form ‘Griffinus’ or Welsh personal name ‘Gruffudd’.

40. Harkleroad

Harkleroad is a Swiss German habitational name for Herkelrath or Herkelrath, a town in the Rhineland.

41. Harris

Originating from Britain, Harris is a derivation of Henry ‘home-ruler’ or it represents ‘son of Harry’.

42. Hayes

Hayes originates from the Gaelic polygenetic surname ‘Haodha’, the descendant of mythical Irish god Aodh (fire).

43. Hensley

Derived from the Old English, Hensley means ‘stallion’, referring to a family who was meant to succeed.

44. Hill

This topographic English surname referred to ‘someone who lived near a hill’.

45. Holt

This surname of Proto-Germanic origin means ‘a small wood or grove of trees’.

46. Hughes

Hughes has evolved from the ancient Irish name of Haodha that refers to ‘the descendant of Aodh (fire).

47. Imler

Derived from German Immler, Imler is used to denote a beekeeper.

48. Irving

Irving is an English surname for someone from Irvine in Ayrshire or the Welsh word ‘water’.

49. Jackson

Jackson has an English origin and means ‘son of Jack’.

mom with baby

50. James

Derived from Latin Jacobus, James comes from the Hebrew and means ‘heel’.

51. Jimenez

Jimenez has a Spanish origin and means ‘son of Jimenez or Simon’.

52. Johnson

This patronymic surname of English and Scottish origin means ‘son of John’.

53. Jones

Jones has a Welsh origin and means ‘son of loan’. It also means ‘Jehovah has favoured’.

54. Kelly

Derived from the Irish name O’Ceallaigh’, it means ‘descendant of war’.

55. Kim

This Korean surname means ‘gold ‘or ‘metal’.

56. Kindermann

Derived from German Kindermann, this occupational surname refers to a school teacher.

57. King

Derived from Old English cyning, King refers to a tribal leader.

58. Lakin

This African American name means ‘found treasure’.

59. Lee

Derived from Old English Leah, it means ‘a meadow’ or ‘forest clearing’.

60. Lepley

Lepley is an Americanised spelling of the South German byname for a cobbler.

61. Lewis

Derived from the Germanic name Lodovicus, Lewis means ‘renowned, famous battle’.

62. Malich

A derivative of Slovenian Malic and Croatian Malic, Malich refers to a ‘small person’.

63. Martin

Martin is derived from the Latin name Martinus, the Roman god Mars or ‘the God of war’.

64. Morales

This Hispanic surname indicates someone from Morales, the name of several Spanish towns.

65. Murphy

This Irish surname means ‘descendant of sea warrior’ or ‘strong’.

66. Myer

The German origin of Myers mean ‘the magistrate of a city or town’ or ‘son of a mayor’ in its British origin.

67. Nelson

This surname is a form of Irish name Neal derived from Gaelic word Nialli, meaning ‘champion’. It also means ‘son of Nell’.

68. Nguyen

Originating from the Chinese word ‘ruan’, this Vietnamese surname is popular in the US and means ‘a musical instrument’.

69. Ortiz

This patronymic Spanish surname means ‘son of Orton or Orta’.

70. Patterson

This surname of Scottish and Irish origin means ‘son of Patrick’.

71. Perez

This surname of Spanish origin means ‘son of Pedro’.

72. Perry

Derived from Old English pyrige, Perry refers to one who dwells by a pear tree.

73. Pershing

Derived from German Pfersching, this metonymic name refers to a grower’ or seller of peaches.

74. Phillips

Phillips has a Greek origin that means ‘friend of horses’.

75. Price

Price means ‘son of Rhys’, or ‘enthusiasm’ in Welsh.

76. Ramirez

Derived from Portuguese and Spanish origin, Ramirez means ‘son of Ramon’ or ‘wise protector’.

77. Ramos

This Hispanic surname refers to ‘someone from Ramos’.

78. Reyes

Reyes refers to someone who lived at a Rea- a piece of hard ground within a marsh.

79. Richardson

This patronymic surname with its Germanic origin means ‘powerful’ or ‘son of Richard’.

80. Ridlehoover

Derived from German word Reidelhuber, this surname refers to a farmer (Huber).

81. Rivera

This Hispanic surname was bestowed on a person who lived on a riverbank.

82. Robinson

This Old English surname means ‘son of Robin’.

83. Rogers

This English surname means ‘famous spear’ or ‘son of Roger’.

84. Sanchez

Sanchez is a Spanish surname that means ‘son of Sancto’.

85. Sanders

Sanders is derived from the Greek Alexandros and means ‘son of Alexander’or ‘defender of the people’.

86. Sauerbrey

Originating from German Sauerbr, Sauerbrey means ‘someone who made vinegar’.

87. Settlemire

Derived from German Settelmeier, Settlemire is a distinguished nickname for a tenant farmer.

88. Simmons

Simmons comes from the name Simund meaning ‘victorious protector’.

89. Smith

Derived from Anglo-Saxon occupational name Smitan, it means ‘to smite or strike’.

90. Taylor

This English occupational surname means ‘tailor’.

91. Thomas

This medieval name of Welsh and English descent means ‘son of Thomas’.

92. Thompson

This surname of English and Scottish origin means ‘son of Thom, Thomp or Thompkin’

93. Torres

This Spanish surname refers to someone who lived in or near a tower.

94. Turner

Turner refers to someone who makes items of wood, metal or bone using a lathe.

95. Van Every

Van Every refers to someone from Dutch Van Yvery in Luxembourg or Van Jeveren in Westphalia.

96. Walker

This surname of German and English origin means ‘an officer inspecting a part of a forest’.

97. Ward

This Old Gaelic surname refers to a civil guard.

98. Washington

Derived from the Old English word Wassa, Washington means ‘settlement’ or ‘hunting’.

99. Wattson

This surname of Scottish and English origin means ‘son of Watt’.

100. White

Derived from the Isle of Wight in England, White refers to a person with light hair or complexion.

The cultural diversity of American culture has led to great variations in names and naming traditions. This list of last names in USA is an Anglicised version of its origin that express creativity, personality, cultural identity and values that may influence baby name trends. So, pick one to help your little one stand out in a crowd!

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