Grammar Guide
Miscellaneous
Last Names in Spanish

Last Names in Spanish

SpanishLastNames

Quick Answer

Ever wondered about the meaning behind some of the most common last names in Spanish? Read on to satisfy your curiosity!

Patronymics

The last names in this first list are patronymics, which are names derived from the name of a male ancestor.

  • In Spanish, last names ending in -es, -ez, -is, or -oz are often patronymics.
  • In English, names ending in -son or beginning with Fitz-, O'-, or Mc-/Mac- are patronymics.

Let's take a look at some examples of common patronymic last names in Spanish!

Last NameMeaning
Álvarez
 
Son of Alvaro
Díaz  or Díez Son of Diego
Domínguez
 
Son of Domingo
Fernández
 
Son of Fernando
Gómez
 
Son of Gomes
González
 
Son of Gonzalo
Gutiérrez
 
Son of Gutier/Gutierre
Hernández
 
Son of Hernando
López
 
Son of Lope/Lopo
Márquez
 
Son of Marco
Martínez
 
Son of Martín
Pérez
 
Son of Pedro
Ramírez
 
Son of Ramiro
Rodríguez
 
Son of Rodrigo
Ruiz
 
Son of Ruy
Sánchez
 
Son of Sancho
Suárez
 
Son of Suero
Velázquez
 
Son of Velasco/Vasco

García Guesswork

The jury's still out on the origins of the last name García . A patronymic meaning son of García (García being a name in its own right), some sources claim it comes from the Basque word for "young." Other sources claim it comes from the Basque word for "bear," while still others say it comes from the Iberian for "graceful prince." Whatever it means, this apellido  (last name) is one of the most widespread in the Spanish-speaking world.

Man and Nature

Many Spanish apellidos come from the names of objects from the natural world, such as plants, animals, or geographical features. Last names associated with man-made structures or abstract concepts are also common. Here are just a few examples.

Last NameMeaning
Arce
 
maple
Castillo
 
castle
Cruz
 
cross
Desoto
 
of the grove
Flores
 
flowers
Garza
 
heron
Guerra
 
war
Iglesias
 
churches
Luna
 
moon
Morales
 
mulberry trees
Olmos
 
elm trees
Ortega
 
sand grouse
Palacios
 
palaces
Paz
 
peace
Romero
 
rosemary
Ríos
 
rivers
Serrano
 
highland
Torres
 
towers
Vega
 
meadow

Occupations and Descriptions

Some Spanish last names come from common occupations or from physical descriptions. Here are a few examples.

Last NameMeaning
Bravo
 
brave
Cortés
 
courteous
Delgado
 
thin
Grande
 
large
Guerrero
 
warrior
Herrero
 
blacksmith
Moreno
 
dark, brown
Reyes
 
kings
Rubio
 
blond
Vicario
 
vicar
Zapatero
 
shoemaker

Habitational Last Names

Many Spanish last names are habitational, meaning they come from the names of villages, cities, states, etc. Here are some examples of habitational last names linked to a few familiar faces from the Spanish-speaking world.

Last NameOriginFamous Namesake
Almodóvar
 
Several Spanish provinces have villages/cities called Almodóvar, and this habitational last name was borrowed from these.Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar .
Bernal
 
From the Spanish for "Bernardo," there are places called Bernal in Mexico, Argentina, and Peru.Mexican actor Gael García Bernal .
Borges
 
Borrowed from settlements in the Basque Country.Argentinean author Jorge Luis Borges .
Cervantes
 
Said to come from the Latin for "servant of the Lord," there is a municipality in Galicia, Spain called Cervantes. It's a bit of a chicken-or-egg question whether the author of "Don Quijote" was named after this municipality or vice versa, but excerpts from the author's notes suggest his family was from this area.Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra .
Did this page answer your question?