Spanish Last Names

200+ Spanish Last Names and Their Origins

Spanish is one of the liveliest languages of all, so it’s no surprise that Spanish last names are the same. Whether you’re a writer who’s creating a Hispanic character or searching for the origin of your own last name, this list of Spanish last names is sure to give you answers.

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History of Spanish Last Names

Spanish surnames began to rise around the 12th century as a way to distinguish between men with the same first name. In earlier eras, first names and last names often indicated where someone lived, who their parents were, or what trade they practiced. In this sense, names were seen as very necessary and practical. Today, surname origins are broken into four categories: patronymic & matronymic, geographical, occupational, or descriptive.

Surname Categories

Patronymic & Matronymic

The most common surnames are patronymic or matronymic meaning they stem from an individual’s father (patronymic) or mother (matronymic). Last names ending in “ez”, “az”, “iz”, and “oz” are customary in Spanish culture and that’s because these suffixes stand for “son of”. Normally these endings are associated to patronymic or matronymic names. For example, “Pedro Alvarez”, technically means Pedro, the son of Alvaro.

Geographical

Another common last name stems from the geographical landscape of where the first name bearer lived. Using the surroundings of their homestead helped others to identify where they could find a certain person. For example, if there were two Marcos, one could be named Marco Iglesias (lived near the church) and Marco Vega (lived by a large meadow). Using landmarks allowed people to distinguish two town members of the same name. Many geographical names also feature the word “de” meaning “of” or “from”. For example, “Ernesto Desoto” would mean Ernesto “of the grove” (soto).

Occupational

Occupational surnames stemmed from a person’s trade or place of work. Similar to other last names, occupational surnames helped others to distinguish between two people who have similar names. For example, if there were two Pablos, one could be Pablo Vicaro (Pablo, the vicar) and the other could be Pablo Zapatero (Pablo, the shoemaker).

Descriptive

Descriptive surnames were not as common as they stemmed from features that stood out about an individual. Often times, they were created from old pet names or nicknames an individual grew up. For example, if a person was beach blonde, they might take the last name of “Rubio”, or if they were known to be courteous, they might take the surname of “Cortes”.

History of Having Two Surnames

Traditionally, many Hispanic last names consist of two names instead of one to honor both the mother’s name and the father’s name. Having two surnames was introduced by Madrid’s Castilian kings during the Middle Ages. For many centuries, this custom was used amongst the rich but it did not become typical of commoners until around the 1800s.

Since an individual’s parents typically have two last names as well, a child’s surname is formed by combining the first part of the father’s surname and the first part of the mother’s surname. For example, if their father’s last name was “Diaz Martinez” and the mother’s last name was “Rodriguez Hernandez”, the child’s surname would become “Diaz Rodriguez”.

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Popular Spanish Last Names & Their Meanings

‘A’ Spanish Last Names

Abar: geographical name stemming from the Basque word “abar”, meaning “foliage”

Abila: habitational name rooted in word “Ávila” from old Castile meaning town or village

Acebo: geographical name meaning “holly”

Adriano: stems from the name “Adrian” meaning “dark one” in Latin or “rich” in Greek

Aguero: linked to provines of Uesca (Aragon) or Puente Agüero in Santander, both stemming from the Latin word “Aquarius” meaning “well-watered (settlement)”

Aguilar: geographical name linked to the many places named “Aguilar” which stems from the Latin word “aquilare” meaning “haunt of eagles”

Alameda: topographical name meaning “poplar grove”

Alamillo: linked to word “álamo” meaning “poplar”

Alanis: habitational name stemming from “Alanís” in Seville province

Alatorre: geographical name meaning “at the tower”

Alberto: patronymic name linked to the name “Albert”

Alcaraz: geographical name stemming from ‘Albacete’ province or could also be linked to Arabic meaning “al” (the) + “karaz” (cherry)

Alegria: stemming from the Spanish word for happy

Alejo: this name is the Spanish form of Alexis, but in Greek, this name stands for “protector of mankind”

Alemán: comes from the word for German, “alemán”

Alire: a geographical name stemming from the Basque words “ala” (pasture) + “iri” (near)

Allende: a topographical name meaning “on the other side”

Alonzo: this name stems from “Alfonso”, a name of many Spanish and Portuguese kings

Álvarez: a patronymic name meaning “son of Alvaro”

Álvaro: the meaning of this name is not clear but it derives from a Germanic, Visigothic origin

Amaya: a geographical name stemming from a popular mountain— could stem from the basque word “amai” (end)

Amor: this name comes from the Spanish word for “love” and in the past, it was used as the name for illegitimate children

Andrada: stemming from the name “Andrade”, which is a geographical name that could mean “estate of Andreas”

Angeles: this name comes from the Marian name “María de los Ángeles”

Anguiano: a habitational name stemming from Anguino in the province of Logroño

Antonio: linking to the name “Anthony” which means “priceless one” in Latin

Aquino: this name connects to the personal name provided in honor to the famous theologian St. Thomas Aquinas

Aranda: a habitational name linked to many places such as Aranda de Duero in Burgos province

Arenas: a geographical name linked to many places whose names originated from the Latin word “arena” (sand)

Armendarez: an occupational name stemming from the Latin word “armentarius” (herdsman)

Armenta: linked to the Latin word “armenta” (herds), thus becoming an occupational name for those who worked with herds or cattle or horses

Arroyo: a geographical name meaning “watercourse” or “irrigation channel”

Atienza:  a habitational name linked to a place named Atienza in Guadalajara

Avalos: a habitational name linked to the place Ábalos near the edge of Basque country

Avila: a habitational name connected to the place Ávila in old Castille

‘B’ Spanish Last Names

Badilla: a geographical name stemming from the Latin word “vado” (ford)

Bailón: this name could be a nickname for a dancer, a word for a judge (Aragonese “baile”), or be a habitational name from Bailo, a town in Uesca, Aragon

Balcazar: a form of “Baltazar” which is a personal name that stems from the Bible

Balderas: a habitational name connected to the Valderas in León province whose name originated from “valley de eras”, “eras” meaning “area” in Latin and therefore connoting a large field or piece of land

Bandera: stems from the Spanish word for “banner” or “flag” so it used to be known as a name of status

Barbero: occupational name for a barber

Bardales: a topographical name that’s the plural form of “bardal” (thorn)

Baro: a medieval personal name “Baró” meaning “free man” which was often viewed as a name of status

Baylon: variant of Bailón

Belmonte: a geographical name linked to many places named “Belmonte” meaning “beautiful mountain”

Bencomo: originating from the Canary Islands

Benito: stemming from the Latin name “Benedictus” meaning “blessed”

Bernardo: a common Spanish surname linked to Germanic name “Bernard” meaning “bern” (bear) and “(h)ard” (strong or brave)

Berra: could be linked to verb “berrar” (to scream or shout)

Botero: an occupational name for a bottler or boat owner

‘C’ Spanish Last Names

Caldera: a geographical name stemming from the word “caldera” (basin, crater, hollow)

Calderon: a geographical name linked to the word “caldera” (basin, crater, hollow)

Camarillo: could derive from the word “cámara” (chamber, room)

Camero: habitational name linked to places such as Camero Viejo and Camero Nuevo that are part of a mountainous area in the Rioja region

Candella: an occupational name for candlemaker linked to the word “candela” (candle)

Caraballo: a geographical name stemming from the word “carballo” (oak)

Carrera: occupational name linked to word “carrero” (carter)

Casas: plural form of word “casa” (house)

Castellano: a habitational name for a person from Castille

Castillo: geographical name linked to word “castillo” (castle, fortified building)

Chávez: a habitational name linked to a place in the province of Tras-os-Montes named Chaves

Che: stemming from the personal name “José”

Ciervo: stemming from “ciervo” (stag) and can be known as an occupational name for a hunter

Clemente: stemming from Latin personal name “Clemens” (merciful)

Contrera: habitational name linked to Contreras, a place in the province of Burgos

Costales: could be linked to the word “costal” (bag) and known as an occupational name

Cueva: geographical name linked to the word “cueva” (cave)

‘D’ Spanish Last Names

De Ávila: habitational name for someone from Ávila

De Jesús: patronymic surname from personal name Jesús

De la Pena: topographic name stemming from the word “peña” (rock, boulder)

De la Rosa: among women, this is known as a Marian name that translates to “of the rose”

De Toro: a habitational name for someone from Toro, a place in the Zamora province

Degollado: derived from the word “degollado” (cutthroat) which was probably used as a topographical name for someone who lived where people were hung or executed

Del Campo: a geographical name meaning “of the field”

Delgado: a descriptive surname derived from the word “delgado” (thin)

Diaz: a patronymic surname meaning derived from the personal name Didacus

Diego: the origin of this surname is widely debated

Domingo: this personal name is derived from the Latin name “Dominicus” (of the lord) and was made widely popular by a famous Spanish Saint that founded the Dominican order of friars

Duran: derived from the Latin name “Durand” (enduring one)

‘E’ Spanish Surnames

Enrique: stemming from Basque meaning, “ruler of an estate”

Escandón: derived from “escanda”, a type of wheat and thus denoting a geographical name for living near a field

Escobar: a topographical name stemming from the collective word for “escoba” (broom)

Esperanza: derived from the Spanish word “esperanza” (hope)

Esteban: the Spanish form of “Stephen” which means “crown” in Greek

Estrada: derived from the word “estrada” meaning “road” and can be a habitual name connected to places in Spain and Portugal called “Estrada”

Expósito: a common Spanish name given to a foundling as it stems from the word “expósito” meaning “exposed”

‘F’ Spanish Surnames

Fanta: this name has unexplained origins

Felix: derived from the Latin word “felicis” meaning “lucky” or “fortunate”

Fernández: a patronymic name meaning “son of Fernando”

Ferrera: a topographical name for someone living near a forge or ironworks

Florentino: stemming from the word “florentino” meaning “Florentine” which could represent a geographical surname for someone from Florence

Frontera: a geographical name derived by someone living near a borderline as it stems from the word “frontera” meaning “frontier” or “boundary”

Fuentes: could be a habitual name given to those living near a town with the same name such as Fuentes Calientes, but the word “fuentes” itself stands for the plural word “fuente” meaning “spring” or “well”

‘G’ Spanish Last Names

Gabaldón: habitational name from Gabaldón in the province of Cuenca

García: stems from a medieval personal name with uncertain origins

Gómez: derived from the medieval personal name “Gomes”

González: patronymic surname meaning “son of Gonzalo”

Gonzaga: a habitational name stemming from Mantua, Italy where a ruling family lived for centuries and their famous son had the name St. Louis Gonzaga

Gordón: habitational name from various places throughout Spain

Granada: a habitational name stemming from Granada, Spain

Guerra: derived from the word “guerra” (war)

Gutiérrez: a patronymic surname stemming from the Visigothic name “Gutierre”

‘H’ Spanish Last Names

Hernandez: a patronymic surname meaning “son of Hernando”

Hidalgo: derived from the word “hidalgo” (noblemen) although, normally a name of status was given to the servants of a nobleman as an occupational surname

Huerta: stemming from the word “huerta” (vegetable garden) and derived from various places with the name Huerta

‘J’ Spanish Surnames

Jaime: the Spanish version of the personal name “James”

Jaramillo: a habitational name stemming from places such as Jaramillo de la Fuente, located in the Burgos province

Javier: a religious name linked to the Jesuit missionary St. Francis Xavier

Jiminez: a patronymic surname meaning “son of Jimeno”

Joaquín: stems from the personal name “Joachim”

Juárez: a regional variant of the name “Suárez”

‘L’ Spanish Last Names

La Torre: a habitational name derived from the many places in Spain named “La Torre” or “Torre” with “torre” meaning “watchtower”

Lago: a topographical name for someone living near a lake (lago)

Lanzo: a descriptive surname derived from the word “lanzar” (to throw)

Leo: stems from the personal name “Leon”

López: a common Spanish patronymic surname meaning “son of Lope”

Lorenzo: derived from the Latin personal name “Laurentius”

Lovato: variant of the name “Lobato” which was a nickname meaning “wolf cub”

Lucía: derived from the Latin word “lux” meaning “light”

‘M’ Spanish Last Names

Maduro: a descriptive name stemming from the word “maduro” (ripe) which at the time meant “mature” or “sensible”

Mandes: uncertain origins

Mano: stemming from the word “mano” meaning “hand”

Manuel: a shortened form of the personal name “Emanuel”

Marco: derived from the Latin name “Marcus”

Mareno: a varient of the name “Moreno” which acted as a descriptive name for someone with dark hair

Martínez: a patronymic surname meaning “son of Martin”

Mathias: derived from the Biblical name “Matthew”

Mejía: a religious name stemming from “Messiah”

Mendoza: a habitational name stemming from various places named Mendoza which originates from Basque “mendi” (mountain) + “otz” (cold)

Montes: a topographical name for someone living near a mountain

Morales: geographical name stemming from word “moral” (mulberry)

Muñoz: derived from the personal name Muño

Murillo: a habitational name linked to various places with the name Murillo, originating from the word “muro” (wall)

‘N’ Spanish Last Names

Najarro: habitational name from Najarro located in the Cáceres province

Neri: derived from the personal name of a 16th-century Italian saint, Filippo Neri

Núñez: a patronymic surname meaning “son of Nuño”

‘O’ Spanish Last Names

Ocañas: a habitational name stemming from Ocaña in Toledo province

Olivárez: derived from the word “olivar” (olive grove)

Ortega: a habitational name tied to A Coruña province

Ortiz: a patronymic surname stemming from the Basque name “Orti”

‘P’ Spanish Last Names

Pablo: the Spanish version of the personal name “Paul”

Padilla: a topographical name derived from the word “Padilla” (frying pan, bread pan) to describe an area with a slight depression in the land

Padrón: a variant of the word “patrón” (master)

Palmero: a derivative of the word “palm”, that led to mean “palmero” (pilgrim to the Holy land)

Parilla: a geographical name stemming from the word “parra” meaning “vine bower” or “trellis”

Peña: a topographic name for someone living near a crag or cliff

Peralez: a derivative of the word “pera” (pear) thus becoming the plural form of “peral” meaning “plantation of pear trees” or “pear orchard”

Pérez: a patronymic name meaning “son of Pedro” as it also acts as a Spanish version of “Peter”

Pinto: a descriptive name meaning “colorful”

Prado: a topographical name meaning “prado” as in “meadow”

Puerta: a geographical name for a person living near the gates of a town or port

‘R’ Spanish Last Names

Ramón: originating from the Germainic name “Raymond”

Ramírez: a patronymic name meaning “son of Ramiro”

Raya: a topographical name for someone living near a “raya” (line) between two towns

Real: in Galicia and Portugal this name can be translated as “real” (royal) while in southern Spain and Catalonia, this name can be taken from the Arabic word “rạhāl” meaning “farmhouse”, “cabin”, or “rural property”

Reyes: plural for the word “rey” meaning “king” which was normally given to those who were servants to a king or royalty

Rivas: a topographical name stemming from the word “riba” (bank)

Rivera:  a geographical name linked to the word “ribera” for “bank” or “shore”

Rodríguez: a patronymic surname meaning “son of Rodrigo”

Rojas: a habitational name connected to places in Burgos or Lugo named “Rojas” which is a derivation from the word “rojo” (red)

Romero: derived from “pilgrim to Rome”

Rosas: a topographical name meaning “rosa” (rose)

Rozario: a Marian name stemming from the word “María del Rosario” meaning “Mary of the Rosary”

Rubio: a descriptive name for a person with light, blond hair

Ruiz: a patronymic name meaning “son of Ruy”

‘S’ Spanish Last Names

Sáenz: a patronymic surname with uncertain origins

Sala: stemming from the word “sala” (hall), this is an occupational surname for a person employed in a hall or manor

Salamanca: a habitational name stemming from the city Salamanca in western Spain

Salas: a plural form of the occupational name “Sala”

Salazar: a Spanish form of the Basque name “Saavedra” which is an occupational name for a person working in a main house or hall

Salvador: a Biblical name bestowed in honor of Christ meaning “savior”

Salvo: a nickname for the word “salvo” meaning “saved”

San Miguel: a habitational name linked to places named after St. Michael

Sánchez: a patronymic surname meaning “son of Sancho”

Santana: a version of the name “Santa Anna” which is a habitational name linked to places named after St. Anna

Santos: typically bestowed onto a child who is born on All Saints Day

Serrano: a derivative of the word “serra” (mountain) which denoted a person who lived near a mountain range

Sevilla: a habitational name linked to the capital of Andalusia, Spain named Sevilla

Silvera: a Castilian version of the name “Silveira” which is a topographical name meaning “woodland”

Solano: a personal name linked to a 17th-century missionary named Francisco Solano

Sosa: a topographical name linked to “sosa” (seaweed)

Sotomayor: a geographical name stemming from “souto” (grove, small wood) + maior (larger, main)

Suárez: an occupational surname for a swineherd

‘T’ Spanish Last Names

Toledo: a habitational name connected to a city in Spain named Toledo

Tórrez: a geographical name linked to the word “torre” (tower)

Treviño: a habitational name tied to places in the Burgos or Santander provinces with the same name

Trujillo: a habitational name connected to Trujillo in the Cáceres province

‘U’ Spanish Last Names

Urbano:  a descriptive name meaning “urbane” or “elegant”

Urias: a Biblical name linked to “Uriah” meaning “God is light”

‘V’ Spanish Surnames

Valdéz: a habitational name linked to the place Valdés in Málaga or Asturies

Vargas: a geographical name which colloquially stems from “varga” meaning “(thatched) hut”, “steep slope”, or “fenced pastureland which becomes waterlogged in winter”

Vasco: connoting someone who’s from País Vasco or the Basque region

Vega: a topographical name meaning “meadow”

Vela: an occupational name linked to the word “vela” (sail, watchman)

Velasquez: a patronymic last name meaning “son of Velasco”

Villanueva: a geographical name meaning “villa” (farmstead) + “nueva” (new)

Villas: a topographical name meaning “villa” (farmstead, settlement)

‘Y’ Spanish Last Names

Yáñez: a patronymic variant of the name “Juan”, therefore meaning, “son of Juan”

‘Z’ Spanish Surnames

Zacarías: a Biblical name stemming from the personal name “Zacharias”

Zapata: an occupational name for someone who worked as a shoemaker

More Cool Last Names and Their Origins

Below are more last name articles that lead a reader to discover more about their surname and family history.

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Part-time writer, full-time romantic. Future author, forever Pisces. Read more articles from Maria on Thought Catalog.

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