Greek surnames or last names came into existence in the 15th century. These names can help in identifying the ancestry of an individual. Greek surnames have different roots, origins, and histories of development. Most surnames were influenced by family names or paternal and maternal names. However, many Greek surnames have also originated from the father’s first names.
Naming Traditions In Greece
The surnames or last names in Greece are often indicators of the origin of the individual. There are many instances where the last name is modified but yet implies their origin. An example is the last name ‘Demetriou,’ which can be traced back to someone whose surname was originally ‘Demetrios.’
For women, the surnames change to a feminine version of the original masculine surname.
Greek last names also feature distinct suffixes. One can learn the place of origin and probably family history through the suffix alone. For example, ‘–akis’ refers to a person from Crete, ‘–ellis’ means the person likely came from Dodecanese islands, ‘–opoulos’ for a man coming from the Peloponnese peninsula, ‘-idis’ denotes the person is a ‘descendant of’ someone. The ‘-iadis’ suffix belongs to people from Messinia or Lakonia while ‘-oudas’ is for people from North Greece (Macedonia).
Prefixes of a surname could tell you about the origin of the person too while also telling something about a physical attribute or a profession. For instance, a surname beginning with ‘Kara’ implies that it belongs to someone in the East or Asia Minor as ‘kara’ refers to ‘black’ in the Turkish language. The prefix ‘konto’ means ‘short,’ and ‘papa’ means ‘someone who descended from priests.’ Greek surnames are thus interesting to know as they say a lot about Greek ancestry and tradition.
List Of Common And Ancient Greek Last Names
In Greek, this surname means ‘the son of Adam.’
This surname means ’eagle’ in Greek.
This is a patronymic name given to the people who likely descended from the historical figure named Agathangelos.
It is derived from the personal name Alexios and the patronymic ending poulos.
In Greek, this surname means ‘manly.’
This last name is derived from the name Andreas with a suffix, -akis. It is commonly found in the Australian Greek communities.
This name is derived from Angelos, shortened from Evangelos with the patronymic ending ‘poulos.’
This surname is a commonly used one and means ’Angel’ in Greek.
In Greek, Ariti means someone who is approachable, friendly, or generous.
Artino is a habitational name given to someone who belonged to the city of Arta.
This name is derived from the personal name Athanasios, which means ‘immortal,‘ and it has the suffix ‘ou’ from the Cypriot genitive.
This is a Greek last name derived from a Turkish word, which means ’coppersmith.’
This Greek surname originated from the greeting ‘Kalimera,’ which means ‘Good morning.’
This is another commonly used Greek surname, which refers to the color green.
It means a ‘descendant of Christ’s servant.’
A variation of the name Christophoros, which means one who is ’bearing Christ.’
It is derived from ‘Chronos’ – ‘time’ or ‘year’ in Greek.
This ancient name means the ‘descendant of John and Christ.’
This is a Greek surname, from an Italian origin. The name means ’lordly’ or ‘masterful.’
This Greek surname means ‘son of Daniel.’ Daniel itself means ‘God is my judge.’
It means ‘deacon’ in Greek. Deacon is a member of the clergy.
This Greek name means ‘diamonds’ in Greek.
Dougenis is derived from the words ‘doulos’ meaning ‘slave’ or ‘servant’ and ‘genes’ meaning ‘being born.’
Doukas is a Medieval Greek surname derived from ‘doukas’ meaning ‘duke’ or a ‘lord.’
This name comes from the Greek word Drakon, which means a ‘dragon’ or an ‘ogre.’
This is an occupational surname given to a steward or anyone who manages a property. The surname is derived from the Greek word ‘oikonomos,’ which means ‘steward.’
This is a Greek form of a personal name Filip, which means ‘friend of the horses.’
It is means ‘descendant of Frank.’
It is related to the name Frangopoulos means ‘descendant of a Frank’ in Greek.
This is a Greek surname for someone who has ‘pale blue eyes.’ The surname originates from ‘galanos,’ the Greek word for ‘pale blue’ or ‘azure.’
Gataki means ‘kitten’ in Greek.
It is an occupational Greek surname for those who work as coppersmiths.
This surname is given to people from Germany. Usually given to actual immigrants from Germany or for people who had business connections with German-speaking lands.
It means ‘wife of Georgios.’ In early modern Greece, a married woman’s surname was usually a combination of her husband’s name and the suffix ‘-aina.’
It is derived from the Greek word ‘chasapi’ that means ‘butcher.’
A Greek annotation of Hajj, which means a ‘person who has completed a pilgrimage.’
Hatzis is a modern version of the Khatzi’s, which in Greek means a ’pilgrim to Jerusalem.’ The surname is related to the Greek surname ‘Hatzi.’
This name originates from the Jordan River’s name in Hebrew. It means to ‘descend’ or ‘flow down.’
This name refers to the ‘son of Herakles.’ Herakles (also known as Hercules) means ‘glory/pride of the Goddess Hera.’
It means a ‘carter’ or ‘cart driver’ since the Greek root word for the surname is ‘Karo’ (cart). Karras is thus an occupational Greek last name.
This surname in Greek means ‘son of the monk’. It is derived from the Greek term kalogeros, which means ‘monk’ or ‘friar.’
In Greek, this word means ‘down’ or ‘below.’ This surname refers to ‘the guy who ran away.’
Katsaros is a name given to a person with curly hair in Greek. The word itself means ‘curly.’
Kazan is a reduced form of Kazandis, which means ‘people who make cauldrons.’ It is an occupational surname given to people who make cauldrons or use a cauldron for the distillation of ouzo or raki – both alcoholic beverages.
The Greek last name means ‘the color red.’
This Greek last name is derived from ‘kalogeros,’ which means monk.
This Greek last name means ‘black John.’
In Greek, Kouris means ‘someone who lived in a forest.’
It is a Greek surname, meaning ‘of the Lord.’
In Greek, Laskaris means ‘a kind of soldier.’
This surname is derived from Leon, which means ‘Lion.’
This Greek name means ‘son of Levi.’ Levi means ‘joined’ or ‘attached,’ and the word originates from Hebrew.
This surname originates from the Greek word ‘loukanika’ meaning sausages. Loukanis is an occupational surname given to a butcher or a sausage maker.
This surname comes from the Greek word ‘Lykos,’ which means wolf.
It means ‘made of stone’ or ‘stonewall.’ This surname is common in the region of Sparta in Greece.
It is derived from the Greek word ‘maniki’ meaning a ‘handle’ or a ‘sleeve.’ It is an occupational name given to people who make handles.
This Greek surname means ’son of Mark.’ Mark is an ancient name meaning ‘consecrated to the god Mars’ or the ‘god of war.’
A Greek surname of unknown origin and most common in the country of Cyprus.
This means ‘bat’ in Greek.
The name refers to the ‘son of Matthias.’ Matthias means the ‘gift of god.’
This name is derived from the Greek word, metaxi, which means ‘silk’ or ‘a person who deals in silk.’
Moralis is a Greek form of the Spanish surname ‘Morales.’ It is likely to be derived from the Spanish word ‘moreras,’ that stands for ‘mulberry trees.’
Nephus in Greek means ‘a God’s son who will also become a God.’
Nikolaou means the ‘son of Nikolaos.’ Nikolaos means ‘victory of people’ in Greek.
In Greek, ‘Nomikos’ means ‘relating to law’ or ‘legal.’
This Greek surname means ‘lover.’
It is a Greek surname derived from Otto, meaning ’wealth’ or ‘fortune.’
Pachis means ‘fat’ or ‘thick’ in Greek.
It is an ancient Greek surname meaning ‘all holy.’
Pantazis is a Greek surname which means ‘always live’ or ‘live forever.’
This ancient Greek surname refers to someone who is a ‘descendant of the Priest and Servant of Christ.’
Papamichael means the ‘son of a priest named Michael.’
This Greek surname means ’a badass man.’
Another common Greek surname meaning ’son of the Priest.’
Pappas is derived from ‘Papas,’ which means ‘Priest’ in Greek.
This Greek surname means ‘son of Pavlos.’ Pavlos is a Greek form of Paul.
This is an ancient Greek surname which means ’descendant of a Persian.’
This surname is derived from ‘Petros,’ a Greek version of Peter.
This surname originates from ‘Remigius’ a Greek name prevalent during the medieval period.
A Greek surname derived from Rosa, which means ‘the flower rose.’
This Greek surname means and is used for ‘Russian descendants.’
This Greek surname means a ‘saddler’ or a ‘saddle maker.’
It means ‘blonde’ or ‘fair-headed.’ This Greek surname has a Turkish origin.
It originates from ‘Sabbas,’ which is the Greek version of the holy ‘Sabbath.’ The word ‘Sabbath’ also refers to the day ‘Saturday.’
This surname in Greek means ‘ladder’ or ‘steps’ or ‘stairway.’
This Greek surname means ‘moonlight.’
This Greek surname means ‘descendant of a Serb.’
The surname has its origin in the Greek word ‘sidero’ that means ‘iron.’ The surname refers to a wishful phrase ‘may the child grow up to be as strong as iron.’
This surname in Greek means ‘son of Stefan.’
It is the short form of the Greek name ‘Athanasios,’ which means ‘immortal.’
This means ‘son of Theodoros.’ Theodoros is the Greek word for the phrase ‘god-given’ or ‘god’s gift.’
This Greek surname means ‘Peacock.’
It means ‘God.’
This surname is derived from ‘Vasilikos’ – the Greek word for ‘Basil.’
In Greek, ‘Voulgaros’ means ‘Bulgarian.’ Voulgaropoulos thus refers to the ‘descendant of a Bulgarian.’
In Greek, this surname means ‘buffalo.’
It means ‘swordfish.’
The Greek surname means ‘son of Yianni.’
‘Zafeiri’ is the Greek name for the gemstone ’sapphire.’ When used as a surname, it means ‘son of Zafeiris.’
‘Zika’ is derived from the wishful Greek phrase ‘na zissis’ that means ‘to live’ or ‘may he live.’
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do Greeks put their last name first?
Greek names do not mention the last name first. The first names are followed by family names (1).
2. Why do Greeks have long surnames?
Greek names use many distinct suffixes for easy identification of an individual. The addition of these suffixes may increase the length of the surname based on the length of the root word.
All Greek surnames or last names have a distinct origin and meaning related to Greek history. Unlike many other nations, Greek naming customs allow for converting surnames to a feminine version of the original masculine surname and always include different suffixes. Studying Greece and Greek mythology has long been a topic of curiosity, and learning about these Greek surnames can help you have a deeper grasp of their people and culture.
Infographic: Greek Last Names
Greek surnames are usually inspired by Greek ancestral roots and culture. The infographic below has a compilation of a few famous Greek last names along with their meanings. While some names remained unmodified, some are modified in modern times but still withhold the significance of the original.
- A guide to names and naming practices;