Icelandic last names are as unique as their geographical location. In Iceland, you can find volcanoes and glaciers standing on the same land. It should also be noted that most Icelanders do not have their hereditary family names as this country follows the Old Norse tradition of carrying their matronymic and patronymic names. It means they use the names of either their mother or father as their surname. Another interesting fact about these names is gender-specific suffixes, -son for sons and -dóttir for daughters. For example, if a man named Karl Sigþór has a son, his surname will be Karlsson, and his daughter would have the surname Karlsdóttir. However, recently, a gender-neutral suffix termed ‘bur,’ which means “offspring,” has been introduced in the country (1). Icelandic surnames do not give away much about their roots or origins, but they provide a sneak peek into the country’s rich history. Read on for a list of the most common Icelandic surnames and their meanings.
Common Icelandic Surnames Or Last Names
Composed of Norse elements agi and egg, meaning “terror” and “edge of the sword,” Agnarsson means “son of Agnar” or “son of a warrior.”
It means “Albert’s son.” The name Albert is derived from the German names Adalbert and Adelbert, which mean “noble” and “bright.”
The patronymic last name means “daughter of Alexander.” The name Alexander derives from the Greek name Alexandros, meaning “defender of men.”
Almr means “Elm” and is of Old Norse origin. It is the last name suited for most Scandinavian countries due to its scenic beauty brought by Elm trees.
Ander is equivalent to the English name Andrew, which means “manly.” Andersen means “son of Anders.”
The name means “daughter of Anna.” It is a Hebrew name meaning “grace.”
This last name originated from Latin Ara, meaning “sky’s platform.” The Icelandic version of this name refers to the “female offspring of Ara.”
The matronymic surname, meaning “son of Ara,” is composed of the Latin word Ara, which means “altar of the sky.”
The name Araujo is topographic in nature and has originated in Portugal and Galicia. It has its roots in the Latin word “Araujo,” which refers to a “climbing plant.” The name is not common among Icelandic natives.
The name Ármann derived from Old German elements harjazand mann, meaning “warrior.” With the suffix, it means son of Ármann.
Árna in Old Norse means “eagle.” In Norse mythology, Odin was often compared to an eagle, giving this name significance. The last name with its suffixes means “daughter of Árna.”
The name Árnason means “son of Árna.”
It means “daughter of Aron.” The name Aron or Aaron of Hebrew origin refers to “the strength of a mountain.”
Derived from the Old Norse element Ásgeirr, the root word of this name Ásgeir means “spear-God.” This name means “daughter or son of Ásgeir.”
It means “Ásgeir’s son.” Ásgeir is also inspired from the Latinized name Ansgarius.
Ásmund is a Scandinavian origin name and it means “God is my protector.” The addition of the suffix -son refers to the “descendent of Ásmund.”
Atlas is a Nordic name that means “wild.” The Icelandic addition of the suffix to this first name gives it a meaning “son of Atlas.”
Baldwin or Baldvin is a name of Anglo-Saxon and Old German origin, meaning “brave.” The name Baldvinsson is the Icelandic last name given to the “successor of Baldvin.”
It means “daughter of Baltasar.” The name Baltasar refers to one of the three wise men, “the protector of the king.”
Derived from the Old Norse element bekkr, the last name Beck means “brook.” It is similar to the English name Becker and is also a common name in Germany and Denmark.
It refers to “the daughter of Birgis.” The name Birgis is said to have English and Old French origins and means “a freeman of a fortified town.”
It means “the son of Birgis.”
A common Icelandic name Björn refers to the animal “bear.” This last name means “daughter of Björn.”
The name Björnsson means “son of bear.”
It is a common Icelandic name that also spread through England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. It is a topographical name originating from Blöndudalur, located in Húnaþing.
The name Briem is said to be a pseudo-foreign name in Icelandic as it resembles Danish and German names. It is based on the estate of Brjámslækur in Westfjordsf rom where the first Briem family originated.
It means “Brynjar’s son.” The last name composed of Nordic elements Brynja plus Harjar means “the protection of our leader.”
The Old Norse name Bui means “dweller.” Itis an uncommon, traditional Icelandic name, and could be used by families that aren’t native to the lands.
Daníel is a Hebrew origin name that means “God is my judge.” As an Icelandic last name, it means “offspring of Daníel.”
In Old Norse and Scandinavian, Egil means “edge of a sword.” This name means “son of Egil.”
The masculine last name has Old Norse origins and it means “daughter of Einar.” It is composed of elements einand nar, meaning “one warrior.”
It means “son of Einar.” The root name Einar has similar roots to another Norse word einherjar. In Norse mythology, einherjar was an honorary word that was titled to those who have died in battles and who would ascend to Valhalla, the heaven of warriors.
Elías is a Biblical name, meaning “the Lord is my God.” Elíasdóttir, in its Icelandic form refers to the “heiress of Elías.”
Of Latin origin, the name Emil means “eager.” This Icelandic last name version of this name means “daughter of Emil.”
The name refers to the “daughter of Erling.” It is of Scandinavian origin, with Erling, which means “heir of the clan chief.”
Originating from the Old Norse elements, awiō, meaning island, and ulfr meaning wolf—Eyjólfsdóttir means “the island of Wolves.” With the addition of the Icelandic suffix, this first name becomes the last name, meaning “daughter of Eyjólfsdóttir.’
Geir in Norway and Iceland means “spear.” Geirsson, with its suffix refers to the “descendant of Geir.”
It means”daughter or son of Gísla.” The name Gísla means “pledge.”
The name means “son of the pledged or Gísla.”
An uncommon last name to Iceland, Gray is an English origin name. It refers to the “gray color.”
Gröndal is a topographical Icelandic name consisting of elements Grön meaning “green” and dal meaning “valley.” It also has Danish origins. Jónsson.
It means “daughter of Guðjón.” The name Guðjón is a combination of two Old Norse words, gud meaning “God” and jon meaning “John.”
The name means “son of Guðjón.”
Gudmundur means “the protection of God.” The name is taken by the “daughter of Gudmundur.”
It means “daughter of Guðmund.“The word Guðmund or Gudmund is of Old Norse origin. It refers to “protection of God”. This popular Icelandic name also has Danish and Swedish variants.
The name means “son of Guðmund.”
In Icelandic, the name means “daughter of Guðrún,” which means “God’s secret lore.”
Gunnar is an Old Norse name for “warriors” and represents “victory.” It has also been used to refer to “Vikings.” The suffix word dóttir makes it mean “daughter Gunnar.”
The suffix -son is added to Gunnar to refer to his son in Icelandic.
The Icelandic last name Hall is a modern take on the Old Norse name Hallur, which means a rock.
It means “daughter of Halldór.”The root word hallrin Old Norse, refers to a “flat rock or stone.” It is also derived from another Old Norse word Hallórr, meaning “Thor’s rock.”
It is combined with the common Icelandic suffix ‘son,’ and the name means “son of Halldór.”
Originating in Danish, Hansen means “son of Hans.” The name Hans also has German origins and it means “God is gracious.”
The root word of this surname Harald is of Old Norse origin and means “powerful or highest leader.” This patronymic surname means “daughter of Harald.”
It means “son of Harald.”
It is a habitational Icelandic surname, meaning “daughter of Hörður.” It refers to someone who hails from the Hǫrðaland, a place in Norway.
It means “son of Harðard.”
The name is of Old Norse origin and composed of the first name Hjalmer, meaning “army’s helmet.” As a last name, it means “daughter of Hjalmer.”
It means “daughter of Hauk.”
It is derived from the Old Norse word haukr which means “hawk.” The name means “son of Hauk.”
The patronymic name, Haukurdóttir means “daughter of Haukur.” It means “hawker.”
The Icelandic last name means “son of Heimer.” The name Heimer is of North German origin and is derived from the word Heibert meaning “a bright home.”
Having originated from Scandinavian and Old German regions, the feminine last name means “Helga’s daughter.”
It means “son of Helga.” Helga is common in Nordic countries and it means “holy.”
The root name Hilmar is derived from the North German and Dutch name Hildmer, which means “a famous battle.” It is also inspired by the Middle High German topographic word Hillmeier, meaning “living-near water hole.”
It means “son of Ingimar.” In Old Danish and Icelandic origin, the root name Ingimar means “the name of God.”
In Old Norse, Ingolfr means “Ing’s wolf.” Ing or Yngvi is the God of beauty and fertility according to both German and Norse mythology. The last name inspired by it means “Son of Ingolfr.”
It is a patronymic Icelandic last name meaning “daughter of Jensdóttir.” The name Jens means “God is gracious” and has Danish and Scandinavian origins.
It means “Jóhannes’ daughter.” Jóhannes is the medieval Latin version of the common name John. It means “God is gracious.”
The addition of the suffix -son to Jóhannes refers to “son of Jóhannes.”
The common patronymic Norweigan and Scandinavian last name means “daughter of Jóhan.”
It is the Icelandic variant of the Hebrew name John, referring to the “son of Jóhan,” which means “noble” and “blessed.”
Jón is the Icelandic version of the English name John, and it means “graced by God.” The name means “the daughter of Jón.”
The suffix -dóttir gives it the meaning “daughter of John.”
Jón is the Icelandic version of the Biblical name, John, meaning, “graced by God.” The common last name means “son of Jón.”
The Icelandic last name has the root name Julius, which is of Roman, Latin, and Greek origin. It means “youthful” and refers to the “heiress of Julius” with the addition of the suffix -dóttir as an Icelandic last name.
Derived from the Old Norse, Karl means “free man.” The last name in Icelandic means “daughter of Karl.”
Karlsson is an Old Norse name, meaning “son of Karl.”
In Old Norse, Kempa means “warrior.” The name also has German ancestry, with the same meaning.
Kristin is the Scandinavian variant of Christina, meaning “follower of Christ.” This name, with the added suffix, refers to “the daughter of Kristin.”
The Scandinavian last name refers to the “son of Kristin.”
The common Icelandic patronymic last name means “daughter of Kristján.”
Derived from the Latin Christianus, Kristján is a patronymic surname meaning “Christian” or “follower of Christ.” The last name Kristjánsson is the name taken by the son of Kristján.
The root word of this last name means the same as the meaning of the entire name, which is “son of Leifr.” It is because the word Leifr in Old Norse means “heir.”
The name means “Magnús’ daughter.” It means “great” and was a popular last name used by royalties.
Magnús is the Icelandic version of the Latin name Magnus. The last name means “son of Magnús.”
The Icelandic name has the root name Matthías, which is of German, Greek, and Hebrew origin. It means “gift of God,” and with an Icelandic suffix, it means “son of Matthía.”
Mikael is the Icelandic version of the Hebrew name Michael, which means “one who is like God.” This Icelandic name means “daughter of Mikael.”
Möller is the Icelandic version of the popular Danish name Moller and the English name Miller. It is a name based on the occupation, and refers to “one who grinds the grain.”
It is also another non-Icelandic name uncommon among the natives. It has originated from Italy, Portugal, and Spain. The feminine last name Moreno means “brown-haired or brown-skinned.”
Nguyen is a popular Vietnamese name that has found its way into the Icelandic last naming traditions. It refers to a “musical instrument.”
It means “daughter of Ólafur.” Olaf is a common Old Norse origin name and means “ancestral heirloom.”
This is a last name that signifies heredity. It means “son of Ólafur.”
It means “son of Ole.” The name Ole is of Danish and Norwegian origin and is derived from the name Óláfr, meaning “ancestor’s descendent.”
It means “son of Ölvir.” The Icelandic origin name Ölvir is a habitational one, as it means “olive tree.”
The name means “daughter of Óskar.” The main name Óskar means “spear of God.”
Óskar is derived from Old English. The Icelandic last name means “son of Óskar.”
The patronymic surname refers to the “son of Otto.” It means “wealth ” in Old German.
In Latin origin, Pál means “small” or “humble.” The last name means “daughter of Pál.”
With the suffix -son, this Icelandic last name refers to the “Páls’s son.”
It means “daughter of Pétur,” with the root name meaning “stone.”
Pétur is the Icelandic version of the English name Peter, which means “stone.” The last name means ‘son of Pétur.’
The patronymic Icelandic surname means “daughter of Þórður.”
The name Þórður means “beloved thunder” and is also used to refer to the “God of thunder: Thor.” The name with its suffix means ‘son of Þórður.’
Composed of two Norse elements, Þórr, and vér, thename órir means “Thor’s warrior.” The entire name means “Þórir’s son.”
It means “daughter of Þorstein.” From the Old Nordic word orstein, it means “Thor’s stone.”
The name Þorsteinsson means “son of Þorstein.”
The surname of Icelandic origin is composed of elements Röst, meaning “bird” and her, meaning “army.” The last name version means “Rastar’s son.”
It means “daughter of Ragnar.” The name Ragnar has Old Norse and German origins.
The root word of this name is Ragnar and it is made of Old Norse elements ragin, which means “counsel” and hari means “army.” This complete last name means “son of Ragnar.”
In Old Norse origins, Rafnar means “judgment or warrior.”
It means “son of Robert.” The name Robert is derived from the Old German name Hrodebert, which means “bright and famous.”
The topographical Icelandic name refers to the “cleft in a mountain.”
The name meaning “daughter of Sigurð” and it has Old Norse origins. Sigurð means “victory.”
The root word Sigurð is similar to the Old German name Sigiwart, which also means “victory.” This last name, as per Icelandic naming traditions, means “son of Sigurð.”
Sigurð meaning “victory” means “daughter of Sigurð or the warrior.”
A name of German and Hebrew origin, Sigurjóns means “victory of God.” The last name means “daughter of Sigurjóns.”
It means “son of Sigurjóns,” and is of German and Hebrew origins.
This Icelandic last name consisting of the element Smára is derived from the Norse word Smári, which means “white clover.” This last name is taken by the “daughters of Smára.”
It means “daughter of Stefan.” The name Stefan refers to “crown” in German origins.
The name Stefánsson refers to the “son of Stefán.”
It means “son of Stein.” Of German origin, Stein refers to “rock.”
The Icelandic name Strom is an arbitrary habitational name as it means “current” and refers to a person living near a “stream.” It also has Danish, German, and Swedish origins.
The patronymic name Svein is a common last name in most Norwegian countries. It means a “daughter of a young warrior, Svein”
The root word Svein means “young warrior.” By adding the suffix son, the last name refers to the progeny of Svein.
The name originated from órður, which means “beloved thunder.”
It means “son of Tómas.” The root name Thomas, of Aramaic origin, means “twins.”
The root word of this name Torfa means “school of fish,” and with the suffix, this last name means “descendent of Torfa.”
The last name is of Old Norse origin and the root word Traust derived from Norse word Tristi means “strong.” The name Traustason means “heir of Traust.”
It means “Tristan’s daughter.” Tristen is a Welsh origin name, meaning “noise of the arms.”
In Latin, Scandinavian and Scottish origins, the name means “daughter of Val.” The root word Val of this name, derived from Valerie, means “strong” and “healthy.”
The name Vídalín originated from a place in Vestur-Húnavatnssýsla, Víðidalur.
The name means “son of Vilhjálmur,” the root name is the Icelandic version of William. The name William refers to “a strong-willed warrior.”
It is an occupational name as it means “scales” and was used to refer to merchants. It is also said to be derived from another Norweigan term Voge, meaning “skillful.”
The topographical Icelandic surname means “daughter of Westfjords,” which is in the North West of Iceland.
Iceland is a beautiful country with a unique naming tradition. Their interesting surnames make them stand out and act like a portal to the country’s ancestry. Recently, there have been a few alterations in the Icelandic last names system that allows a child to have surnames of both the mother and the father. In addition, the appearance of some unisexual names can also be seen quite often. Nevertheless, the above names are as common as the new ones and are a tribute to the country’s rich heritage.
Infographic: Icelandic Last Names Or Surnames
Icelandic surnames are written differently and have a unique sound; also, most of these last names are an extension of the father or mother’s name. Here is an infographic that lists some enchanting Icelandic surnames for your perusal.