For centuries, Gujrat, a culturally rich state in Western India, has been treating us with its unique dance forms and lip-smacking delicacies. The interesting and popular Gujarati surnames make them stand out from the rest. These last names are rooted in ethnic, topographic, and occupational backgrounds. If you wish to know more about it, delve into this list as we share a list of Gujarati last names with meanings.
List Of Gujarati Surnames Or Last Names With Meanings
Acharya, a common Gujarati surname, derives its name from ’Acarya,’ a Sanskrit word for a spiritual leader, or the ‘one who teaches conduct.’
The surname originates from a Sanskrit word that means ‘best among priests who perform Yagna.’
Ambani has a religious origin, given to individuals belonging to ‘Modh Bania Religion.’ Individuals with the Ambani surname are Baniya (Vaishanav), and belong to the business community.
Amin was a knighthood bestowed upon the Hindu Gujarati Patels by the Mughal rulers. Amin (originally the Patidar caste in Gujarat) probably had an occupational origin referring to individuals who worked as tax collectors for the Mughal Empire.
The surname is a toponymic one and refers to those who originally belonged to the Amroli region of Surat in Gujarat.
Barot was originally the name of a community that derived itself from the Bhat community. Individuals from the Barot community would usually work as genealogists (one who studies and makes a pedigree) and as bards.
The Gujarati surname ‘Choksi’ derives its name from the Gujarati word ‘Coksi,’ which means ‘assayer of gold and silver.’
The surname Chowdhury is likely a title of honor bestowed by a king to a warrior or a nobleman. Chowdhury in Sanskrit refers to ‘holder of four,’ where four probably indicated the measure of land granted by the king.
Dalal derives from the Arabic word ‘dallal’ or ‘aldilal,’ which means an ‘auctioneer.’ The surname Dalal would have been an occupational one for those who worked as traders, brokers, or merchants.
Daruwala is a composite of the Gujarati words ‘daru,’ meaning alcohol, and ‘wala,’ which means seller or maker. It was originally an occupational name for someone who produces or sells alcohol.
The surname originates from ‘dvivedi,’ a Sanskrit word referring to one who has studied and mastered two Vedas.
Desai is a frequently used Gujarati surname composed of the Sanskrit words ‘desa’ meaning country, and ‘swami’ meaning master or lord. The name Desai thus means ‘landlord.’
Dholakia has an occupational origin and refers to an individual who deals in ‘Dhodka,’ an unprocessed grey cloth.
Doshi is a common Gujarati surname, which means a ‘cloth-selling hawker.’ The surname likely would have been an occupational one.
The surname is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘gandha,’ meaning fragrance. ‘Gandhi’ refers to someone who is a seller of fragrances, that is a perfume seller.
The surname Gajjar represents a Gujarati sub-caste from the Suthar community. The Suthar community is mostly involved in the field of carpentry.
The exact meaning of the Ganjawala surname is unknown. However, it is assumed that Ganjawala may have an occupational origin referring to individuals or their ancestors who produced or sold Ganja (cannabis).
Gupta is a common Gujarati surname that derives its name from ‘Gupt,’ a Sanskrit word meaning, protected or secret.
The surname is probably derived from the word ‘Hathi,’ which means elephant. Thus, Hathiwala could mean someone who looks after or trains elephants.
It is quite a common Gujarati surname, and indicates that the person is a believer of Jainism. The word Jain comes from the Sanskrit word ‘jina,’ which means victory.
The Gujarati surname probably derives its name from the word ‘Jari/Zari,’ which refers to the shining gold and silver threads used in Indian apparel. The surname Jariwala or Zariwala probably refers to someone who produces and sells jari/zari.
Joshi derives its name from ‘Jyotisha,’ a Sanskrit word that means an ‘astrologer.’
A common surname in Gujarat, Kapadia, in Gujarati means, ‘cloth merchant.’
Kothari derives its name from the words ‘Kotha’ or ‘Kothar,’ which means treasury or godown. The surname thus refers to a treasurer.
The surname is a toponymic one, and refers to those who originally belonged to the village of Kotadiya, in Jamnagar district of Gujarat.
Kotecha is likely an occupational surname referring to a business community whose ancestors were merchants.
The surname Lakhani means ‘descendant of Lakh.’ The word ‘Lakh’ comes from ‘Laksmana,’ a Sanskrit word which means, ‘one who has auspicious marks.’ Lakhani is also a common surname among Sindhis.
Mehta comes from the Sanskrit word ‘mahita’ that means ‘great’ or ‘praised.’
The surname likely comes from the Hindustani word ‘mistri,’ which comes from the Portuguese word ‘mestre,’ meaning an expert or a master. ‘Mistri’ is used to refer to a mason or any other skilled artisan. The surname thus is an occupational one and refers to someone who comes from a family of masons or artisans.
Modi has an occupational origin, and refers to those who came from the community of ‘Bania,’ which originally consisted of merchants, traders, money-lenders, and shopkeepers.
The surname comes from the Hindustani word ‘Munim’ that refers to the head accountant at a shop, factory, or any other business establishment. The surname thus has an occupational origin.
The surname originates from a Sanskrit word that means ‘he who does meditation for entire life.’
This Gujarati surname is considered to have derived from the Hindustani word ‘panch’ meaning ‘five.’ The name Panchal likely referred to those who belonged to any of the five artisanal communities of blacksmiths, goldsmiths, coppersmiths, carpenters, and stonemasons.
The surname is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘pandit’ that means teacher or a scholar.
Parekh derives from the Sanskrit word ‘pariksaka,’ meaning an examiner. In Gujarat, the surname likely referred to those who worked as an assayer of gold, silver, and other precious items.
Patel comes from the word ‘Patlikh,’ which was a title given by the king to someone who worked as a record keeper of crops and taxes from a piece of land. The surname ‘Patlikh’ evolved into Patel to denote a village chief or the headman of a village.
It is the Gujarati word for a parrot. The surname may have been associated with those who loved parrots or someone who took care of parrots or birds, in general.
Purohit means a ‘family priest’ or a priest who always stays at the forefront of a pooja (a prayer ritual). The surname refers to those who came from a family of ‘Purohits.’
Rawal/Raval originates from the Sanskrit word ‘Raja,’ meaning king. Thus, Rawal/Raval refers to those who originally came from a family of commanders or kings.
The exact meaning of the surname is unknown. However, it is assumed that ‘Rubberwala’ probably has an occupational origin, and referred to individuals who sold or produced rubber.
The exact meaning of the surname is unknown. It is assumed the surname would have been a title for a nobleman or noblewoman. The surname is likely composed of the Gujarati words ‘sara’ meaning good and ‘bhai’ referring to a brother, man, or any other person of significance.
Sanghvi derives its name from ‘sangha,’ a Sanskrit word that means ‘assembly.’ The surname ‘Sanghvi’ likely refers to ‘someone who offers hospitality to Jain pilgrims.’
The exact meaning of the surname is unknown. It probably is a combination of the words screw and ‘wala’ meaning seller or maker. Therefore, the surname refers to someone who likely made or sold screws.
Shah derives its name from ‘sahukaar, ’a Gujarati word that means merchant, banker, or money-lender. The surname thus has an occupational origin.
It comes from the Gujarati word ‘sheth’ or ‘seth’ that means master, chief, or the head. It is an occupational surname that referred to someone who worked as a supervisor or a proprietor.
Shroff is derived from ‘seraf,’ a Gujarati word that means banker, cashier, or a money-lender. The surname thus has an occupational origin.
Thakkar likely derived from the word ‘Thakkura,’ a Middle Indo-Aryan or Sanskrit word, which means ‘God’ or ‘deity.’
Tripathi originates from ‘tripa,’ a Sanskrit word referring to the ‘one who has studied the three Vedas.’
A common Gujarati and Sindhi surname, Virani means ‘descendant of Vir.’ The word ‘Vir’ derives from the Sanskrit word ‘Vira,’ meaning a hero.
A surname comes from the Sanskrit word ‘vyasa’ meaning the ‘compiler.’ The surname would have been associated with those who worked as compilers of ancient texts.
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Frequently Asked Questions
1. How are Gujarati surnames traditionally passed down through families?
Gujarati surnames are usually passed down through different generations of the family based on the patrilineal system, which means that the father’s surname is passed on to his children.
2. Have there been any changes in the popularity or usage of Gujarati surnames over time?
Yes. The popularity and usage of Gujarati surnames have changed significantly over the period of years due to changes in social, linguistic, and cultural trends.
3. How do Gujarati surnames differ from surnames used in other parts of India?
Most communities in India use the patrilineal system for assigning surnames to children. Hence, Gujarati surnames, which follow the same system, do not differ from others.
4. What is the significance of surnames in Gujarati culture?
Surnames in Gujarat usually are assigned according to the person’s occupation or characteristics. In earlier times, surnames were used to recognize a person’s occupation or standing in society. However, in modern times, Gujarati surnames trace a family’s history.
5. What are some examples of Gujarati surnames that are also used in other parts of India?
Gujarati surnames like Chaudhari/Chaudhary, Gupta, Jain, Joshi, Kumar, and Sharma are used in other parts of India like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Punjab, Assam, Bengal, and Uttar Pradesh.
6. How do Gujarati surnames influence marriage and matchmaking in the community?
Gujarati surnames help determine the occupation and standing of the families of the prospective bride and groom. Those with similar surnames might be relatives and thus, the marriage between the same family is avoided.
7. Are there any famous Gujarati surnames that have become synonymous with a particular profession or business?
Ambani is one of the most famous surnames that has become synonymous with wealth and prosperity, thanks to the contributions of Dhirubhai Ambani, who founded the Reliance Group of Industries. Moreover, Modi has been popularized by the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. His associate, Amit Shah, also has a Gujarati surname.
8. What role do surnames play in the identity formation of Gujarati individuals and communities?
Surnames help Gujaratis identify the caste, community, place, and profession, thus forging a sense of belonging. Moreover, surnames are used to identify kinship and build a social network.
Gujaratis are best known for their success in the field of business. Many of the popular Gujarati surnames trace their roots to the occupations or businesses held by the original bearers of the surname. For example, Gandhi refers to one who deals in fragrances. Other examples are Daruwala, Doshi, Zariwala, and Screwala. Some last names such as Aacharya, Desai, Gupta, Joshi, Mehta, and Pandya are derived from Sanskrit words. Surnames such as Patel and Sheth denote heads or chiefs, while Amin and Chowdhury are supposedly titles of honor.
Infographic: Popular Gujarati Surnames Or Last Names
Most Gujarati surnames or last names have an ancestral origin, and some are derived from the Sanskrit language and have a peculiar significance. This infographic documents some well-known Gujarati last names derived from the Sanskrit language and their meanings.