100 Common Swiss Last Names Or Surnames With Meanings

Common Swiss Last Names Or Surnames With Meanings

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The Swiss surnames or last names mostly have an occupational origin, representing the profession of an individual. But some surnames are toponymic, referring to one’s geographical origin while some denote a person’s social status. It is also common to see surnames, which are shorter forms of personal names.

Swiss surnames thus have an assortment of origins. These surnames also have strong roots in Old German, Middle High German, and Swiss German languages. In this MomJunction post, we share a list of 100 popular Swiss surnames with their interesting meanings and source.

1. Ammann

A Swiss German surname, Ammann has an occupational origin, and derives from the Middle High German word ‘ambet man,’ meaning a ‘retinue man’ or retainer. Thus, Ammann may be indicative of individuals who originally worked as administrators.

2. Andros

A commonly used Swiss German surname, it is a variant of the personal name ‘Andreas,’ which comes from the Greek name ‘Andreios,’ meaning manly or masculine.

3. Brunner

It is derived from the German word ‘brunnen’ that means a fountain or a spring in German. Brunner may have been a toponymic name referring to individuals residing beside a well or a spring or a fountain.

4. Baumann

The surname comes from the Middle High German word ‘bumann’ meaning a farmer. Baumann has an early medieval German origin, and may have represented a status name for a peasant.

5. Baumgartner

Baumgartner derives its name from ‘Boumgarte,’ a Middle High German word meaning, ‘orchard.’  Thus, Baumgartner has an occupational origin, representing one who works in or owns an orchard. Baumgartner may also have a toponymic origin, representing individuals who originally lived in a place called Baumgarten, a town in Germany.

6. Bachmann

It is composed of the Middle High German words ‘bach,’ meaning ‘stream’ and ‘man’ which means, ‘man.’ Bachmann has a toponymic origin representing one who dwells by a spring or a brook.

7. Buhler (Buehler)

The name comes from the Old German word ‘buehel,’ meaning a hill. Buhler thus has a toponymic origin and likely referred to those who lived on, or adjacent, a hill.

8. Bucher

Bucher derives from the Middle High German word ‘buoche’ meaning, ‘beech tree’ along with the suffix ‘-er’ that represents an inhabitant. The surname, thus, has a toponymic origin, indicative of people who dwell by a beech tree or beech tree forest.

9. Berge/

The surname is derived from the German word ‘berg,’ meaning a mountain. It has a toponymic origin, representing individuals who dwell in the hills or mountains.

10. Bieri

This surname is derived from the personal name Pierre, which is the French form of Peter. The name Peter comes from the Greek word ‘Petros,’ meaning ‘stone.’

11. Burri

Burri was originally a nickname derived from the personal name ‘Burkhart.’ The name Burkhart is composed of the German elements ‘burg,’ meaning a fort or a castle, and ‘hart,’ meaning brave or hardy.

12. Blaser

It is derived from ‘blasaere,’ a Middle High German word which means ‘blower.’ The name is likely of an occupational origin and would have referred to a musician who played a wind instrument.

13. Brucker

It is derived from the German word ‘Brucke,’ which means a bridge. It is either a toponymic name referring to someone who lived near a bridge or an occupational name for someone who worked as a bridge-keeper.

14. Christen

Christen is derived from the Latin name ‘Christianus,’ which means ‘a Christian’ or a follower of Christ.

15. Egger

It is derived from the German word ‘eggen,’ which means to ‘harrow’ or to ‘plow.’ Egger may have been an occupational name representing a farmer or a peasant.

16. Elmer

It is a toponymic name referring to someone who originally belonged to the village of Elmer, located in the Glarus region of Switzerland.

17. Fischer

It is the German word a ‘fisher’ or a ‘fisherman.’ The name is thus an occupational one referring to someone who worked as a fisherman.

18. Frei

It is the German word for ‘free’ or ‘liberal.’ Frei may have been originally a status name to indicate a free or emancipated person in a feudal system.

19. Fricker

It is a toponymic name for someone who came from the ‘Fricktal,’ meaning the Frick valley region of Switzerland.

20. Fuchs

Fuchs is derived from the Old High German word ‘fuhs’ meaning a fox. Fuchs may have been used as a nickname for a person who was cunning, crafty, or sly. The surname may have also served as a pet name for an individual with red hair.

21. Furrer

Furrer is a toponymic Swiss surname. The surname derives from ‘Furre,’ a Swiss word meaning a ‘cleft in the ground.’

22. Fluckiger

It is derived from the Middle High German word ‘vlicken,’ meaning ‘to patch.’ It may have been an occupational surname for those who patched fabric or shoes.

23. Fankhauser

It comes from the German phrase ‘fang haus’ meaning a ‘capture house.’ The name referred to an enclosure used to keep animals captured during hunting. The name may have referred to someone who lived by a capture house or who looked after a capture house.

24. Favre

It comes from the Latin word ‘faber’ meaning a ‘smith’ or a ‘craftsman.’ The name has an occupational origin, and indicative of someone who came from a family of blacksmith or craftsmen.

25. Gerber

It is the German word for a ‘tanner.’ The name is thus an occupational one used to refer those who worked in tanning of leather.

26. Graf

It means ‘Earl’ or ‘Count’ in German. The name would have been a title to those originally came from aristocratic families. It may also have been a surname for those who served royal families.

27. Girtman

Girtman originates from ‘gurten,’ a German word meaning ‘to gird.’ Girtman thus has an occupational origin representing someone who made straps and belts.

28. Gasser

It is derived from ‘gasse,’ a German word which means ‘street’ or ‘alley.’ Gasser has a toponymic origin, representing one who lived in an alley or a side street.

29. Gisler

It is a modified form of the name Geissler. The name Gisler derives from ‘geiz,’ a Middle High German word meaning ‘goat.’ Thus, Gisler has an occupational origin representing a goatherd.

30. Haller

It is a variant of the name Halter, which comes from the Middle High German word ‘halte,’ meaning ‘pasture.’ The name is a toponymic one referring to someone who lived near or on land with large grass pastures.

31. Hofer

Hofer derives from ‘hof,’ a Middle High German word meaning ‘manor farm’ or ‘farmstead.’ The name is a toponymic one for someone who lived on a farmstead or an occupational one for someone who managed a manor farm.

32. Hofmann/Hoffman

Hoffman/Hofmann comes from the Middle High German word ‘hofman,’ meaning ‘one who manages the farm or property of another,’ thus referring to a steward.

33. Hess

Hess has a toponymic origin and referred to individuals who originally came from the region called Hesse in Germany.

34. Hug

Hug derives from the Old German word ‘hug’ that means ‘spirit’ or ‘someone with a strong heart and mind.’ The name was also likely used as a personal name.

35. Hunziker

Hunziker has a toponymic origin, representing an individual from places called Hunzikon and Huntziken in Switzerland.

36. Hauser

It is derived from ‘hus,’ a Middle High German word meaning ‘house’ along with the suffix ‘er.’ The name would have represented someone who provided shelter or protection to people. Therefore, it may have referred to a lodge or inn-keeper.

37. Hartmann

Hartmann is composed of the Middle High German words ‘hart’ meaning ‘brave’ or ‘hardy’ and ‘man’ meaning ‘man.’ The name thus means brave man and would have referred to a warrior or a brave individual.

38. Hedinger

It is a toponymic name that refers to someone who originally belonged to the place called Hedingen located in the Zurich administrative division of Switzerland.

39. Imhof/Imhoff

It comes from Middle Low German and means ‘at the manor farm.’ The name is an occupational one referring to those who worked at manor farms or a farmstead.

40. Jaggi

Jaggi derives from ‘jagen,’ a German word meaning ‘to hunt.’ The surname may have an occupational origin representing a huntsman or a hunter.

41. Keller

It is the German word for ‘cellar.’ It was an occupational name for someone who looked after a food cellar or warden who looked after the cellar of prisoners.

42. Kaufmann

Kaufmann is the German word for a trader or merchant. The name is thus an occupational one.

43. Kuntz

Kuntz is a diminutive of the word ‘Konrad,’ which means ‘bold advisor’ in Old High German. The name is an occupational one referring to those who worked as advisors or counselors.

44. Koch

It is the masculine German word for a ‘cook.’ Koch, thus, has an occupational origin, representing a cook.

45. Kohler

It originates from ‘kol,’ a Middle High German word meaning ‘charcoal.’ The name Kohler has an occupational origin, representing one who burns charcoal or the one who sells charcoal.

46. Kensinger

The Swiss German surname has a toponymic origin, referring to someone who originally belonged to a place called Kenzingen, a town in Germany.

47. Krieger

It comes from the Middle High German word ‘krieger’ that means ‘common soldier.’ The name would have likely referred to those who worked as mercenaries.

48. Kuhn

It is a German word that means ‘bold,’ ‘hardy,’ ‘daring,’ or ‘audacious.’ It was likely used as a name for someone who showed these qualities.

49. Klauser

A diminutive of the personal name, Nicholas, which comes from the Greek name Nikolaos, meaning ‘victorious people.’

50. Klausner

It is derived from the Middle High German word ‘klosenaere’ meaning a ‘hermit.’ The name would have referred to a hermit or to someone who lived at an isolated place.

51. Luthi

A Swiss German surname composed of the word ‘luti’ or ‘leute’ that means ‘people’ in German. The name would have been a nickname or personal name before turning into a surname.

52. Lehmann

Lehmann derives from ‘lehenman,’ a Middle High German word that means vassal – a feudal tenant who is granted land by a landlord in return for a fee or royalty. Thus, Lehmann may be a status name representing a feudal tenant.

53. Leuenberger

The name is a toponymic one and likely referred to those who came from a region called Lowenberg in Germany. The name may also have been a reference to people from any of the several small places called Leuenberg in Germany and Switzerland.

54. Langel

It is derived from ‘lang,’ a word meaning long or tall in German. The name would have been a nickname for someone who was tall.

55. Liechti

It comes from the Swiss German word ‘liechti’ that means a ‘clearing.’ Liechti has a topographic origin representing an individual who resides in a clearing.

56. Muller

It is derived from the Middle High German word ‘muller’ that means ‘miller’. Muller has an occupational origin and referred to those who worked as millers.

57. Meier

It comes from the Middle High German word ‘meier’ that means ‘administrator’ or ‘mayor.’ The surname is thus an occupational one.

58. Meyer

It is a variant of the Middle High German word ‘meier’ that means mayor. The name was used to refer to someone who worked as a mayor or as a bailiff/steward.

59. Moser

It originates from the word ‘mos,’ a Middle High German word for a peat bog. The name would have been a toponymic one representing anyone who resided close to a peat bog.

60. Marti

Marti originates from a nickname for the name Martin. The name Martin comes from the Roman name Martinus, which referred to someone who was a follower of the Roman God Mars.

61. Maurer

It is the German word for a ‘mason’ or a ‘wall-builder.’ The surname is an occupational one.

62. Michel

It is a variant of the name Michael, which comes from the Hebrew name ‘Mikhael,’ meaning the ‘one who is like God.’

63. Mylin

A Swiss German toponymic surname for those who originally belonged to the town of Meilin in the Zurich region of Switzerland.

64. Noser

Noser derives from the Middle High German word ‘Noss,’ meaning ‘cattle.’ Noser is thus an occupational surname representing an individual who raises cattle and other domestic animals.

65. Oberle

Oberle is derived from ‘ober,’ a Middle High German word meaning ‘upper one.’ Oberle likely has a topographic origin, representing an individual who resides at the upper end of or above a settlement.

66. Pfister

It is derived from ‘pfister,’ a Middle High German word meaning ‘baker.’ Pfister is an occupational surname.

67. Peter

Peter originates from ‘Petros,’ a Greek word that means ‘rock’ or ‘stone.’

68. Roth

The surname likely originates from ‘rot,’ a Middle High German word meaning ‘red.’ The name may have been a nickname for an individual with red hair.

69. Reif

It comes from the Middle High German word ‘reif’ that means ‘hoop’ or a ‘ribbon.’ The name is an occupational one referring to someone who worked as a ribbon-maker or a cooper.

70. Schmid

A cognate of ‘Smith,’ and an occupational surname referring to a blacksmith.

71. Schneider

It is derived from ‘schneiden,’ a German verb that means ‘to cut.’ Schneider is a surname representing a tailor or one who is merchant of garments.

72. Steiner

Steiner derives from ‘stein,’ which is the German word for a rock or stone. Steiner either has a toponymic origin referring to someone who lived on a rock or is an occupational surname for a quarry worker.

73. Seiter

It comes from the Middle High German word ‘suter,’ which means ‘shoemaker.’ The surname is thus an occupational one and refers cobblers.

74. Studer

It likely comes from the German word ‘staude’ meaning a shrub or a plant. The name is likely a toponymic one for those who originally lived along a plantation, forest, or a thicket.

75. Schweizer

It is a German word for a ‘Swiss person’ or for ‘someone from Switzerland.’ The name would have likely originated in Germany and later adopted by those in Switzerland as well.

76. Stalder

Stalder derives from ‘stalde,’ a Middle High German word meaning a steep slope or a steep path. Stalder thus has a toponymic origin representing an individual who resided on a steep slope.

77. Sutter

It comes from the Middle High German word suter,’ which means ‘to sew.’ Sutter is an occupational name for those who either worked as a tailor or as a shoemaker.

78. Sommer

It is the German word for ‘summer.’ Sommer may have been as a nickname for an individual with a warm disposition or a person somehow associated with the summer season.

79. Schuler

It means a ‘student’ in German. Schuler likely has an occupational origin representing an individual (scholar/student) undergoing training, like for becoming a priest.

80. Senn

Senn originates from ‘senne,’ a Middle High German word which means, a farmhand or one who works as a dairy farmer. Thus, Senn is an occupational surname.

81. Seiler

Seiler derives from ‘seil,’ the German word for rope. Thus, Seiler has an occupational origin representing a ropemaker.

82. Schmidt

Schmidt is a common Swiss surname that comes from the Middle High German word ‘smit’ meaning a smith. The name has an occupational origin and represents a metalworker or a blacksmith.

83. Schwarz

Schwarz originates from ‘Schwarz,’ a German word meaning ‘black.’ The name may have originally denoted someone with dark hair or complexion.

84. Schaffhauser

A Swiss German surname, Schaffhauser is a toponymic name representing an individual who originally belonged to the town of Schaffhausen situated along the Rhine river in Switzerland.

85. Saxer

Saxer is a toponymic name that denotes someone who originally belonged to the region of Saxony in Germany.

86. Siegenthaler

It is a toponymic name for those who originally belonged to the valley of Siegen in Switzerland.

87. Scheidecker

It is a toponymic surname for an individual from any of the several places named Scheideck in Switzerland and Germany.

88. Staheli

It is a variant of the name ‘Stahl,’ which comes from the Middle High German word ‘stal’ meaning ‘steel’ or ‘armor.’

89. Theiler

It is derived from the German word ‘teilen,’ meaning ‘divide’ or ‘division.’ Theiler has an occupational origin denoting a person who oversees the cloth cutting in a merchant’s shop.

90. Tanner

It is an occupational surname for someone who worked as a tanner or as a merchant of leather. The surname could also be a toponymic one referring to someone who originally belonged to the town of Tann in Germany.

91. Vogel

It is derived from ‘vogel,’ the German word for a bird. The name may have been a nickname or an occupational name for a bird-catcher.

92. Vogt

It comes from the Middle High German word ‘voget’ meaning a lawyer or a bailiff. The surname is thus an occupational one.

93. Weber

Weber derives from ‘weber,’ a Middle High German word that means ‘to weave.’ Weber, thus, has an occupational origin representing a weaver.

94. Wenger

Wenger is a toponymic name for someone from any of the several places called Weng or Wengen in Switzerland and Germany.

95. Wuethrich

It is derived from ‘wüetrich,’ a Middle High German word that means ‘tyrant.’ The name may have been a nickname for a tyrannical person.

96. Wagner

It comes from the Middle High German word ‘wagener,’ meaning a wagon-maker. The surname is thus an occupational one.

97. Zaugg

The surname Zaugg originates from ‘Zougo,’ an Old High German personal name. Zougo, in turn, may be derived from the word Old High German word ‘ziehen,’ which means ‘to pull.’

98. Zurcher

Zurcher is a toponymic surname denoting someone who originally belonged to the region of Zurich in Switzerland.

99. Zimmermann

It is a composite word made from the Middle High German words ‘zimber’ meaning timber and ‘mann’ meaning man. The surname is an occupational surname for those who worked as a carpenter.

100. Zug

It is a toponymic name for someone who came from the city of Zug in Switzerland.

Swiss surnames give us a bit of an insight into the history of the region encompassing modern-day Switzerland and Germany. Do you have some more Swiss surnames to share? Do tell us about them in the comment section below.

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