From the Dutch title jonkheer
meaning "young lord"
. It was originally a medieval noble designation (not an actual title) for a young nobleman.
in German, from Middle High German junc
From Middle High German keiser
, originally a nickname applied to someone who acted kingly. The title ultimately derives from the Roman name CAESAR
Occupational name meaning "merchant, shopkeeper"
in Hungarian, of German origin.
KAPPEL German, Dutch
Name for a person who lived near or worked at a chapel, ultimately from Late Latin cappella
, a diminutive of cappa
"cape", arising from the holy relic of the torn cape of Saint Martin
, which was kept in small churches.
KAUR Indian (Sikh)
, ultimately from Sanskrit कुमारी (kumari)
meaning "girl". In 1699 Guru Gobind Singh gave all his Sikh female followers the surname Kaur
and all males Singh
. In many instances, it is also used as a middle name with the family name serving as the surname.
KAY (2) English
Derived from Old French kay
meaning "wharf, quay"
, indicating one who lived near or worked on a wharf.
From a nickname meaning "curly"
, describing a person with curly hair.
Derived from Middle English kempe
meaning "champion, warrior"
From Scots kerr
meaning "rough wet ground"
, ultimately from Old Norse kjarr
Korean form of JIN
, from Sino-Korean 金 (gim)
. This is the most popular surname in Korea.
From Old English cyning "king"
, originally a nickname for someone who either acted in a kingly manner or who worked for or was otherwise associated with a king.
From northern Middle English kirk "church"
, from Old Norse kirkja
(cognate of CHURCH
Occupational name for a person who worked in a kitchen (of a monastery for example), derived from Old English cycene
, ultimately from Latin coquina
KLEIN German, Dutch, Jewish
Means "small, little"
from German klein
or Yiddish kleyn
. A famous bearer of this name is clothes designer Calvin Klein (1942-).
Possibly from Middle Dutch cloet
meaning "lump, ball"
. In some cases this was a nickname for an oafish person. In other cases it may have been a name for someone who lived near a sign that had a globe on it.
Occupational name for a shoemaker, derived from Low German knif
meaning "shoemaker's knife"
From Old English cniht
, a tenant serving as a mounted soldier.
in German, originally belonging to a button maker or button seller.
Derived from Middle High German kol "cabbage"
in Ukrainian, a nickname for a proud person.
Means "male goat"
in Polish, probably used to denote a goatherd.
KRANZ German, Jewish
Derived from Old High German kranz
, an occupational name for a maker of wreaths or an ornamental Jewish name.
From Middle High German krus
, originally a nickname for a person with curly hair.
in Czech, ultimately from Latin crux
in Polish. The name referred to one who acted like a king or was connected in some way with a king's household.
KRON German, Swedish
From German Krone
and Swedish krona
(from Latin corona
), perhaps a nickname for one who worked in a royal household.
KRÜGER (1) German
In northern Germany an occupational name for a tavern keeper, derived from Middle Low German kroch
KRÜGER (2) German
In southern Germany an occupational name for a potter, derived from Middle High German kruoc
meaning "jug, pot"
in Czech, a nickname for someone with curly hair.
KUMAR Indian, Hindi, Marathi, Telugu, Kannada, Punjabi, Bengali, Assamese, Gujarati, Odia, Malayalam, Tamil
Means "boy, prince"
Occupational name for a maker of distaffs, from Middle High German kunkel "distaff, spindle"
, of Latin origin.
in German, ultimately from Latin curtus
Means "the chapel"
in French, most likely used to denote a person who lived by a church or a chapel.
Occupational name meaning "sentry, sentinel"
in Italian, also a locative name referring to a person who lived near a watchtower. Fiorello Laguardia (1882-1947) was the first mayor of New York of Italian origin.
Nickname for a handsome person, from French le
"the" and beau
Means "the white"
, from French blanc
"white". The name referred to a person who was pale or whose hair was blond.
LEE (1) English
Originally given to a person who lived on or near a leah
, Old English meaning "woodland, clearing"
Occupational name meaning "blacksmith"
in Old French, derived from Latin faber
Means "the mayor"
in French. It was a title given to a town official, or else a nickname for someone who was pompous and officious.
LI (1) Chinese
From Chinese 李 (lǐ)
meaning "plum, plum tree"
. This was the surname of Chinese emperors of the Tang dynasty.
From Chinese 廖 (liào)
referring to the ancient state of Liao, which was located in present-day Henan province.
From Chinese 刘 (liú)
meaning "kill, destroy"
. This was the surname of Chinese emperors of the Han dynasty.
Originally a nickname from the Welsh word llwyd
Originally a nickname for a person who had long limbs or who was tall.
From a nickname derived from a Norman French lou
and a diminutive suffix.
From Chinese 吕 (lǚ)
meaning "musical note" and also referring to the former state of Lu, which was situated in what is now Henan province.
LUND Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, English
Indicated a person who lived near a grove of trees, from Old Norse lundr
. There are towns in Sweden and Britain called Lund.
MACHADO Portuguese, Spanish
Denoted a person who made or used hatchets, derived from Spanish and Portuguese machado "hatchet"
, both from Latin marculus
Derived from Polish maj
. It may have been given in reference to the month the bearer was baptized.
From Polish malina
, originally indicating a person who lived near a raspberry patch.
in Italian, derived from Latin mancus
MANDEL German, Yiddish
in German, an occupational name for a grower or seller, or a topographic name for a person who lived near an almond tree. As a Jewish name it is ornamental.
MANN German, English
From a nickname meaning "man"
. This may have originally been given in order to distinguish the bearer from a younger person with the same name.
From the Italian title marchese
. It was probably a nickname for a person who behaved like a marquis or worked in the household of a marquis.
Derived from Middle English mareschal "marshal"
, ultimately from Germanic marah
"horse" and scalc
"servant". It originally referred to someone who took care of horses.
MARTEL (2) French, English
Nickname for a smith, derived from Old French martel "hammer"
, ultimately from Late Latin martellus
Referred to one who churned or sold butter or buttermilk, derived from Czech máslo "butter"
Occupational name for a stoneworker or layer of bricks, from Old French masson
, ultimately of Germanic origin (akin to Old English macian
MATA Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan
From Spanish, Portuguese and Catalan mata
meaning "trees, shrubs"
, possibly from Late Latin matta
meaning "reed mat".
Occupational name meaning "wall builder"
From a nickname meaning "mouse"
, from Old High German mus
MAYER (3) English
Occupational name for a mayor, from Middle English mair
, derived via Old French from Latin maior
Occupational name for a trader in textiles, from Old French mercier
, derived from Latin merx
MERLO Italian, Spanish
, ultimately from Latin merula
. The blackbird is a symbol of a naive person.
Occupational name for a person who made knives, from Middle High German messer "knife"
METZ (1) German
Occupational name for maker of knives, from Middle High German metze "knife"
MEYER (1) German
From Middle High German meier
meaning "bailiff, administrator"
, derived from Latin maior
meaning "greater". Later it also denoted a tenant farmer. The spellings Meier
are more common in northern Germany while Maier
are more common in southern Germany.
Originally given to one who lived near a mill or who worked in a mill, from Middle English mille
From Scots and Middle English milne
(a variant of mille
) meaning "mill"
MLAKAR Slovene, Croatian
Referred to someone who lived near a pool, derived from South Slavic mlaka
meaning "pool, puddle"
MONDAY (2) English
Denoted a person for whom this was a significant day, often the day they would pay their feudal fees.
in Italian, indicating a person who lived on or near one.
MOORE (1) English
Originally indicated a person who lived on a moor, from Middle English mor
meaning "open land, bog"
MOORE (3) English
Nickname for a person of dark complexion, from Old French more
, Latin maurus
, meaning "Moorish"
Derived from Spanish moral
meaning "mulberry tree"
, of Latin origin.
From a diminutive of Italian mosca
, perhaps originally a nickname for an annoying person.
From Japanese 本 (moto)
meaning "base, root, origin"
. More commonly it is the final character in Japanese surnames.
Occupational name for a wall builder, from Italian murare
meaning "to wall up"
Possibly from a nickname meaning "the one who had to"
, from the past participle of the verb muset
meaning "must" (of Germanic origin).
NAGEL German, Dutch
in German and Dutch, an occupational name for a carpenter or nailsmith.
Derived from the Middle English phrase atten ash "at the ash tree"
. A famous bearer was the mathematician John Nash (1928-2015).
Nickname derived from Italian negro "black"
, used to refer to someone with dark hair or dark skin.
From Italian nero "black"
, indicating a person with a dark complexion or dark hair.
From the name of towns such as Nespoli and Nespoledo, derived from Italian nespola
meaning "medlar (tree)".
NESS English, Scottish, Norwegian
From English ness
and Norwegian nes
meaning "headland, promontory"
, of Old Norse origin, originally referring to a person who lived there.
Vietnamese form of RUAN
, from Sino-Vietnamese 阮 (nguyễn)
. This is the most common Vietnamese surname, accounting for over a third of the population.
From Sardinian nieddu
, derived from Latin niger
NOGUEIRA Portuguese, Galician
From Portuguese and Galician nogueira
meaning "walnut tree"
, from the Late Latin nucarius
, ultimately from Latin nux
NORRIS (1) English, Scottish
Means "from the north"
from Old French norreis
. It either denoted someone who originated in the north or someone who lived in the northern part of a settlement.
Occupational name for a clerk, derived from Latin notarius
From Middle High German oem
meaning "maternal uncle"
in Hungarian, from old Slavic volhu
"Romance-speaker" (of Germanic origin).
in Hungarian, from old Slavic volhu
"Romance-speaker" (of Germanic origin).
Means "olive tree"
in Portuguese, ultimately from Latin oliva
. It indicated a person who lived near or worked with olive trees.
Means "elm tree"
in Spanish, ultimately from Latin ulmus
. The name originally indicated a person who lived near such a tree.
From Catalan or
, originally a nickname for a person with blond hair.
From a nickname meaning "little bear"
in Italian, from Latin ursus