From Finnish aalto
meaning "wave". A famous bearer was Finnish architect Alvar Aalto (1898-1976).
From Italian abate
meaning "abbot, priest", derived via Latin and Greek from an Aramaic word meaning "father". This was used either as a nickname or an occupational name for a worker in a priest's house.
Means "little abbot" from Italian abate
and the diminutive suffix -elli
Means "little abbot" from Italian abate
and the diminutive suffix -icchio
, from Latin -iculus
From Italian acerbo
meaning "bitter, harsh, severe".
Perhaps a nickname for a punctual or fast person, from Italian adesso
meaning "now, at this moment".
From Latin affinis
meaning "neighbouring, kindred".
From Italian agnello
meaning "lamb" (ultimately from Latin agnus
), denoting a pious or timid person.
From Latin Agnus Dei
meaning "lamb of God". This was a nickname for someone who was particularly religious or someone who wore this symbol.
From Turkish ak
"white" and soy
From Dutch allerliefste
meaning "most dearest". This name could have referred to the nature of the person or perhaps a phrase the person commonly used.
From an Italian nickname derived from allegro
meaning "quick, lively".
AQUINO Italian, Spanish
From the name of an Italian town near Rome, derived from Latin aqua
meaning "water", the home town of the 13th-century saint Thomas Aquinas. In Italy the surname is derived directly from the town's name. As a Spanish-language surname, it was sometimes bestowed by missionaries in honour of the saint as they evangelized in Spanish colonies.
Means "golden" in Hungarian. A famous bearer of the name was Hungarian poet János Arany (1817-1882).
From Italian armato
meaning "armed, armoured, equipped".
Means "strong arm" from Middle English. Tradition holds that the family is descended from Siward, an 11th-century Earl of Northumbria. Famous bearers of this name include the Americans Louis Armstrong (1901-1971), a jazz musician, and Neil Armstrong (1930-2012), an astronaut who was the first person to walk on the moon.
Means "beard" in Dutch, originally describing a person who wore a beard.
BACHCHAN Indian, Hindi
From Hindi बच्चा (bachcha)
meaning "child", a word of Persian origin. This surname was adopted by the Indian poet Harivansh Rai Srivastava (1907-2003).
From Middle High German bër
"bear" or ber
"boar". This was originally a nickname for a strong or brave person.
BAINES (2) English
From a nickname derived from Old English ban
"bones", probably for a thin person.
From Middle English bal
, Old English beall
meaning "ball". This was either a nickname for a rotund or bald person, or a topographic name for someone who lived near a ball-shaped feature.
Probably derived from a Middle English word meaning "strife", originally given to a quarrelsome person.
Meaning uncertain, possibly derived from the Germanic word baro
"man, warrior, servant".
Originally a nickname for a short person, from Latin bassus
From a nickname for a combative person. In some cases it may come from the name of English places called Battle
, so named because they were sites of battles.
BECK (3) English
From a nickname for a person with a big nose, from Middle English beke
From a Middle English version of Old French bel chiere
meaning "beautiful face". It later came to refer to a person who had a cheerful and pleasant temperament.
BELLO Spanish, Italian
Means "beautiful" in Spanish and Italian, originally a nickname for an attractive person.
From a nickname derived from Italian bello
"beautiful, fair" and uomo
Derived from Czech beran
BEST (1) English
Derived from Middle English beste
meaning "beast", an occupational name for a keeper of animals or a nickname for someone who acted like a beast. A famous bearer of this surname was soccer legend George Best (1946-2005).
From Italian bianco
meaning "white", originally given to a person who was white-haired or extremely pale.
BIEBER German, Jewish
From Middle High German biber
meaning "beaver", possibly a nickname for a hard worker.
Means "fair-haired, blond" in Italian. This name was borne by the American swimmer Matt Biondi (1965-).
From Old French bis
meaning "drab, dingy", a nickname for someone who looked drab.
Means either "black" (from Old English blæc
) or "pale" (from Old English blac
). It could refer to a person with a pale or a dark complexion, or a person who worked with black dye.
Variant of BLACK
. A famous bearer was the poet and artist William Blake (1757-1827).
Means "white" in French. The name referred to a person who was pale, or whose hair was blond.
Means "white" in Spanish. The name most likely referred to a person who was pale or had blond hair.
Means "blue" in German, most likely used to refer to a person who wore blue clothes.
From a nickname for a person with blue eyes or blue clothing.
Nickname for a wine drinker, from Old French boi
"to drink" and vin
Derived from Old French bon fils
meaning "good son".
From Old French bonne heure
meaning "good time", or "lucky".
From Middle English boneire
"kind, courteous", derived from Norman French bon aire
From northern Middle English boni
meaning "pretty, attractive".
From nickname derived from the Piedmontese dialect word borgno
meaning "one-eyed". This was the real surname of American actor Ernest Borgnine (1917-2012).
From a nickname derived from Dutch borst
Derived from an Italian nickname meaning "bull, ox".
From Old High German breit
"broad" and bart
"beard", originally a nickname for someone with a full beard.
Originally a name given to someone who was a Breton, a person from Brittany.
Originally given to a person who was a Briton (a Celt of England) or a Breton (an inhabitant of Brittany).
Derived from Old English brocc
meaning "badger", ultimately of Celtic origin.
Originally a nickname for a person who had brown hair or skin. A notable bearer is Charlie Brown from the 'Peanuts' comic strip by Charles Schulz.
From Middle High German brun
meaning "brown". It was originally a nickname for a person who had brown hair or skin.
Means "brown" in Italian, a nickname for a person with brown hair or brown clothes.
BUCKLEY (2) Irish
From Irish Ó Buachalla
meaning "descendant of Buachaill", a nickname meaning "cowherd, servant".
From a nickname for a person who acted like a bull.
Possibly a nickname derived from Middle English bole
Derived from Old French bon cuer
meaning "good heart".
From Old French burel
, diminutive of bure
, a type of woolen cloth. It may have originated as a nickname for a person who dressed in the material or as an occupational name for someone who worked with it.
From a nickname meaning "thick, stumpy", from Middle English butt
Means "hair" in Spanish, used as a nickname for a person with a large amount of hair.
Means "crooked nose" from Gaelic cam
"crooked" and sròn
From a Gaelic nickname cam béul
meaning "wry or crooked mouth". The surname was later represented in Latin documents as de bello campo
meaning "of the fair field".
CAPELLO (2) Italian
Nickname for a thin person, from Italian capello
meaning "a hair", ultimately derived from Latin capillus
From a nickname for a person with dark features, from Italian carbone
From an Italian nickname meaning "carnival", perhaps given to a festive person.
Means "close-cropped hair" in Italian, also having the secondary sense "boy, yound man".
Derived from a diminutive form of French charbon
"charcoal", a nickname for a person with black hair or a dark complexion.
From Old French castan
"chestnut tree" (Latin castanea
), a name for someone who lived near a particular chestnut tree, or possibly a nickname for someone with chestnut-coloured hair.
Russian form of CHAYKA
. A famous bearer was the Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Chaykovsky (1840-1893), with the surname commonly Romanized as Tchaikovsky
From a nickname derived from French chevalier
meaning "knight", itself from cheval
meaning "horse", ultimately from Latin caballus
Means "victory" in Khmer, from Sanskrit जय (jaya)
Means "siskin" in Czech, referring to a type of bird in the finch family.
Derived from the medieval nickname cok
which meant "rooster, cock". The nickname was commonly added to given names to create diminutives such as Hancock
From the Portuguese word for "rabbit", either a nickname or an occupational name referring to a hunter or seller of rabbits.
Nickname derived from Italian corvo
From Cornish cough
"red", indicating the original bearer had red hair.
Means "quiet, shy, coy" from Middle English coi
Derived from Italian cracchiola
, referring to a chicory-like vegetable.
Nickname for a courteous person from Old French curteis
Means "of the cross" in French. It denoted one who lived near a cross symbol or near a crossroads.
DELGADO Spanish, Portuguese
Means "thin" in Spanish and Portuguese, ultimately from Latin delicatus
meaning "delicate, tender, charming".
DEVIN (2) English
Nickname for a person who acted divinely, from Old French devin
"divine", ultimately from Latin.
DE WITTE Dutch
Means "the white" in Dutch, a nickname for a person with white hair.
Nickname for a lazy person, derived from the past participle of the Czech verb doležat
"to lie down".
DONNE Scottish, Irish
From Gaelic donn
meaning "brown", a nickname for a person with brown hair.
Means "right, straight" in French, a nickname for an upright person.
From the noble title, which was originally from Latin dux
"leader". It was an occupational surname for a person who behaved like a duke, or who worked in a duke's household.
DUNN English, Scottish, Irish
Derived from Old English dunn
"dark" or Gaelic donn
"brown", referring to hair colour or complexion.
Derived from Middle High German dunst
DURAND French, English
From Old French durant
meaning "enduring", ultimately from Latin durans
. This was a nickname for a stubborn person.
From the aristocratic title, which derives from Old English eorl
meaning "nobleman, warrior". It was either a nickname for one who acted like an earl, or an occupational name for a person employed by an earl.
From Old Norse eldr
, modern Swedish eld
, meaning "fire".
Derived from Old English ealdra
meaning "older", used to distinguish two people who had the same name.
Denoted a person who was of English heritage. It was used to distinguish people who lived in border areas (for example, near Wales or Scotland). It was also used to distinguish an Anglo-Saxon from a Norman.
Means "exposed" in Italian and denoted a child who was rescued after being abandoned by its parents.
Derived from Italian falco
"falcon". The name was used to denote a falconer or a person who resembled a falcon in some way.
Derived from Middle English feare
meaning "friend, comrade".
Means "white" in Hungarian, originally referring to a person with white hair or complexion.
Derived from Hungarian fej
meaning "head", originally a nickname applied to a stubborn person.
Means "black" in Hungarian, originally a nickname for a person with dark hair or a dark complexion.
Means "son of the king" in Anglo-Norman French, from French roi
meaning "king". This name has been bestowed upon illegitimate children of kings.
Given to a person who was a Fleming, that is a person who was from FLANDERS
in the Netherlands.
From Greek φλωρος (phloros)
meaning "greenfinch", derived from classical Greek χλωρος (chloros)
From Hungarian fodor
meaning "curly, wavy", referring to a person with curly or wavy hair.
From Middle English, ultimately from Latin fortuna
meaning "fortune, luck, chance". This was possibly a nickname for a gambler.
FOSTER (4) English
Nickname given to a person who was a foster-child or foster-parent.
From the name of the animal. It was originally a nickname for a person with red hair or a crafty person.
Referred to a person who was born free, or in other words was not a serf.
Means "free" in German, probably referring to someone outside the feudal system.
FREUD German, Jewish
Means "joy" in German, a nickname for a cheerful person. A famous bearer was the psychologist Sigmund Freud (1856-1939).
From Middle High German vriunt
, modern German Freund
From Swedish frisk
"healthy", which was derived from the Middle Low German word vrisch
"fresh, young, frisky".
From a nickname derived from Middle High German vrom
meaning "noble, honourable".
FROST English, German
From Old English and Old High German meaning "frost", a nickname for a person who had a cold personality or a white beard.
From Old English frig
(a variant of freo
) meaning "free".
From Old High German fuhs
meaning "fox". It was originally a nickname for a person with red hair.
From a nickname meaning "(sovereign) prince" in German. The word fürst
itself is derived from Old High German furisto
Derived from old French gagnon
"guard dog". The name most likely originated as a nickname for an aggressive or cruel person.
Derived from Polish gaj
meaning "grove, thicket".
GALLO Italian, Spanish
Means "rooster", ultimately from Latin gallus
. This was a nickname for a proud person.