100 Interesting Last Names With Meanings For Your Characters

If you are trying to write interesting and relatable characters, you probably want to find interesting last names and their meanings.
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In this list you will find cool and interesting last names from a multitude of origins. This list of interesting last names will provide you with all of the last name inspiration that you could need.

Everyone probably thinks their last name ranks pretty highly on the cool meter, but some people have ultra-cool last names with incredible meanings. These include the German name Funke which means “lively; spark; irritable” and the Japanese name Watanabe, from a Samurai clan.

Many languages also simply use words of their language as last names, so any word you find that you admire in any language, you could make into a last name for a character or to take as your own surname if you are contemplating a name change. The Spanish phrase Besame meaning "kiss me" makes a great last name for a Don Juan character. City names from different countries also make cool last names, something practiced in almost every location in the world. Try Milan or Paris or Okinawa as a last name.

You can also blend words from multiple languages. This happens often in modern Thailand where many citizens from around the world  blend Thai with their native languages to create unique surnames. Many of Thailand's residents have moved from China where last names like Lee, Chen, Wong, and Li are ubiquitous. In Thailand, translations of these names are often blended with Thai or Sanskrit words to create new last names. For example, Saetang blends the Thai 'Sae' and the Chinese 'Tang' to form a new last name. Similarly, Boonya blends Sanskrit and Thai to create a last name meaning “virtue.”

Many words also serve as names. For instance, Mug or Mugg can be the last name, something from which you drink coffee or cocoa, or something you do in front a camera. Many words in the English language become names, too. Examples of this include 'land', 'felt', 'marks', 'stoops', 'pine', 'tile', 'house', and 'tray'. Most Anglican and European nations have used last names for centuries. The first surnames described where our ancestors lived, what they did for a living, and described physical or personality traits. It happened often that a head of the family would choose the word for their occupation as a surname, hence the plethora of people named Lawman/Lawson, Blacksmith, Smith, Blackwelder, Cooper, Cobbler, Fightmaster, Merchant, and Cook. They chose a last name that advertised how they made their living, knowing that they would likely have either a child who practiced the same career, or who would marry a person who did.

For more surname inspiration, take a look at these last names that start with G or these last names that start with Y.

Interesting Last Names for Characters

When naming characters, you need a descriptive, evocative name that helps build a picture of the individual in your readers’ minds. A name that describes their character as a person or their carriage or demeanor can help establish this.

1. Alastair (English Origin) meaning "individual who repels"

2. Beckett (Irish Origin) meaning “stream”; evokes connection with the playwright Samuel Beckett

3. Bugscuffle (American Origin) meaning "a crossroads where two insects fight"; a place name in Texas, USA

4. Callisto (Italian Origin) meaning "most beautiful"

5. Canter/Kanter/Kantor (German Origin) meaning “schoolmaster or a choirmaster”

6. Carson (Scottish Origin) meaning “son of marsh dwellers”

7. Carter (Scottish Origin) meaning “cart driver”; evokes connection with the former US President James “Jimmy” Carter

8. Cohen (Jewish Origin) meaning “priest”

9. Copeland (Old Norse Origin) meaning “bought land”

10. Duncan (Scottish Origin) meaning “dark warrior”

11. Easton (Scottish Origin) meaning “east facing place”

12. Finley (Scottish Origin) meaning “fair-haired hero”

13. Gibbs (Scottish Origin) meaning “son of Gibb”; evokes connection with football player Cory Gibbs, NCIS character Leroy Jethro Gibbs, and the members of The Bee Gees

14. Gibbethon (Latin Origin) meaning "a lofty place"

15. Gregorios (Latin Origin) meaning "to watch/awaken"

16. Griffin (Scottish Origin) meaning “strong lord”; also, a mythological creature

17. Godfrey (English Origin) meaning "peace; good"; evokes the idea of actor/comedian Gilbert Godfrey

18. Hader (German Origin) meaning “battle; discord; quarrel; discontentment”

19. Kittibun (Thai Origin) meaning “famous fortune”

20. Lightfoot (Native American Origin) meaning "quick runner".

21. Nadir (Indian Origin) meaning "unusual; rare"

22. Priestley (English Origin) meaning "woodland priest"

23. Rattana (Thai-Khmer Origin) meaning "gem jewel"

24. Ratanaporn (Thai Origin) meaning “crystal blessing”

25. Rossi (Italian Origin) meaning "red-haired"; evokes the idea of character David Rossi from the television show NCIS

26. Sapphirus (Latin Origin) meaning "blue gem; blue stone"

27. Sethi (Hindi Origin) meaning “head of a guild or mercantile”

28. Silvius (Latin Origin) meaning "wood; forest"

29. Sierra (Spanish Origin) meaning "mountain range"; this is a surname that is also a word, used predominantly as the name of Sierra Leone in West Africa or the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Spain

30. Shufflebottom (English Origin) meaning "spring in which to wash sheep";  this surname is less common than many others on this list, making it perfect for your characters

31. Xander (German Origin) meaning “defender of mankind.”

32. Zibia (Fantasy Origin) meaning "doe"

Interesting German Last Name Suggestions

The German language offers many interesting names with meanings that lend themselves to describing character traits or family background.

33. Abel (German Origin) meaning “noble one”

34. Aber (German Origin) meaning “illustrious”

35. Altmann (German Origin) meaning “old man”

36. Aldman (German Origin) meaning “old man”

37. Bahn (German Origin) meaning “open area”

38. Bartel (German Origin) meaning “bright rule”

39. Candler/Kandler (German Origin) meaning “potter”

40. Decker (German Origin) meaning “ceiling; roof; a carpenter or builder”

41. Denhart (German Origin) meaning “young, strong warrior”

42. Eberhardt (German Origin) meaning “tough boar”

43. Eichmann (German Origin) meaning “oak man”; one who lives near oaks

44. Eidman (German Origin) meaning “oath”

45. Eisenhauer (German Origin) meaning “iron cut”; used as an occupational name for a blacksmith

46. Fackler (German Origin) meaning “torch maker; torchbearer”

47. Fassbender (German Origin) meaning “barrel binder” used as an occupational name for a cooper

48. Faust (German Origin) meaning “fist; luck”

49. Gehr (German Origin) meaning “spear”

50. Geiss (German Origin) meaning “goat”; an occupational name for goat herder

51. Gerwig (German Origin) meaning “spear (with) battle”

52. Haber (German Origin) meaning “oats”; an occupational name for oat grower or oats seller

53. Hager (German Origin) meaning “gaunt; very thin person; a hedge; a fence”

54. Hardt (German Origin) meaning “one who lives in the woods; strong; hard”

55. Haubert/Hubert (German Origin) meaning “bright-spirited; bright-hearted”

56. Heffner/Hafner (German Origin) meaning “earthen pot”; an occupational name for a potter

57. Hiegel/Hugo (German Origin) meaning “bright-hearted; bright soul”

58. Horch (German Origin) meaning "mud; swampy land"

59. Ingman/Engmann (German Origin) meaning “narrow"; an individual living in a narrow place such as a valley

60. Jachim (German Origin) meaning “God’s judgment”

61. Jacobsohn (German Origin) meaning “God-protected”

62. Jachim (German Origin) meaning “God’s judgment”

63. Jacobsohn (German Origin) meaning “God-protected”

64. Kant (German Origin) meaning “corner; edge”; an individual who lives on the border of a town or region

65. Kaufmann (German Origin) meaning “businessman; merchant”

66. Lachmann (German Origin) meaning “lake (with) man”; typically, a person who lives on the shore of a lake or other body of water

67. Landt (German Origin) meaning “land”; also, "a person famous in a region"

68. Last (German Origin) meaning “load; burden”; an occupational name for a porter

69. Lauer (German Origin) meaning “lower”; an occupational name for a tanner

70. Liebe (German Origin) meaning “beloved; dear”

71. Loder (German Origin) meaning “an occupational name for a wool or cloth weaver”

72. Lux (German Origin) meaning “one with keen sight”

73. Nacht (German Origin) meaning “night”; an occupational name for a security guard or night watchman

74. Neuer (German Origin) meaning “newcomer in an area”

75. Nipp (German Origin) meaning “good hearing and sight; an alert individual"

76. Nix (German Origin) meaning “water sprite”

Interesting English Last Name Suggestions

Your character might bear an English last name to evoke thoughts of the staid and uppercrust.

77. Avery (English Origin) meaning “ruler of elves”

78. Cadwell (English Origin) meaning "lover of men"

79. Channing (English Origin) meaning “young wolf”

80. Cooper (English Origin) meaning “barrel maker”

81. Davis (English Origin) meaning “beloved”

82. Halifax (English Origin) meaning from the place name of the town of Halifax

83. Wolf (English/Germanic Origin) meaning “wolf”

Interesting Italian Last Names

Italian siblings happily playing together.

Give your characters cool last names of Italian origin for a romantic or mysterious personality.

84. Parrino (Sicilian Origin) meaning "a crossroads where two insects fight"; a place name in Texas, USA

86. Nespoli (Italian Origin) meaning "medlar tree"; a place name in Italy

87. Marchesi (Italian Origin) meaning "marquis"

88. Ribisi (Italian Origin) meaning is unknown, but fraternal twin actor Giovanni Ribisi and Marissa Ribisi made it famous

89. Romano (Italian Origin) meaning "from Rome, Italy"; also a tasty cheese

90. Rustici (Italian Origin) meaning "rural, rustic"

91. Sabbadin (Italian Origin) meaning "Saturday"

Sanskrit Family Name Suggestions

For cool last names, look to Sanskrit for inspiration for surnames with an ancient aura.

92. Anand (English Origin) meaning “joy”

93. Bhongam (Sanskrit Origin) meaning “lovely enlightenment tree”

94. Boonya (Sanskrit Origin) meaning “virtue”

95. Subdee (Sanskrit Origin) meaning “treasure good”

Suggested Japanese Surnames

Choosing a Japanese last name for your character provides an interesting surname choice.

96. Kido (Japanese Origin) meaning “wooden door; castle door”

97. Ohara (Japanese Origin) meaning “great plain”

98. Okamoto (Japanese Origin) meaning “one who resides at the bottom of a hill’”

99. Omori (Japanese Origin) meaning “large grove"

100. Noguchi (Japanese Origin) meaning “entrance of the field’”

Kidadl has lots of great names articles to inspire you. If you enjoyed our suggestions for interesting surnames, why not take a look at these last names beginning with S, or for something different check out these royal last names.

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Disclaimer

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