200+ Cool Last Names From Around the World
Learn more about unique last names from across the world and draw some inspiration for your next story.
What's in a name? A lot, as it turns out, particularly when it comes to the family name. These designations not only provide important information on where we're from and what culture we belong to, but they can also influence how others perceive us.
While we can't choose our own names, there are places we can go to decide on someone else's—namely, the fictional universe. Whether you're a career writer or simply enjoy creating stories in your free time, it's always good to get new ideas. Below, you'll find our original list of cool last names. Feel free to use these picks the next time you put the pen to paper.
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How to Find the Perfect Last Name for Your Fantasy Character
We all have favorites, but you just can't use the same name over and over again. Different stories contain different settings, scenarios, and characters. Certain names can cater to these points better than others. Of course, there are some other things to consider before deciding on a name. Read on to learn more.
Consider the Plot
There are a lot of things you can do with names for your story, but it's important to consider the context before you settle on a certain pick. A name can evoke certain emotions, set expectations, or even serve as a clue for the reader—especially if there's a plot twist involved. It can also help create a more immersive and believable world.
So, if your story involves a villain, you might want to stick to more foreboding options. If your main character is strong and resilient, you might choose a last name like "Steel" or "Ironwood." Funny surnames can also come in handy, particularly when writing for a younger audience.
Consider the Character's Age
Names go in and out of fashion over time. Try to keep things consistent with what was in style when your characters were young. Modern picks like "Olivia" or "Harper" probably won't work for a woman in her 80s. Sticking to a name that fits the character's age will help establish them as part of a particular era or generation. Of course, you can always mix things up, but you don't want to distract readers with something too outside of the box.
Stick to the Location of the Story
The location of your story conveys important information about your character's heritage or cultural background. Naming them something specific to that region can further establish their connection to the area. This will also make it easier to pepper in certain symbols, titles, and traditions associated with the place.
Best Surnames for Your Fictional Characters
Certain genres inspire certain name picks. Listed below, you'll find our favorite options for different types of stories.
Last Names for Girls in a Romance Story
Last Names for Boys in a Mystery or Thriller
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Amazing Last Names for Assassins and Villains
- De Vil
Unique Last Names From Around the World (With Meanings)
Part of the fun in creating a fictional universe is that you can station yourself wherever and whenever you want. Honor that space with names that reflect the local culture.
Cool Last Names of Spanish Origin
- Montana: "Wooded upland." Also featured in the 1983 hit Scarface.
- Abarca: "Maker of leather shoes."
- Huerta: "Garden."
- Suarez: "Someone who herds swine."
- Cruz: "Cross." Also made famous by actor Penélope Cruz.
- Gonzalez: "Son of Gonzolo" or "noble warrior"
- Maldonado: "Ill-favored."
- Valiente: "Brave."
- Villareal: "Royal village."
- Oleastro: "Wild olive."
- Colmenarejo: "Creativity."
- Treviño: "'Person who lives on, or close to, the boundary of two farms or villages."
- Lozano: "Splendid."
- Marín: "Sailor."
- Sierra: "Saw."
- Alegria: "Happiness."
Common Surnames of Greek Origin
- Chrysalis: "Butterfly."
- Damaris: "Calf."
- Cyprus: "Fairness."
- Castellanos: "Castle."
- Omega: "The end."
- Cirillo: "Lord."
- Andino: "Mainly and brave."
- Aetos: "Eagle."
- Bakirtzis: "Coppersmith."
- Diakos: "Deacon."
- Fotos: "Light."
Intriguing Last Names of English Origin
- Tuffin: "To appear."
- Channing: "Young wolf."
- Ashley/Ashleigh: "Ash tree."
- Dumbledore: "Bumblebee." Also made famous by the Harry Potter series.
- Barlowe: "One who lives on a bare hill."
- Lennon: "Lover." Also made popular by the musical artist John Lennon.
- Smith: An occupational name derived from the Old English word smith, or "metal-worker."
- Payne: "Countryman."
- Owen: "Well-born."
- Holmes: "Island."
- Corbyn: "Raven."
- Burton: "Fort settlement."
- Chapman: "Merchant."
Unique Last Names of German Origin
- Bierhals: "Beer-throat."
- Leichenberg: "Pile of corpses."
- Durchdenwald: "Through the forest."
- Handschuh: "Glove."
- Schoonmaker: "Cleaner."
- Nachtnebel: "Night fog."
- ten Brink: "At the village green."
- Eierkuchen: Refers to a filled pastry or German pancake.
- Vormelker: "Pre-milker."
- Kitzler: "Tickler."
- op de Weeg: "On the road."
- Trinkenschuh: "Drink-shoe."
Powerful Last Names of Italian Origin
- Luna: "Moon."
- D'Angelo: "Messenger."
- Segreto: "Confident."
- Vero: "True."
- Satorre: "Tailor."
- Zappa: "Laborer."
- Sanna: "Lily."
- Bellagamba: "Beautiful leg."
- Conti: "Companion."
- Giordano: "One who descends."
- Pesci: "Fisherman."
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Last Names of Scottish Origin
- Lennox: "Elm grove."
- McDonald: "Ruler of the world."
- Wallace: "Foreigner."
- MacNicol: "Son of the conquering people."
- Ritchie: "Brave ruler."
- Abernathy: "Mouth of the river Nathy."
- Balfour: "Village pasture."
- Shaw: "Wolf."
- Watt: "Ruler of the army."
- MacCrimmon: "Guardian."
- Toohey: "Descendant of the chief."
Uncommon Last Names of Welsh Origin
- Baughan: "Little."
- Beddoe: "Sea lord."
- Edris: "Lord."
- Hanmer: "Pond."
- Gethin: "Ugly."
- Nest: "Holy."
- Cadogan: "Glory in battle."
- Craddock: "Love."
- Hier: "Tall."
- Prothero: Refers to someone with reddish brown hair or complexion.
- Gwalchmai: "Hawk."
Unusual Last Names of Japanese Origin
- Watanabe: "To cross over a river."
- Nishikawa: Refers to the "western river" located in the Ryukyu Islands of western Japan
- Yamamoto: "One who lives at the foot of the mountains."
- Aoki: "Green tree."
- Mochizuki: "Full moon."
- Akiyama: "Autumn mountain."
- Fukumoto: "Blessed."
- Oba: "Large garden."
- Hirano: "Peaceful wilderness."
- Himura: "Scarlett village."
- Tachibana: "Tangerine."
Amazing Last Names of Hebrew Origin
- Aarons: "Shining light."
- Camhi: "Wheat."
- Abeles: "Noble one."
- Dagon: "Coin."
- Harari: "Mountaineer."
- Kalman: "Lovely."
- Isaac: "Laughter."
- Abate: "Decedent from a high priest."
- Canaan: "The promised land."
- Chodosh: "New."
- Lachman: "Consoler."
Beautiful Last Names of Latin Origin
- Amador: "Lover of God."
- Aquino: Water."
- Domingo: "Of the Lord."
- Esperanza: "To hope."
- Lovato: "Like a wolf."
- Felix: "Lucky."
- Sanche: "Saintly."
- Urbano: "City dweller."
- Salvador: "Savior."
- Vidales: "Life."
- Bermudez: "Protection."
- Cardoso: "Thorny."
Fancy Surnames of Arabic Origin
- Aziz: "Strong, powerful."
- Idrissi: "Studious."
- Anouar: "Light."
- Habib: "Beloved."
- Jazairi: "Independence."
- Hussain: "Beautiful; handsome."
- Malik: "King."
- Naciri: "Helper."
- Mukhtar: "Chosen."
- Irfan: "Knowledge."
- Jalal: "Glory."
Cool Last Names of Dutch Origin
- Visser: "Fisherman."
- de Boer: "Farmer."
- Bakker: "Baker."
- Schrijnemakers: "Container."
- Kikkert: "Frog."
- TerAvest: "At the edge."
- Houtkooper: "Wood merchant."
- Heer: "Hero."
- Verhoeven: "Farm."
- Van Aggteren: "From behind"
- Slootmaekers: "Lock; locksmith."
- Alderliesten: "Dearest."
Interesting Last Names of Norman Origin
- Kemp: "Champion."
- Tilly: "Branch."
- Tuffin: "For God to appear."
- Boone: "Blessing."
- Gilbert: "Bright."
- Humphries: "Peace."
- Beaumont: "Beautiful hill."
- Davis: "Son of David."
Richest Last Names in the World
The fictional world is rife with symbolism. If you're looking to represent a very wealthy character, you can always draw some inspiration from the real-life moguls listed below. Of course, there are legal considerations to keep in mind. We suggest sticking to variations in place of specific names.
Walton: The Walton family is worth an estimated $224.5 billion, making them the wealthiest family in America. Their wealth is generated from the family's massive stake in Walmart.
Mars: While the Mars family is responsible for coming out with the famous Mars Chocolate Bar, the company is probably best known for producing M&M's. In total, the family is worth about $160 billion.
Koch: The Koch brothers made their fortune through the oil industry, though they're also well known for their conservative lobbying efforts. Today, the duo is worth an estimated $128 billion.
Al Saud: The Saudi Royal family has maintained their monarchy for almost a century. They have also enjoyed significant gains from the oil business. Today, they are worth around $105 billion.
Hermès: You may recognize this name for its signature fashions and luxury goods. The family, who helped introduce the infamous Birkin bag to the world, is now worth around 94.6 billion.
That's it for our list of cool last names, but be sure to check back in with us soon! You can also sign up for our newsletter to enjoy hit pieces on health, entertainment, and travel.