If anything history is mentioned, you are sure to get a good dose of Greek influences marking every point of it. Greek history has roots in almost all records whether in civilization or other sectors. Interestingly, you can use Greek surnames to trace the Greek ancestry of an individual.
Greek last names have different roots and etymology, with mythology also having dominating influence in the naming pattern. Most of the last names are influenced by family names, paternal, and maternal names. Also, most Greek last names are inherited from the paternal side i.e father’s first name or the family name.
Greek names are either of Latin, Hebrew or Greek origin. Some names are original Greek words and some have been modified. Greek last names have a special feature which is the presence of distinct suffixes. You can learn the place of origin and probably family history through the suffix alone.
For example, ‘–akis’ refers to a person from Crete, ‘–ellis’ means the person likely came from Dodecanese islands, ‘–opoulos’ for a man coming from the Peloponnese peninsula, ‘-idis’ denotes the person is a ‘descendant of’ someone. Some Greek surnames have prefixes too. These prefixes reveal about the identity of the person or their origin.
To give you a fair idea of what these ancient surnames were like, WordingVibes have packaged this article for you. Take your time to go through the names and also read their meanings. You will surely learn a great deal from them.
Splendid Greek Surnames with Intriguing Meanings
Definitely, most of our great grandparents were not even conceived during this era. However, it is not a bad idea to acquaint yourself with some piece of history by looking at these Greek last names.
1. Adamos: In Greek, this surname means ‘the son of Adam.’
2. Aetos: The surname means “eagle” in Greek.
3 .Agathangelou: This is a patronymic name given to the people who likely descended from the historical figure named Agathangelos.
4. Alexopoulos: It is derived from the personal name Alexios and the patronymic ending poulos.
5. Andino: The surname is Greek for “manly”. It probably originated from someone who displayed a lot of masculinity.
6. Andrianakis: This last name is derived from the name Andreas with a suffix, -akis. It is commonly found in the Australian Greek communities.
7. Angelopoulos: This name is derived from Angelos, shortened from Evangelos with the patronymic ending ‘poulos.’
8. Angelos: This surname is a commonly used one and means ’Angel’ in Greek.
9. Argyros: The name comes from the first name Argyrios. It also comes from Argyroglou or Argyropoulos and is another patronymic name. The adjective argyros means “silvery”.
10. Ariti: In Greek, Ariti means someone who is approachable, friendly, or generous.
11. Artino: Artino is a habitational name given to someone who belonged to the city of Arta.
12. Athanasiou: This name is derived from the personal name Athanasios, which means ‘immortal,’ and it has the suffix ‘ou’ from the Cypriot genitive.
13. Bakirtzis: This is a Greek last name derived from a Turkish word, which means ’coppersmith.’
14. Balaskas: Used by Greeks and Slavic Jews, Balaska is the feminine form. Balaskas is the masculine form of the name.
15. Baros: Derived from Portuguese or Spanish from the places called Barros. Barro means “loam” or “clay”. In Greek, it is a nickname from Albanian word ‘mbare’ which means “happy” or “lucky”.
16. Bouras: In Greek it is Booras and the word is of Latin origin. It means “a woollen cloth, coarse and reddish-brown with long hair”. It belongs to someone who worked in the wool trade.
17. Calimeris: This Greek surname originated from the greeting ‘Kalimera,’ which means ‘Good morning.’
18. Castellanos: Also spelt as Kastellanos, it is derived from the word “kastello”. The name is an adjective form and means “castle”.
19. Chaconas: The name is an Americanized version of Tsakonas or Tsakonian which means “an inhabitant of the eastern side of Peloponnese”. It is an archaic kind of Greek last name.
20. Chloros: This is another commonly used Greek surname, which refers to the color green.
21. Christodoulopoulos: It means a ‘descendant of Christ’s servant.’
22. Christoforou: A variation of the name Christophoros, which means one who is ’bearing Christ.’
23. Christoyannopoulos: This ancient name means the ‘descendant of John and Christ.’
24. Chronis: It is derived from ‘Chronos’ – ‘time’ or ‘year’ in Greek.
25. Cirillo: This is a Greek surname, from an Italian origin. The name means ’lordly’ or ‘masterful.’
26. CondosKontos: in Greek means “short”. It could also be combined with a personal name to make a longer surname like Kondogiannis which means “Short John” or Kondopavlos which means “Short Paul”.
27. Danielopoulos: This Greek surname means ‘son of Daniel.’ Daniel itself means ‘God is my judge.’
28. Diakos: It means ‘deacon’ in Greek. Deacon is a member of the clergy.
29. Diamandis: This Greek name means ‘diamonds’ in Greek.
30. Dougenis: Dougenis is derived from the words ‘doulos’ meaning ‘slave’ or ‘servant’ and ‘genes’ meaning ‘being born.’
31. Doukas: Doukas is a Medieval Greek surname derived from ‘doukas’ meaning ‘duke’ or a ‘lord.’
32. Drakos: This name comes from the Greek word Drakon, which means a ‘dragon’ or an ‘ogre.’
33. Drivas: Greek variant of Slavic word drvo which means “tree”. It could also mean a Greek variant of Grivas.
34. Economos: This is an occupational surname given to a steward or anyone who manages a property. The surname is derived from the Greek word ‘oikonomos,’ which means ‘steward.’
35. Economos: The name relates to occupation and is derived from “oikonomos” that means a “steward”. It also means someone who manages a property.
36. Eliades: The ‘ides’ surname was revived by the Greeks for descendants from the Black Sea in the early 19th and 20th century. The name is also a patronymic derivative of the biblical name Elais.
37. Elias: A Greek form of Hebrew, it is derived from Eliyahu. It means “Jehovah of God” or “Lord of God”.
38. Eliopoulos: Derived from “Elias” the first name and the suffix poulos that is derived from the Latin word “nestling”. The suffix is also given to people originating from Peloponnese.
39. Filo: This is a Greek form of a personal name Filip, which means ‘friend of the horses.’
40. Florakis: There are two parts to this name- “Flor” which means flower, blossom or virginity. The other part “akis” that means originating from Crete.
41. Fotos: Derived from the Greek word “phos” which means light, it is also a shortened version of the patronymic name Fotopoulos.
42. Frangopoulos: It is means ‘descendant of Frank.’
43. Franopoulos: It is related to the name Frangopoulos means ‘descendant of a Frank’ in Greek.
44. Gabris: It is a Greek derivative of the English name Gabriel.
45. Galanis: A surname that describes a person with “pale blue eyes”. The name originates from “galanos” in Greek that means “pale blue” or “azure”.
46. Galatas: In Greek “gala” means milk and the surname is an occupational one for someone who sells milk.
47. Ganas: It is an occupational Greek surname for those who work as coppersmiths.
48. Gataki: Gataki means ‘kitten’ in Greek.
49. Georgiades: Spelling variant of Georgiadis, it could be a patronymic name modified from first name “George” with “-ades” as a suffix.
50. Georgiou: The name is Greek and means “wife or kin” of Georgios.
51. German: This surname is given to people from Germany. Usually given to actual immigrants from Germany or for people who had business connections with German-speaking lands.
52. Giorgaina: It means ‘wife of Georgios.’ In early modern Greece, a married woman’s surname was usually a combination of her husband’s name and the suffix ‘-aina.’
53. Halkias: The name is a classic Greek name derived from khalkeus. It is another occupational name and means “coppersmith”.
54. Hasapis: It is derived from the Greek word ‘chasapi’ that means ‘butcher.’
55. Hatzis: Hatzis is a modern version of the Khatzi’s, which in Greek means a ’pilgrim to Jerusalem.’ The surname is related to the Greek surname ‘Hatzi.’
56. Hondros: The surname is a nickname for the word “fat”. In Greek “khondros” means fat. Hondros is a prefix and added to any first name.
57. Ioannou: Pronounced as I-o –nou, it means “child of John”.
58. Iordanou: This name originates from the Jordan River’s name in Hebrew. It means to ‘descend’ or ‘flow down.’
59. Iraklidis: This name refers to the ‘son of Herakles.’ Herakles (also known as Hercules) means ‘glory/pride of the Goddess Hera.’
60. Kallis: Kallistos is a Greek name that means “best” and reduced to form a patronymic.
61. Kalogeras: This Greek last name is derived from ‘kalogeros,’ which means monk.
62. Kalogeropoulos: This surname in Greek means ‘son of the monk’. It is derived from the Greek term kalogeros, which means ‘monk’ or ‘friar.’
63. Kappas: Kappas is the shortened version of the surname that begins with the prefix ‘Kapa’ that in Turkish means “large”.
64. Karagiannis: This Greek last name means ‘black John.’
65. Karras: It means a ‘carter’ or ‘cart driver’ since the Greek root word for the surname is ‘Karo’ (cart). Karras is thus an occupational Greek last name.
66. Katopodis: In Greek, this word means ‘down’ or ‘below.’ This surname refers to ‘the guy who ran away.’
67. Katsaros: Katsaros is a name given to a person with curly hair in Greek. The word itself means ‘curly.’
68. Kazan: Kazan is a reduced form of Kazandis, which means ‘people who make cauldrons.’ It is an occupational surname given to people who make cauldrons or use a cauldron for the distillation of ouzo or raki – both alcoholic beverages.
69. Kokkinos: The Greek last name means ‘the color red.’
70. Konstantinopolites: A popular place in Greece, people originating from Constantinople usually bear this surname.
71. Kouris: In Greek, Kouris means ‘someone who lived in a forest.’
72. Kyriaku: It is a Greek surname, meaning ‘of the Lord.’
73. Lambros: In classical Greek “lampros” means “radiant”; ”luminous” and “brilliant”. The name was coined to commemorate Easter which is known as Lanbri “the bright day”. It could also become a patronymics surname and added as a prefix.
74. Laskaris: Greeks have a rich history of fighting battles and Laskaris as a name is a tribute to it. In Greek, it means “a kind of soldier”.
75. Laskaris: In Greek, Laskaris means ‘a kind of soldier.’
76. Lekas: The name is of Albanian origin and Leka is an Albanian personal name. In Albanian, it means “Alexander”.
77. Leos: It originates from the personal name Leos which means “lion” and a short form of Leon.
78. Leventis: Of Italian origin, Leventis is derived from Levantine which means “people from the East”. It refers to armed sailor or pirates from the Middle Ages. In Greek, the name has a positive connotation and means “fearless and gallantry”.
79. Levidis: This Greek name means ‘son of Levi.’ Levi means ‘joined’ or ‘attached,’ and the word originates from Hebrew.
80. Loukanis: This surname originates from the Greek word ‘loukanika’ meaning sausages. Loukanis is an occupational surname given to a butcher or a sausage maker.
81. Lykaios: An original Greek name derived from a Greek word that means “wolf”.
82. Makris: It is a nickname for the Greek word “makros” meaning tall. Popular in ancientGreek, it is combined with many personal names.
83. Mallas: The surname is an occupational one and comes from “mallas” which means a “trowel”. The surname is an occupational name for a bricklayer.
84. Mandrapilias: Common in the Spartan region of Greece, the name means “a stonewall” or “made of stone”.
85. Mandrapilias: It means ‘made of stone’ or ‘stonewall.’ This surname is common in the region of Sparta in Greece.
86. Manikas: It is derived from the Greek word ‘maniki’ meaning a ‘handle’ or a ‘sleeve.’ It is an occupational name given to people who make handles.
87. Markopoulos: This Greek surname means ’son of Mark.’ Mark is an ancient name meaning ‘consecrated to the god Mars’ or the ‘god of war.’
88. Masalis: A Greek surname of unknown origin and most common in the country of Cyprus.
89. Matsouka: This means ‘bat’ in Greek.
90. Matthiou: The name refers to the ‘son of Matthias.’ Matthias means the ‘gift of god.’
91. Mavros: Mavros in Greek means “black” and is a descriptive name for someone with a dark complexion. It is used popularly as a prefix with personal names.
92. Metaxas: This name is derived from the Greek word, metaxi, which means ‘silk’ or ‘a person who deals in silk.’
93. Mikos: A surname which is the equivalent of Nicholas in Greek. It is also considered to be an altered or short form of Demetrios.
94. Moralis: Moralis is a Greek form of the Spanish surname ‘Morales.’ It is likely to be derived from the Spanish word ‘moreras,’ that stands for ‘mulberry trees.’
95. Nanos: A short form of Giavanni in Italian, the name is also derived from the Greek word “nanos” which means a “dwarf”.
96. Nephus: In Greek, Nephus means “son of God who will eventually become God”. A very religious surname it has a deep meaning to it.
97. Nephus: Nephus in Greek means ‘a God’s son who will also become a God.’
98. Nicolaides: Another variant of the name Nicholas, the name is patronymic and originates from Nikolaos.
99. Nicoli: This surname is a variant of Nikolis, a pet form of Nicholas in Greek.
100. Nikolaou: Means the ‘son of Nikolaos.’ Nikolaos means ‘victory of people’ in Greek.
101. Nomikos: In Greek, ‘Nomikos’ means ‘relating to law’ or ‘legal.’
103. Othonos: It is a Greek surname derived from Otto, meaning ’wealth’ or ‘fortune.’
104. Pachis: Pachis means ‘fat’ or ‘thick’ in Greek.
105. Pagonis: A beautiful surname, it is derived from “pagoni” which means “peacock”. It is also a nickname for “vain or showy man”.
106. Pallas: It is another name for Athena, the Goddess of Arts and Wisdom. It is also a nickname for Palac in Greek which means “thumb”.
107. Panagos: It is an ancient Greek surname meaning ‘all holy.’
108. Pantazis: A surname that is full of vibrancy, it means “always alive” or ”full of life”.
109. Papachristodoulopoulos: A really long one, this one is ancient and unique. It means “someone who is a descendant of the Priest and a Servant of the Lord Christ”.
110. Papamichael: Papamichael means the ‘son of a priest named Michael.’
111. Papatonis: This Greek surname means ’a badass man.’
112. Papazoglou: Another common Greek surname meaning ’son of the Priest.’
113. Pappas: Pappas is derived from ‘Papas,’ which means ‘Priest’ in Greek.
114. Pavlides: This Greek surname means ‘son of Pavlos.’ Pavlos is a Greek form of Paul.
115. Pavlis: A derivative of the personal name of Paul and its Greek equivalent Pavlos.
116. Persopoulos: This is an ancient Greek surname which means ’descendant of a Persian.’
117. Petrakis: This surname is derived from ‘Petros,’ a Greek version of Peter.
118. Raptis: The surname is an occupational name and means “a tailor”. In Greek, it is spelt as raptis (pronounced as raftis) and derived from the classical Greek word “raptein” which means to sew.
119. Regas: The name is a variant of Riga and refers to a habitation. It refers to the numerous places called Reags which means “an irrigational channel”.
120. Rella: It is a shortened form of Rellakis and is an occupational surname. It is mostly adopted by embroiders and derived from “reli” which means “hem” or “border”.
121. Remis: This surname originates from ‘Remigius’ a Greek name prevalent during the medieval period.
122. Rosi: A Greek surname derived from Rosa, which means ‘the flower rose.’
123. Rousopoulos: A Greek surname, it actually means “someone of Russian descent”.
124. Sagona: A classic, it is a Greek name for someone with a protruding jaw. “Sagona” in Greek means jaw. In Classic Greek it is spelt as “Siagon”.
125. Samaras: The surname is ideal for a lover of horses. It means “saddler” or a “saddle maker”.
126. Savas: It originates from ‘Sabbas,’ which is the Greek version of the holy ‘Sabbath.’ The word ‘Sabbath’ also refers to the day ‘Saturday.’
127. Scala: This surname in Greek means ‘ladder’ or ‘steps’ or ‘stairway.’
128. Selinofoto: In Greek, the name means “moonlight”. It probably originates from one who lives by the sea and enjoyed the moonlight.
129. Servopoulos: This Greek surname means ‘descendant of a Serb.’
130. Sideris: The surname has its origin in the Greek word ‘sidero’ that means ‘iron.’ The surname refers to a wishful phrase ‘may the child grow up to be as strong as iron.’
131. Sotiropoulos: Ending in poulos, it belongs to someone from Peloponnese and is actually derived from Latin. It means “nestling” or “chick”.
132. Stefanopoulos: This surname in Greek means ‘son of Stefan.’
133. Tavoularis: The name belongs to the medieval times and means “secretary”; “literary” and “assistant”. It is an ancient surname and is passed on from generations.
134. Teresi: The name is associated with the Goddess of Hunting-“Artemis” and is a metronymic for the feminine personal name Teresa.
135. Thanos: It is the short form of the Greek name ‘Athanasios,’ which means ‘immortal.’
136. Theodoropoulos: Theodoros in Greek means “God-given” or a “Gift of God”. The surname means “son of Theodoros”.
137. Tsaoussis: The surname in Greek means “peacock” and could well be adapted from the father’s first name.
138. Tsitak: It means ‘God.’
139. Vasilakis: A Greek word for “basil”, the name is derived from Vasilikos.
140. Vassos: The last name means “from Vasos” and is a short form of the name Vasilis.
141. Vitalis: The surname means what the word would mean in spoken English. In Greek, it means “alive” or “vital”.
142. Voulgaropoulos: In Greek, ‘Voulgaros’ means ‘Bulgarian.’ Voulgaropoulos thus refers to the ‘descendant of a Bulgarian.’
143. Vouvali: In Greek, this surname means ‘buffalo.’
144. Xenos: in Greek means “stranger” or a “newcomer”. The surname again is a patronymic.
145. Xiphias: It means ‘swordfish.’
146. Yiannopoulos: Another surname with a suffix, it means “son of Yianni”.
147. Zafeiriou: The gemstone “sapphire” in Greek is called Zafeiri. As a surname it means “son of Zaferiris” and is another patronymic name.
148. Zervas: It is a last name derived from the nickname that means “left-handed”.
149. Zika: ‘Zika’ is derived from the wishful Greek phrase ‘na zissis’ that means ‘to live’ or ‘may he live.’
150. Zografos: It is a combination of two names zographos- zoe which means “life” and graphein that means “write”. The surname is also an occupational name which means painter or miniaturist.
Verily, Greeks have a very impressive culture and most Greeks are proud of it. Creatively, Greek surnames are used to portray their rich history and background. Visibly, the last names listed above and their meanings have a very strong linkage to the Greeks. Even though Greek surnames started appearing only in the 15th century, they have taken up significant space globally.
Do you know someone that loves history? Do well to share this with them.