40 Popular Arabic Last Names/Surnames And Their Meanings

40 Popular Arabic Last Names Passed Down Through the Generations

June 8, 2020 Updated September 27, 2020

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Fabio Santaniello Bruun/Unsplash

Though it’s fun starting new traditions and picking out baby names, there’s something very special about last names. They serve as a link to our past and bridge to the future. It can also tie us to the culture of our ancestors. Arabic last names often refer to the tribe, clan, or region a particular family is from. When you see the prefix Al- in front of an Arabic last name, it means “the” — like Al-Saud means The Saud family. Similar to some British last names (like Butcher, Smith or Baker) Arabic last names from places like Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria often refer to the family’s profession (i.e. Al Tajir means “The Merchant”).

It is also important to remember that not all of these Arabic last names are as popular in some Arab countries as they are in others. For instance, one of the most common last names in Egypt is Mohamed. More than 1.7 million Egyptians bear that surname. Qatar has the similarly pronounced but differently spelled Mohammed as their most popular surname. And the last name Khan is the highest ranked last name in both Oman and Kuwait. Interestingly enough (maybe?), Khan is also the most used surname in Saudi Arabia and the UAE (United Arab Emirates). In both countries Mohammed or Mohamed also rank high on the list of most used surnames. In Lebanon, Khoury is the most popular surname. However, it doesn’t rank in the top few last names in any other Arab nation, similar to Morocco’s top ranked Alaoui. If you know what part of the Arab world your country is from, you might consider including any of these popular last names as your child’s first or middle name.
If you have an Arabic last name or are curious about them in general, here are some popular Arabic last names and what they mean.

  1. Abadi
    Meaning: Endless or eternal
  2. Amin
    Meaning: The truthful or trustworthy
  3. Ayad
    Meaning: The hands with power
  4. Badawi
    Meaning: Desert dweller
  5. Bakir
    Meaning: Dawn or early
  6. Bahar
    Meaning: An occupational name from the Arabic bahār meaning, “spice”
  7. Daher
    Meaning: Knowing or clear
  8. Darwish
    Meaning: Roaming, exploring or wandering
  9. Ebeid
    Meaning: Devoted servant or worshipper of God
  10. Fadel
    Meaning: Virtue or someone gracious and divine
  11. Faez
    Meaning: Victory
  12. Fasih
    Meaning: Eloquence
  13. Gaddafi
    Meaning: The archer or the thrower
  14. Ghulam
    Meaning: Young servant of God
  15. Hadid
    Meaning: Iron
  16. Hafeez
    Meaning: The guardian or protector
  17. Iqbal
    Meaning: One with strength
  18. Ismat
    Meaning: Purity, chastity, innocence, perfection
  19. Jameel
    Meaning: Handsome or beautiful
  20. Jaziri
    Meaning: Independence or self-confidence
  21. Karim
    Meaning: The generous or the noble
  22. Khalid
    Meaning: Eternal
  23. Maloof
    Meaning: From the name of a Christian clan in Lebanon and Syria. Meaning “fattened”.
  24. Muhammed
    Meaning: Praise-worthiness or laudability
  25. Nabih
    Meaning: Being aware or vigilant
  26. Noor
    Meaning: Light or divinity
  27. Qadir
    Meaning: Competent or powerful
  28. Rafiq
    Meaning: Close friend or follower of God
  29. Ramzi
    Meaning: Quiet or demure
  30. Sader
    Meaning: Courage or strength
  31. Shariq
    Meaning: Bright shining star or devoted companion
  32. Taleb
    Meaning: Seeker of knowledge
  33. Wahed
    Meaning: The only one
  34. Yasin
    Meaning: Wealth or richness
  35. Zaman
    Meaning: A person of the era, times or age
  36. Abdul
    Meaning: “Servant of the…”
  37. Abdullah
    Meaning: Servant of God
  38. Akram
    Meaning: Generosity
  39. Shadid
    Meaning: Strong
  40. Fakhoury
    Meaning: Noble cause