100+ Classy British Last Names/Surnames And Their Meanings

100+ Classy British Last Names That’ll Make You Want To See Big Ben

December 22, 2019 Updated September 16, 2021

British Last Names
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Including English, Welsh and Scottish surnames, British last names have made their way all over the world. While Welsh and Scottish names usually originate from their own Celtic languages (Cymric and Scots Gaelic), English last names tend to originate from occupations, places, or Anglicizations of first names in other languages.

When we think of Britain, we imagine a revolutionary history and unforgettable leaders like King George V and Queen Elizabeth II. Some may think of TV shows like Downton Abbey, Doctor Whoor Sherlock (and that’s OK too). Whichever suits your fancy the most, it’s safe to say Britain is usually associated with politeness, wit, and nobility. One of the first things you learn about someone is their name, and when you come across one of British origin, it can give an air of refinement and civility (even if the person is the complete opposite). So if you’re looking to change your name or just interested in the meaning of one, we’ve got you covered.

Due to a combination of immigration and colonization, the most common British surnames across the globe are of English origin. Some of the most popular ones stem from translations of Hebrew or German first names. If you’re looking for the most popular British last names and their meanings, you’re not alone in that one. According to the latest search data available, that query is searched for over 12,000 times per month. Check out our list of popular British last names to find out their meanings and origins.

RELATED: 47 British Slang Words And Phrases To Read Over A Cuppa

If you’re interested in the last names and meanings from other countries, check out our package on last names from around the world. See how many you recognize: Irish, French, Spanish, Mexican, Brazilian, Portuguese, Italian, and African last names, among others.

  1. Adams/Adamson
    Meaning: Son of Adam. A Hebrew first name that means man.
  2. Wilson
    Meaning: Son of William. A German first name that means resolute protector.
  3. Burton
    Meaning: Fort settlement.
  4. Harris
    Meaning: Son of Harry or Henry. A German first name that means home-ruler.
  5. Stevens
    Meaning: Son of Steven or Stephen. A Greek first name that means crown or wreath.
  6. Robinson
    Meaning: Son of Robin. A German first name that means fame or bright.
  7. Lewis
    Meaning: From the Welsh name Llywelyn, which means leader.
  8. Walker
    Meaning: Occupational name for someone who presses or beats cloth.
  9. Payne
    Meaning: Rustic or countryman.
  10. Baker
    Meaning: Occupational name for a baker.
  11. Owen
    Meaning: From the Welsh name Owain, which means noble or well-born.
  12. Holmes
    Meaning: Island.
  13. Chapman
    Meaning: Trader, monger, or merchant.
  14. Webb
    Meaning: Weaver or to weave.
  15. Allen
    Meaning: Rock.

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  16. Jones
    Meaning: Son of John. A Hebrew first name that means “God is gracious.”
  17. Davidson/Davies
    Meaning: Son of David. A Hebrew first name that means beloved.
  18. Foster
    Meaning: To nourish or rear.
  19. Matthews
    Meaning: Son of Matthew. A Hebrew first name that means “Gift of God.”
  20. White
    Meaning: Of pale or fair complexion.
  21. Griffiths
    Meaning: Strong chief.
  22. Knight
    Meaning: Occupational name for a knight or soldier.
  23. Corbyn
    Meaning: A raven or dark-haired person.
  24. Young
    Meaning: The younger or junior one.
  25. Evans
    Meaning: Son of Evan. A Hebrew first name that means “God is gracious.”
  26. Smith
    Meaning: Blacksmith.
  27. Wright
    Meaning: A woodworker.
  28. Jenkins
    Meaning: John’s kin or little John.
  29. Green
    Meaning: Dweller by the village green.
  30. Hughes
    Meaning: Son of Hugh or Hugo. A German first name that means mind.
  31. Taylor
    Meaning: Tailor.
  32. Hall
    Meaning: A manor house.
  33. Anderson
    Meaning: Son of Andrew.
  34. Armstrong
    Meaning: A man with strong arms.
  35. Cox
    Meaning: Rooster.
  36. Atkinson
    Meaning: Son of Atkins.
  37. Bell
    Meaning: A French name that means beautiful.
  38. Carter
    Meaning: A Scottish and Irish name that means someone who moves goods by transport.
  39. Cole
    Meaning: Charcoal.
  40. Collins
    Meaning: Son of Colin.
  41. Dawson
    Meaning: Son of David.
  42. Bailey
    Meaning: Berry wood.
  43. Ball
    Meaning: Slope or hill.
  44. Dixon
    Meaning: Son of Dick.
  45. Edwards
    Meaning: Prosperity guard.
  46. Brown
    Meaning: Brown complexion or clothing. An Old English word that means brun.
  47. Clarke
    Meaning: Clerk. A Latin word that means clericus.
  48. Yates
    Meaning: Gatekeeper or family name of people who lived near the gates of a walled town.
  49. Zelly
    Meaning: Happy or blessed.
  50. Zouch
    Meaning: Dweller by the tree stump. A French name for someone with a stocky build.
  51. Fisher
    Meaning: Fishermen or salmon.
  52. Fletcher
    Meaning: Arrowsmith or seller of arrows.
  53. Ford
    Meaning: An Irish name that means Fuartháin or descendant of O Fuarthán.
  54. Fox
    Meaning: Fox.
  55. Gibson
    Meaning: A Scottish name that means Gilbert, son of Gilbert, or son of Gib.
  56. Graham
    Meaning: Grey home or a common last name for people who belong to a clan.
  57. Grant
    Meaning: Tall or large.
  58. Gray
    Meaning: Grey hair.
  59. Sallow
    Meaning: Someone who lives near a willow or dead willow trees.
  60. Fernsby
    Meaning: Fern or farmstead.
  61. Villin
    Meaning: A commoner or a servant in a noble household.
  62. Miracle
    Meaning: Dark.
  63. Dankworth
    Meaning: Refers to a farmstead, or an enclosed settlement.
  64. Relish
    Meaning: Taste or flavor; something remaining, that which is left behind.
  65. Loughty
    Meaning: The name of two villages in Tayside; a lake or inlet.
  66. Birdwhistle
    Meaning: A family name of people who live near the town of Padiham in Lancashire or Dewsbury in Yorkshire.
  67. Berrycloth
    Meaning: Grove, or wood; a ravine or steep slope.
  68. Palmer
    Meaning: Palm bearer.
  69. Peterson
    Meaning: Son of Peter (Scandinavian); stone or rock (Greek).
  70. Quill
    Meaning: Forest or shrub.
  71. Quintrell
    Meaning: Horn or headland.
  72. Ratliff
    Meaning: Red cliff.
  73. Stewart
    Meaning: Warden or wall guardian.
  74. Turner
    Meaning: Maker of objects from wood or metal.
  75. Walsh
    Meaning: Foreigner or Welshman.
  76. Cooper
    Meaning: Barrel maker.
  77. Morris
    Meaning: Of the marsh.
  78. Watson
    Meaning: Son of Walter.
  79. Harrison
    Meaning: Son of Harry.
  80. Morgan
    Meaning: Sea dweller.
  81. Campbell
    Meaning: Crooked mouth or wry-mouthed.
  82. Ainsworth
    Meaning: Enclosure.
  83. Cornish
    Meaning: Regional name for someone from Cornwall.
  84. Eastaughffe
    Meaning: Eastern town or homestead.
  85. Eaton
    Meaning: Homestead by an island or a river.
  86. Elton
    Meaning: Ella’s town.
  87. Enfield
    Meaning: Last names of people who live near a lamb field.
  88. Everly
    Meaning: Wild boar or woodland clearing.
  89. Gastrell
    Meaning: Derives from the last name of Rev. Francis Gastrell.
  90. Garfield
    Meaning: A habitational surname.

Fancy British Last Names

  1. Andilet
    Meaning: Messenger.
  2. Alinac
    Meaning: Light or independent and strong-willed.
  3. Bancroft
    Meaning: Field of beans. 
  4. Bandini
    Meaning: “One who glues together,” or “is bound.”
  5. Carmichael
    Meaning: Kind. 
  6. Cobain
    Meaning: A rock star.
  7. Dalton
    Meaning: “With a life path.” 
  8. Duke
    Meaning: Leader.
  9. Elffire
    Meaning: Foolish flame. 
  10. Featherswallow
    Meaning: Trader or someone who resembles a bird. 
  11. Granger
    Meaning: Granary. 
  12. Halifax
    Meaning: Cool.