Like many other cultures, family names in the Czech Republic carry a ton of meaning and family tradition, some more literal than others. Czech women traditionally take their husband’s last name after marriage, but given the gendered nature of the Czech language, the ending of the name will change depending on whether it belongs to a woman or a man. Per Family Education, if the last name is a male adjective or noun, the women’s version will change its spelling to match the feminine version of the adjective. Often, the ending is changed for the women’s name by adding “-ova” if the husband’s Czech last name translates to a noun. It sounds complicated, but once you have a firm understanding of the Czech language and the name’s actual meaning and origin, it adds up. Most Czech last names originate from the Czech language as well as German (explaining why some German surnames sound similar) and Slovak, given the countries’ proximity to each other and shared history.
bRead on to learn more about some of the most popular Czech last names, where they come from, and what they mean.
Meaning: a pet form of the personal name Adam.
Meaning: from a short form of the personal names Alexis, Albert, Albrecht, or Alexandr.
Meaning: a pet form of Andrasek, a variant of Ondrášek.
Meaning: from a short form of the personal name Bartolomaeus.
Meaning: nickname meaning “coward.”
Meaning: from medieval Latin baccalarius, meaning “school teacher.”
Meaning: variant of Valon, ethnic name for a Walloon.
Meaning: a pet form of the personal name Balus, a reduced form of Baltazar.
Meaning: habitational name from a place called Bělín.
Meaning: occupational name for a weaver or seller of bedsheets.
Meaning: pet form of the personal names Bonifác or Bonaventura.
Meaning: nickname from brabec, meaning “sparrow.”
Meaning: a habitational name for someone who lived at a house distinguished by the sign of a stork.
Meaning: nickname from čejka, meaning “lapwing.”
Meaning: “black,” hence a nickname for a black-haired person.
Meaning: from červený, meaning “red” or “ruddy,” hence a nickname for someone with red hair or a ruddy complexion.
Meaning: from a diminutive of chalupa, meaning “peasant’s cottage.”
Meaning: from cibule, meaning “onion” — a nickname for someone with a head thought to resemble an onion or an occupational name for an onion seller.
Meaning: nickname for a prosperous individual.
Meaning: habitational name from a place called Dobřany.
Meaning: nickname for a lazy man.
Meaning: good or honest.
Meaning: from a diminutive of Dvořák.
Meaning: a rich farmer, or someone who owns an estate or manor.
Meaning: a diminutive from the first name Benedikt.
Meaning: a reduced form of the personal name Jeremiáš.
Meaning: from the German veit, after St. Veit — the patron saint against fire.
Meaning: a word for a bailiff or other administrator.
Meaning: nickname from fousek, meaning “mustache.”
Meaning: a version of the name “Gabriel.”
Meaning: variant of haluška, meaning “pasta.”
Meaning: nickname for a chatterbox; from gavenda, meaning “talkative.”
Meaning: a word for a gamekeeper.
Meaning: pet form of personal name Hanzel.
Meaning: pet form of the personal name Havel.
Meaning: from the word for “head,” often attributed to someone really smart or with a large head.
Meaning: nickname for a beardless young man.
Meaning: nickname for the word holý meaning bare or “clean shaven.”
Meaning: someone who lives near a field of holly.
Meaning: “little pigeon.”
Meaning: “dove” or mild-mannered man.
Meaning: an evergreen shrub.
Meaning: cone or nickname for someone with a pointed or cone-shaped head.
Meaning: a cone-shaped lump of crease cheese or a nickname for some who is soft spoken.
Meaning: mountain, hill, or forest.
Meaning: from the first name John.
Meaning: a woodcutter, from the Moravian word meaning “to cut.”
Meaning: kitten or tomcat.
Meaning: a pet form of the personal name Maruše.
Meaning: a picky, pestering person.
Meaning: a diminutive of Novak.
Meaning: someone who sells cooking oil.
Meaning: a derivative of the personal name Ondřej.
Meaning: occupational name for a basket maker; from opálka, meaning “woven basket.”
Meaning: a pet form of the Old Czech personal name Pačej.
Meaning: someone who is small or missing a thumb.
Meaning: someone from Slevasia.
Meaning: someone who steals.
More Czech Last Names
Meaning: stubborn or ram.
Meaning: “red in the face.”
Meaning: to hurry.
Meaning: siskin; type of bird.
Meaning: violet or flower.
Meaning: coarse or crude.
Meaning: derives from the name Matej.
Meaning: to return.
Meaning: mute or foreigner.
Meaning: little nose.
Meaning: “strong as a rock.”
Meaning: derives from the name Stephen.
Even More Czech Last Names
Meaning: son of Talmay.
Meaning: merciful or gentle.
Meaning: from the cross.
Meaning: fish or a fisherman.
Meaning: from Slovakia.
Meaning: winter or a nickname for someone with a cold personality.