German last names have a strong presence in both Christian and Jewish communities across the globe. Germanic languages have had a huge influence in the development of certain English words, and surnames with German origins are therefore common in English-speaking countries.
Where many a French or Italian surname refer to a geographical location, most German last names derive from an occupation or characteristic trait. Common German surnames regularly feature in Hollywood and fiction, so you’re more than likely familiar with a few. Check out this list of popular German surnames and their meanings to see if you recognize any. Guten tag!
Meaning: A miller.
Meaning: Occupational name for a weaver.
Meaning: Burn or burnt.
Meaning: A very tall person.
Meaning: Sheriff, magistrate or village overseer.
Meaning: Scribe or writer.
Meaning: The color brown, likely in reference to someone dark-haired.
Meaning: Occupational name for a cook.
Meaning: Higher or superior, occupational name for a mayor.
Meaning: Farmer or harvester.
Meaning: Tavern keeper.
Meaning: Famous or renowned warrior.
Meaning: Eagle power or eagle rule. From Old German elements ‘arn’ (eagle) and ‘walt’ (power/rule).
Meaning: Charcoal burner.
Meaning: Wagon maker or driver.