55+ Mexican Last Names/Surnames And Their Meanings

55+ Mexican Last Names Passed Down Through the Ages

June 8, 2020 Updated September 10, 2020

mexican last names
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Last names can tell us a lot about where someone is from, their culture, and their history. (Or sometimes it’s just something you pick up when you get married.) Mexico has an incredibly rich history, going back to ancient civilizations like the Olmecs, Aztecs, and Mayans. It was then colonized by the Spanish. Today, the country is made up of 31 states and one federal district, and has a population of more than 100 million people. Mexican last names include influences from the indigenous populations, as well as the Spanish colonizers. And frequently, Mexican people have two (or more) last names: the first is typically the father’s last name and the second is the mother’s last name. If you have a Mexican last name or are curious about them in general, here are over 40 popular Mexican last names and what they mean.

  1. Aguirre
    Meaning: Prominent or exposed place
  2. Aguilar
    Meaning: Describing a person from the region of Aguilar, in the Castile region of Spain.
  3. Ayla
    Meaning: Hillside slope or pasture
  4. Barrera 
    Meaning: Barrier, referring to people who lived by a gate or fence.
  5. Bernal
    Meaning: Spanish variant of the name ‘Baruch,’ which means ‘blessed’ in Hebrew.
  6. Becerra
    Meaning: Young cow
  7. Beltran
    Meaning: Bright raven (and it actually has Germanic roots.)
  8. Bravo
    Meaning: From the Spanish and Portuguese word meaning “rough”, “wild”, or “courageous.”
  9. Cano
    Meaning: White or gray haired
  10. Cardenas
    Meaning: Purplish-blue, its root is from the Spanish word “Cardeno”
  11. Carrillo
    Meaning: Cheek, Spanish
  12. Castaneda
    Meaning: Chestnut
  13. Castro
    Meaning: Castle
  14. Cisneros
    Meaning: Swan
  15. Cortes
    Meaning: Civil or polite
  16. de Leon
    Meaning: Lion
  17. Espinoza
    Meaning: Thorny
  18. Franco
    Meaning: Frank or free
  19. Gallardo
    Meaning: Gallant or dashing
  20. Herrera
    Meaning: Blacksmith
  21. Hernandez
    Meaning: Daring or brave
  22. Ibarra
    Meaning: Valley
  23. Jimenez
    Meaning: Son of Jimeno, a variant of Simon
  24. Lara
    Meaning: This word was actually from the village called Lara de los Infantes, in Spain.
  25. Leon
    Meaning: Lion
  26. Lopez
    Meaning: Wolf
  27. Lozano
    Meaning: Profuse, lush or exuberant. This last name would make a great first or middle name for a baby who made himself well-known even in the womb.
  28. Luna
    Meaning: Moon
  29. Macias
    Meaning: Derived from the name “Matthew,” which means “gift of God.”
  30. Mata
    Meaning: Bush or shrubs.
  31. Marin
    Meaning: Of the sea
  32. Marquez
    Meaning: God of Mars
  33. Medina
    Meaning: It could refer to the multiple cities in Spain named Medina. It’s also a surname in Saudi Arabia.
  34. Mendez
    Meaning: Complete sacrifice
  35. Miranda
    Meaning: Lovely or wondrous
  36. Montoya
    Meaning: Mountain
  37. Mora
    Meaning: Since the word is typically used to refer to blackberries or mulberries, most believe this was used as a surname for fruit farmers.
  38. Navarro
    Meaning: Valley or plain of people
  39. Olivares
    Meaning: Olive grove
  40. Osorio
    Meaning: Wolf hunter
  41. Pacheco
    Meaning: Possibly related to ‘pequeño,’ which means “short” or “little.”
  42. Parra
    Meaning: Vine
  43. Quinteiro
    Meaning: Yard or farmstead
  44. Ramirez
    Meaning: Famed judge
  45. Ramos
    Meaning: Branch
  46. Rangel
    Meaning: Curved or bent
  47. Rios
    Meaning: River
  48. Robles
    Meaning: Oak tree
  49. Rosas
    Meaning: Rose
  50. Salgado
    Meaning: Salty
  51. Sandoval
    Meaning: Most likely derived from “saltus” which means “forest” and “novalis” which means “unploughed land.”
  52. Seguar
    Meaning: Safe or secure
  53. Silva
    Meaning: Forest
  54. Tellez
    Meaning: Earth or land
  55. Torres
    Meaning: People who inhabited a region around a tower or a fort
  56. Vasquez
    Meaning: Crow or raven
  57. Velasco
    Meaning: Crow or raven
  58. Vera
    Meaning: Edge, border or shore
  59. Zarate
    Meaning: Someone who lived near the opening of the forest
  60. Zavala
    Meaning: Broad or extensive
  61. Zuniga
    Meaning: Channel or strait