The Name Game

65 Mexican Last Names Passed Down Through the Ages

Along with their meanings!

by Team Scary Mommy
Originally Published: 
mexican last names
Thomas Barwick/Getty

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 Aztecs, Olmecs, 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 some of the most popular Mexican last names and what they mean. You can also check out our pages on French last names, Portuguese last names, Brazilian last names, and more.

Mexican Last Names

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 words 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. Cuautli

Meaning: Eagle

15. Cisneros

Meaning: Swan

16. Cocolotl

Meaning: Angry

17. Cortes

Meaning: Civil or polite

18. Coyopotl

Meaning: Thick coyote

19. de Leon

Meaning: Lion

20. Espinoza

Meaning: Thorny

21. Franco

Meaning: Frank or free

22. Gallardo

Meaning: Gallant or dashing

23. García

Meaning: “descendant or son of Garcia”

24. Herrera

Meaning: Blacksmith

25. Hernandez

Meaning: Daring or brave

26. Ibarra

Meaning: Valley

27. Jimenez

Meaning: Son of Jimeno, a variant of Simon

28. Lara

Meaning: From the village called Lara de Los Infantes in Spain

29. Leon

Meaning: Lion

30. Lopez

Meaning: Wolf

31. Lozano

Meaning: Profuse, lush, or exuberant

32. Luna

Meaning: Moon

33. Macias

Meaning: Derived from the name “Matthew,” which means “gift of God”

34. Mata

Meaning: Bush or shrubs

35. Marin

Meaning: Of the sea

36. Marquez

Meaning: God of Mars

37. Medina

Meaning: It could refer to the multiple cities in Spain named Medina. It’s also a surname in Saudi Arabia.

38. Mendez

Meaning: Complete sacrifice

39. Miranda

Meaning: Lovely or wondrous

40. Montoya

Meaning: Mountain

41. 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.

42. Navarro

Meaning: Valley or plain of people

43. Olivares

Meaning: Olive grove

44. Osorio

Meaning: Wolfhunter

45. Pacheco

Meaning: Possibly related to “pequeño,” which means “short” or “little.”

46. Parra

Meaning: Vine

47. Quinteiro

Meaning: Yard or farmstead

48. Ramirez

Meaning: Famed judge

49. Ramos

Meaning: Branch

50. Rangel

Meaning: Curved or bent

51. Rios

Meaning: River

52. Robles

Meaning: Oak tree

53. Rosas

Meaning: Rose

54. Salgado

Meaning: Salty

55. Sandoval

Meaning: Most likely derived from “saltus,” which means “forest” and “novalis” (“unploughed land”)

56. Seguar

Meaning: Safe or secure

57. Silva

Meaning: Forest

58. Tellez

Meaning: Earth or land

59. Torres

Meaning: People who inhabited a region around a tower or a fort

60. Vasquez

Meaning: Crow or raven

61. Velasco

Meaning: Crow or raven

62. Vera

Meaning: Edge, border, or shore

63. Zarate

Meaning: Someone who lived near the opening of the forest

64. Zavala

Meaning: Broad or extensive

65. Zuniga

Meaning: Channel or strait

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