Popular Thai Last Names/Surnames With Meanings And Origins

47 Popular Thai Last Names With Meanings And Origins

November 2, 2020 Updated June 25, 2021

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Up until 1913, most people from Thailand didn’t have last names. Prior to that, those who lived in Siam (the former name of Thailand, and yes, birthplace of famous conjoined twins Chang and Eng Bunker) just went by their first names and the place they lived. But this changed in 1913, when King Rama VI, who was educated in Europe, decided that the Thai people needed last names, like those in the West. But, unlike the West, Thai last names can only be shared by people who are directly related to each other. This amazing array of names also stems from that same 1913 law.

Many Thai names are derived from a mixture of Chinese and Arab cultures. In other words, there aren’t traditionally common last names like “Smith” or “Jones,” but rather long, compound last names made up of a string of words. However, there are some shorter Thai last names, like the ones below, which typically belong to those whose family has been in Thailand for generations.

Apart from being beautiful, Thailand is also extremely diverse. There are around 75 ethnic groups within the country alone. The Thai group makes up about 30 percent of the population while the Thai-Lao is about 32 percent. Chinese is around 12 percent of the population and Malay-speaking Muslims and Khmer are about five percent. There are also pockets of Korean and Urdu speaking individuals. And although Thailand has its urban life, they also have hill tribes in the northern mountains. Thai culture may be infused with other groups, but it still has very unique customs that are just as beautiful as their names.

Education, jobs, family, respect, and patriotism are revered. Citizens constantly show love and appreciation for their country through flags, songs, and even cinema. Buddhism is also an integral part of their everyday life. Its values include wisdom, kindness, patience, generosity, and compassion, which are a big part of the country’s disposition. A few common practices in Thailand include not touching another person’s head. It is also looked down upon to point your feet at anyone or especially an image of the buddha. Shoes are not worn in homes, and it is deemed improper for monks to interact with women or for people to show loud displays of emotion in public.

So without further ado, here are 34 Thai surnames, along with their meanings and origins.

  1. Adulyadej
    Meaning: Incomparable power
    Origin: Thai
  2. Amarin
    Meaning: Undying, immortal; right hand of the angel
    Origin: Thai
  3. Ambhom
    Meaning: Sky
    Origin: Thai
  4. Ananada
    Meaning: Prosperous one
    Origin: Thai
  5. Anchali
    Meaning: Greeting
    Origin: Thai, Cambodia
  6. Anong
    Meaning: Gorgeous woman
    Origin: Thai
  7. Anuman
    Meaning: Small patience
    Origin: Thai
  8. Anurak
    Meaning: An angel in Thai mythology
    Origin: Thai
  9. Aromdee
    Meaning: Rare
    Origin: Thai
    Meaning: Man of the sun or sun
    Origin: Thai and comes from the Hindu god Aditya
  10.  A-wut 
    Meaning: Weapon
    Origin: Thai
  11. Ayutthaya
    Meaning: Unconquerable or invincible
    Origin: Thai
  12. Bannarasee
    Meaning: Lotus flower
    Origin: Thai
  13. Bui
    Meaning: Farmer, peasant
    Origin: Chinese
  14. Chakrii
    Meaning: King
    Origin: Thai
  15. Charoensuk
    Meaning: To prosper, to develop, to increase (with) delight
    Origin: Thai
  16. Chen
    Meaning: Great, tremendous; dawn, morning
    Origin: Chinese
  17. Du
    Meaning: Someone from the Shaanxi province in China
    Origin: Chinese
  18. Kasem
    Meaning: Pure happiness
    Origin: Thai
  19. Makok
    Meaning: Someone from Makok, a town in Thailand
    Origin: Thai
  20. Malee
    Meaning: Flower
    Origin: Thai
  21. Na Chiangmai
    Meaning: Descendants of the rulers of Chiang Mai
    Origin: Thai
  22. Niran
    Meaning: Never ending; everlasting
    Origin: Thai
  23. Noi
    Meaning: Bird
    Origin: Thai
  24. Ngam
    Meaning: Beautiful
    Origin: Thai
  25. Paśú
    Meaning: Beast
    Origin: Sanskrit
  26. Pravat
    Meaning: Historic person
    Origin: Thai
  27. Ratanaporn
    Meaning: Crystal blessing
    Origin: Thai 
  28. Rattanakosin
    Meaning: Reference to the royal family of the Chakri Dynasty
    Origin: Thai
  29. Ritthirong
    Meaning: Good at fighting
    Origin: Thai
  30. Rochana
    Meaning: Good with words
    Origin: Thai
  31. Rueng
    Meaning: Glory
    Origin: Thai
  32. Saelau
    Meaning: Liu
    Origin: Thai-Chinese
  33. Saengkaew
    Meaning: Crystal light
    Origin: Thai
  34. Shinawatra
    Meaning: Someone who does good routinely
    Origin: Thai
  35. Soikham
    Meaning: Necklace with gold
    Origin: Thai
  36. Somsri
    Meaning: Suitable, honorable
    Origin: Thai
  37. Suwannarat
    Meaning: Jewel; gem
    Origin: Thai
  38. Suwan
    Meaning: Gold
    Origin: Thai
  39. Sakdan
    Meaning: Powerful person
    Origin: Thai
  40. Sanouk
    Meaning: Named after an enjoyable festival of the same name
    Origin: Thai
  41. Siriporn
    Meaning: Gloriously blessed person
    Origin: Thai
  42. Tham-Boon
    Meaning: Merit making
    Origin: Thai
  43. Thong Di
    Meaning: Good gold
    Origin: Thai
  44. Trubbaya
    Meaning: Treasure
    Origin: Thai
  45. Wong
    Meaning: Family
    Origin: Thai-Chinese
  46. Saetang
    Meaning: Chief; educated.
    Origin: Thai
  47. Saelim
    Meaning: Intelligent, strong.
    Origin: Thai.