Greece is a country known for its rich history and culture dating back to ancient times, which is why the emergence of Greek surnames (although rare at that time) goes as far back as the 9th century. Yet, it wasn’t until around the 12th century, that last names started being incorporated as family names by upper-class Greek families. In this article, we’re sharing some of the most popular Greek surnames for your baby boy or girl.
The historic pattern of the way Greek last names were initially derived reveals that they evolved from a nickname, a location name, or a family member’s name. Moreover, for girls, the usage involved assuming a feminine variant of their father’s name, and a changeover to the femine version of their husband’s name once they got married.
Some Greek surnames have evolved from the earliest surnames hailing from Ancient Greek times of around the 9th century. That’s how many Greek’s have continued with their ancestral surnames with strong references to Greek mythology, famous empires, and great leaders.
Evolving from the historical pattern mentioned above, today, Greek surnames are derived from six broad categories, which include:
(1) Patronymic – From father’s name;
(2) Physical Characteristics – A reflection of the original name bearer’s physical or personal trait;
(3) Occupation or Title based;
(4) Foreign terms – Derived from a foreign word or origin with ties to Greece;
(5) Locational – Stemming from, or being a descendant of, a location, be it within Greece or another land;
(6) Christianity – Greece’s strong connection with religion.
Top Greek Surnames For Your Newborn
We’ve derived a list of the top 40 Greek surnames. Our selections are representative of turning points in Greek history and the country’s rich culture.
As you read on and see the meaning behind each popular last name, you’ll discover a range of meanings stemming from ancient times of Greek mythology to the emergence of Christianity within the country. Interestingly, some of the surnames evolve from Hebrew, Turkish given names, or even signify a location outside Greece.
Without further ado, here are the most popular Greek surnames:
Spelling in Greek: Αετός
Surname meaning: “Eagle.”
Aetos is a popular surname that evolved from Ancient Greek times. According to those times, the enormous golden eagle that accompanied Zeus as his messenger was called ‘Aeots Dios.’ The eagle was regarded as divine due to its high flying capability to the heavens, its strength, and dominance in the skies.
Spelling in Greek: Αγγελόπουλος
Surname meaning: “Son of the Messenger” or Son of the Angel.”
This popular Greek surname doesn’t need further explanation after its incredible, straightforward meaning. As with most Greek surnames, this one is divine, heavenly, and overall a pleasant surname for your child. The feminine form of the surname is Angelopoulou (Αγγελόπουλου).
Spelling in Greek: Αθανασίου
Surname meaning: From the Greek name ‘Athanasios,’ which means “immortal.”
This surname is found in North America, Australia, and several European countries. Yet, it’s most prevalent in the Greek countries Greece and Cyprus. Canadian NHL player Andreas Athanasiou is one of the notable name bearers.
Spelling in Greek: Βακιρτζής
Surname meaning: “Coppersmith.”
The Greek surname ‘Bakirtzis’ can be traced to its Turkish origin. Like a handful of Greek surnames, it’s derived from an occupation — in this case, “coppersmith.” You’re relatively more likely to find people with the last name Bakirtzis in either Greece or the United States.
Spelling in Greek: Χλωρός
Surname meaning: “Green.”
Doesn’t the name ‘George Chloros’ sound magical? Similarly, other first and last name combinations sound great when they end with ‘Chloros.’ Chloros is a Greek word meaning “the color Green;” symbolic for being the “essence of the country.” You are relatively more likely to find people having this last name in the United States, Australia, and of course Greece.
Spelling in Greek: Χριστοδουλόπουλος
Surname meaning: The “descendant of Christ’s servants.”
This Greek surname, with its feminine form being Christodoulopoulou, is seemingly long, yet easy and fun to pronounce once you get the hang of it. It’s a saintly surname that’s in line with the deep religious connection Greeks have with Christianity. A child having the last name Christodoulopoulos will be imbibing great strength and responsibility for being associated as the “descendant of the servants of Christ”.
Spelling in Greek: Δανιτόπουλος
Surname meaning: “Son of Daniel.”
Once again, this is a Greek surname in line with the strong connection Greeks associate with Christianity and the Bible. The name is self-explanatory as it means “son of Daniel.”
Spelling in Greek: Δημητρίου
Surname meaning: “Child or follower of Demeter.”
This Hellenic, Christian surname of Greek origin has a wonderful meaning. It means the “child of Demeter, the Greek goddess of fertility.” The goddess ‘Demeter,’ as we know, connotes incredible positive vibes. Demeter presides over grains, for a great harvest. She stood to be the goddess of the cycle of life and death and sacred law.
Spelling in Greek: δουγενης
Surname meaning: A combination of the words ‘doulos’ and ‘genes,’ meaning “slave, servant” and “being born,” respectively.
Dougenis is another wonderful Greek surname that reminds us to be humble and thankful for being born, and our responsibility to act in all humility as a servant of God. This is another popular surname in Greece and Greek-speaking communities spread across the world.
Spelling in Greek: Δράκων
Surname meaning: “Dragon” or “ogre.”
Drakos is yet another authentic-sounding Greek surname. It has high-density, popularity as a surname in both Greece and Cyprus. It’s an omen name associated with a desire that the child so named shall grow up to be strong like an ogre.
Spelling in Greek: Οικονόμος
Surname meaning: “Steward.”
Economos is an occupational surname derived from the Greek word ‘oikonomos,’ which means “a steward.’ This surname is given to a steward or a person who manages a property.
Spelling in Greek: Φλωράκης
Surname meaning:: ‘Flor’ means “flower,” while ‘akis’ is a suffix that means the “person hails from a place called ‘Crete.”
This beautiful two-part surname of Greek origin means “flower, blossom, or virginity.” Famous name bearers include Charilaos Florakis (1914–2005), who was the leader of the Communist Party of Greece, and Evangelos Florakis (1943–2002), a Greek army officer who commanded the Cypriot National Guard.
Spelling in Greek: Γαλανής
Surname meaning: “Person with light blue eyes.”
‘Galanis’ is a popular Greek surname originating from the Greek word “galanos”, which means “azure” or “pale blue.” One of the most famous name bearers includes the Athens, Greece born early 20th-century artist ‘Demetrios Galanis’ (17 May 1879 – 20 March 1966), who was a friend of Picasso.
Spelling in Greek: Γεωργίου
Surname meaning: “Wife or kin (son, daughter, or wife) of Georgios.”
This popular surname is derived from the husband or father’s name ‘Georgios.’ It’s the top surname in the predominantly Greek island nation of Cyprus, while the incidence of this surname is also highly ranked in Greece. All in all, ‘Georgiou’ is a common Greek surname in many other countries, especially across Europe, Canada, Australia, and the United States.
Spelling in Greek: Χασάπης
Surname meaning: “Butcher.”
This Greek surname is derived from the Greek word “chasapi,” which is how it gets the occupational meaning “butcher.” This means Hasapis is most often used by people in the same profession. A majority of people with this surname are found in the United States, though its highest density of occurrence is in Cyprus.
Spelling in Greek: Χατζής
Surname meaning: “Person who has completed a pilgrimage.”
The surname Hatzi is the Greek annotation of the Arabic ‘Hajj,’ which means “a person having completed a pilgrimage.” Furthermore, it is derived from the Greek vocabulary word ‘Khatzis,’ meaning “pilgrim to Jerusalem.” Today, Hatzi is a surname with high prevalence within its country of origin ‘Greece,’ followed by other countries like the U.S., Canada, and Australia among others.
Spelling in Greek: Ιωάννου
Surname meaning: “Child of John.”
This surname is more common in Greece and Cyprus, while also being prevalent in England, Australia, and a few other countries. Ioannou is pronounced as I-o –nou, and its meaning is “child of John.” Biblically, as per the New Testament, ‘John’ was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus.
Spelling in Greek: Ηρακλίδης
Surname meaning: “Son of Herakles (Hercules).”
This rare Greek surname is the modern variant of the first name ‘Herakleides.’ It means “son of Herakles,” who is a divine Greek mythological hero. Herakles (Hercules in Roman) is one of the most popular Greco-Roman heroes. In terms of its prevalence as a surname, the incidence of Iraklidis is highest in Greece, Cyprus, followed by Germany.
Spelling in Greek: Καζάν
Surname meaning: “People who manufacture cauldrons.”
This occupational surname is for people who make cauldrons. Moreover, it’s a surname given to those that make use of a cauldron for alcohol — ‘ouzo’ or ‘raki’ — distillation. Kazan is the shorter version of ‘Kazandis,’ which, again, means “people who manufacture cauldrons.”
Spelling in Greek: Κόκκινος
Surname meaning: “The color red.”
It’s a common fact that historically surnames evolved as a way to sort people into groups. Grouping per a common occupation, place of origin, clan affiliation, etc., was commonplace. But, so was grouping according to physical characteristics, like having “red hair” for instance. The Geek surname Kokkinos is one such surname. This last name means “the color red,” and today, it’s most prevalent in Greece, and in high density in the other predominantly Greek nation — Cyprus. Outside these Greek nations, the incidence of its prevalence is highest in the United States.
Spelling in Greek: Κυριάκου
Surname meaning: “Of the Lord.”
This Greek (Cypriot) surname means son of ‘Kyriakos,’ which implies “of the Lord.” It’s a rare sounding name, especially if you’re out ‘West’ (English-speaking countries), yet it’s an upper class, saintly Greek surname. Some common variant transcriptions include Kyriacou and Kiriakou.
Spelling in Greek: Λευιδης
Surname meaning: “Son of Levi.”
This Greek surname is a patronymic surname meaning “son of Levi.” As per the Old Testament, Levi (name of Hebrew origin, meaning “joined, attached”) was Jacob and Leah’s third son. He was an ancestor of one of the twelve Israelite tribes — The ‘Levites’ tribe.
Spelling in Greek: Λουκάνης
Surname meaning: “Sausage Maker, butcher.”
‘Loukanis’ is a Greek occupational surname, meant for someone who is a “butcher” or a “sausage maker.” Like with many of the Greek surnames, this surname is most prevalent in the United States, with the greatest relative density in Greece.
Spelling in Greek: Μαρκόπουλος
Surname meaning: “Son of Mark”
This Greek surname ends in the typical Greek fashion, with the patronymic “Poulos” ending. The first part of the surname is, ‘Mark,’ which is an ancient Greek name that means “god of war” or “consecrated to the god of Mars.” The female form of this surname is Markopoulou. Famous name bearers include American filmmaker Gregory Markopoulos.
Spelling in Greek: Μουστάκας
Surname meaning: “Person with a mustache.”
The top countries you’re likely to find the prevalence of the Greek last name ‘Moustakas’ are Greece and the United States. ‘Clark Moustakas,’ who is an American psychologist, and ‘Mike Moustakas,’ an American baseball player, are two among several notable famous bearers of the surname Moustakas.
Spelling in Greek: Νικολαΐδης
Surname meaning: “The son of Nikolaos (Nicolaos)”
‘Nicolaides’ is from the category of Greek surnames that are patronymic, which is why its literal meaning is “the son of Nikolaos.” Another form of the name is Nicholson, which is its English equivalent.
Spelling in Greek: Νομικός
Surname meaning: “With relevance to the law” or “legal.”
The rare surname ‘Nomikos,’ meaning “relating to the law,” is most prevalent in its country of origin, Greece. Though not many, you can find incidences of people having this last name in the U.S. and several other countries as well.
Spelling in Greek: Όθωνος
Surname meaning: “Wealth” or “fortune.”
This common Greek surname is derived from the Greek word ‘Otto,’ the meaning of which is “wealth” or “fortune.“ As of now, this last name is more common in Cyprus than in Greece.
Spelling in Greek: Παπαδάκης
Surname meaning: Papa means “father or priest,” while ‘akis’ is a suffix that means “stemming from a place called ‘Crete.”
The female variant of this surname is ‘Papadaki’ (Greek: Παπαδάκη). ‘Papadakis’ is a common last name with many notable name bearers from Greece. Cyprus, and other countries. Among them are the fictional character Hannie Papadakis, who is a character from the novel and Netflix series ‘The Baby-Sitters-Club.’
Spelling in Greek: Παπαδόπουλος
Surname meaning: “Son of a priest.”
Among popular Greek surnames, the surname ‘Papadopoulos’ is the one with the easiest recall and recognition on a global level. It is among the most commonly used surnames in Greece, Cyprus, and countries of the Greek diaspora like the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, and others. People trying to say the catchy surname are particularly enthused by the way the name rolls off the tongue in a fun, easy manner.
Spelling in Greek: Περσόπουλος
Surname meaning: “Descendant of a Persian”
This Greek surname is more prevalent in Canada than in Greece. The name means “descendant of a Persian” or “son of a Persian,” therefore, it’s a surname having the charm of both these incredible ancient cultures.
Spelling in Greek: Πετράκης
Surname meaning: Derived from “Petros, or Peter.”
‘Petrakis’ is a patronymic surname that is derived from the given name ‘Petros,’ which is the Greek variant of the English name ‘Peter.’ It’s a surname with a majority of its name bearers situated in the United States, followed by Greece having the second-highest distribution.
Spelling in Greek: Ρέλα
Surname meaning: Occupational — “Embroiderer.”
In line with the fact that Greek surnames track down a person’s ancestry, the surname ‘Rella’ is occupational, and is the short version of ‘Rellas’ or ‘Rellakis.’ The occupation it is associated with is that of an “embroiderer.” Rella is derived from the word “reli,” meaning “hem” or “border”.
Spelling in Greek: Σαρρής
Surname meaning: From the Turkish word ‘sari,’ meaning “blond.”
‘Sarris’ is a Greek Surname that evolves from the Turkish origin word ‘sari,’ which means “blond” or “fair-haired, pale.” Among notable people with the surname Sarris is the American film critic ‘Andrew Sarris,’ and the Greek footballer ‘Georgio Sarris.’ Today, Greece, the United States, and Australia are the top contenders when it comes to countries with people having this surname.
Spelling in Greek: Σάββας
Surname meaning: “Saturday” or “Sabbath.”
‘Savvas’ is a common Greek last name. It evolves from ‘Sabbas;’ the Greek form of the holy ‘Sabbath’ — a day of rest (Saturday) as per the book of Exodus. The surname is mainly prevalent in Greece and Cyprus, while also having an incidence of distribution in North America, Europe, and Australia among other countries.
Spelling in Greek: Σερβόπουλος
Surname meaning: “Son of a Serb.”
This Greek surname is location-based, with the meaning “descendant of a Serb” or “son of a Serb.” The popularity of such names is a testament to the close bond shared between Greeks and Serbs.
Spelling in Greek: Θεοδωρόπουλος
Surname meaning: “Son of Theodoros.”
This surname is derived from the Greek ‘theos’ and ‘Doron,’ which mean ‘God’ and ‘gift,’ respectively, to imply “gift of God” of “God’s gift.” The feminine form of the surname is Theodoropoulou (Θεοδωροπούλου). Of all the countries, the place where this surname has the highest prevalence and density is Greece itself. Other than Greece, you will find the incidence of the surname predominantly in the United States, Canada, and Australia.
Spelling in Greek: Βασιλάκης
Surname meaning: “Basil.”
‘Vasilakis’ is a patronymic derived from the Greek personal name ‘Vasilis,’ which in turn evolved from the Greek word ‘Vasilikos’ meaning “basil.” The ending part, ‘akis,’ is a suffix that means “stemming from the place, Crete.”
Spelling in Greek: Ξιφίας
Surname meaning: “Swordfish.”
The Greek origin surname ‘Xiphias’ pronounced as ‘Zi- fias,’ means “Swordfish.” This meaning implies a bunch of positive characteristics, including being associated with being proud, eccentric, and energetic, and to be able to walk your own path in life.
Spelling in Greek: Ζαφειρίου
Surname meaning: “Sapphire” or son of Zafeiris.”
This is another Greek patronymic name, this time meaning “son of Zafeiris.” ‘Zafeiriou’ is derived from ‘zafeiri,’ which means “sapphire.” Yet, it means “son of Zafeiris,” when being used as a surname. Other than its prevalence in origin country Greece, this name’s prevalence is rare in other countries.
Greek surnames are incredible in the way they sound and what they stand for. Whether it’s a patronymic last name or one based on physical characteristics, Christianity, an occupation, or location based, you can be sure each Geek surname connotes positivity and is backed by the country’s rich history. Another incredible feature of having a Greek surname for your baby is that many of the names have a feminine version, which is slightly modified in spelling.