The Armenian surname is a legacy of the past. It’s not just about your family, it’s about who you are and where you came from. There are over 600 Armenian last names that have been passed down through generations, each with its own history to tell. In this blog post, we’ll go over some of the most common surnames in Armenia today and their origins.
Popular Armenian last names and their meaning
Abrahamyan is a very common Armenian surname, which basically means “son of Abraham”. It has Armenian origins.
Abelyan means “son of Abel”. It is among the most popular Armenian names.
Aleksanyan means “son of Aleksan”. This last name is among the oldest in the country.
Avagyan means “son of Avag”.
Davtyan means “son of Davit”.
As you can see there are quite a lot of names that follow the same naming convention. Here is just the list of the ones you might encounter in Armenia:
Barseghyan, Danielyan, Galstyan, Gasparyan, Ghazaryan, Grigoryan, Hayrapetyan, Markosyan, Nazaretvan, Panosyan, Torosyan.
But throughout Armenia, this is not the only style of last names used obviously. Here are some more examples:
Agassi has Armenian or Persian origins. It is a patronymic for someone who resembles a magpie.
Djanayan is an old surname that comes from the Armenian verb “djamo,” which means “to see.”
Karapetian. The word comes from the phrase “Kara petakan,” which means black boot in English. After all, everyone needs a good pair of boots during winter time!
Manoukian is derived from Armenia’s favorite national hero and protagonist of many poems and folk songs, “Manouk”.
Donabedian represents “head of a festival” and is an old surname.
Ter-Osdzounderjian is an old surname that derives from the words “ter,” meaning “field” or “earth,” and “osdzounderjian”, meaning “chief of the tribe.”
Muradian comes from the Armenian word for “wall.” Many families with this last name were in the construction sector in the past.
Berberian is a common surname, likely from Armenia’s neighbors Iran and Turkey. There is speculation that this last name could also originate from the Greek word “barbaros,” which means “not speaking clearly.” In other words, it identifies someone who cannot communicate very well in a specific language.
Hagopian is a common surname and derives from the words “hagh,” which means “joy,” and “pian”, meaning “to originate.” This last name typically identifies someone who is jovial and fun-loving.
Arakelian comes from the words “arakel,” which means “lion,” and “ian,” which means “born of.” This last name can either mean someone who is born in a place called Arakel or someone who has the characteristics of a lion.
Mkrtchian originates from the words “mkrts,” which means “cross,” and ian, which means “born of.” This last name is typically given to those who are catholic or orthodox
Terzian is an old surname that comes from the word “terzi,” which means “tailor”. This surname is typically associated with those who are taylors or not of noble blood.
Hovanessian originates from the name Hovanes, which was popular during medieval times.
Ter-Petrosyan is derived from the words “ter,” which means “earth,” and “petros,” which means “rock.” This last name typically identifies someone who is strong.
Grigorian originates from the word “grigor,” which means “chief.”
Hakopian is an old surname that derives from the name Hakob, which was popular during the 1000s.
Bedrosian comes from the words “bedros” and ian, which both mean “bright.” This typically identifies people who are bright and colorful.
Kasparian originates from the word “kasper,” which means “treasure” in Aramaic.
Papazian is found among Catholics and Orthodox Armenians, likely because it indicates that one’s family was catholic or orthodox during the medieval times when Armenia adopted Christianity as its official religion.
Zakarian is a very old Armenian name. It likely comes from the word “zag,” which means “white,” and ian, which means “born of.”
Mesropian originates from the words “mesrob”, which means “priest”.
Ardzivian is an old Armenian name that comes from the word “ardzi”, which means “magnificent”.
Atamian originates from the word atam, which means “uncle.”
Tashdjian is an old Armenian name that comes from the words “tas”, meaning “son of,” and djana or djanak, both meaning “female angel.”
Derderian is a last name that comes from the Armenian word “der,” which means “rose.”
Sahakyan originates from the Armenian word “sahak,” which means “falcon”.
Yazidi is an old last name that comes from the word “yazata,” which means “worshipper” or “angel.”
Movsessian originates from Armenia as well as other countries, including Greece and Russia. The most plausible explanation for this last name is that it comes from the Armenian word “ovsager,” which means “one who carries bows.”
Serebrian is derived from the Armenian word “sev,” which means love. It used to be a last name for someone who was an artist, musician or poet.
An other one among Armenia’s most popular surnames: Sargsyan is derived from the Armenian word “sarke,” which means beautiful or handsome.
Kechichian is a last name that comes from Asia. It’s derived from the Armenian verb “kech,” which means “to kiss”.
Tashjian originates from Armenia as well as other countries such as Georgia and Azerbaijan. The word comes from the Armenian verb “taskem,” which means “to touch.”
Garabedian originates from Armenia’s favorite saint, St. Garabed who was known for his great hospitality.
Aramian is an old last name in Armenia. It comes from the word “arami,” which means proud or unshakable.
Margossian originates from the Armenian word “margo,” which means “bad or evil”. This last name was likely given to someone with bad characteristics.
Yesayan originates from the word “yes,” which means big in Armenian. It represents someone who is tall and large in stature.
Did you know that the name of your last name literally says a lot about who you are? Armenian surnames can be traced back to where families came from, occupations and what they did in life.
For example, if someone’s surname is “Alakhyan” it means that he or she was born in Alakahya (a region in Armenia).
The same goes for names like Dzhigitskiyans – meaning one lived by a forest.
Baghramians means one lives near an almond tree.
Vardanyan means one lives on top of a mountain.
The Armenian language is a Semitic language that was originally written in the Arabic script. In order to be considered an Armenian last name, it must have been translated into Cyrillic or Latin alphabet from the original այր (ayr) and Արենափ-Կ (arenapk).