The Greek culture is rich and full of tradition. One aspect of this culture is their last names. For example, if your last name was Papadopoulos, you would be the son or daughter of a person whose first name is Papa and their last name is Dopoulos. The meaning behind this word has to do with someone who “makes bread”. With that said, there are many interesting aspects of Greek surnames such as nicknames, ethnic groups they belong to, and professions that may have been passed down from generation to generation. It’s important for people interested in the Greek language and heritage to know about these things because it will help them understand what differentiates the Greeks from other cultures.
Greek last names
Now let’s dive into some common (and uncommon) Greek surnames and their meaning:
Ariti means someone who is “approachable”, “generous” and “friendly”.
Bakirtzis.The name traces its origin to the Turkish language and means “coppersmith”.
Dimitriadis/Demetriou means child or follower of Demeter, the Greek goddess of fertility.
Elafros means “light brown”.
Galanopoulos.The Greek name traces its origin to Greek mythology and means “son of Glaukos”, but it also means “bright”.
Gatsos, Gatzoulis. The Greek word “gatsi” means “with a goat’s ear”.
Kazazis. It traces its origin to the Turkish language and means “blacksmith”.
Makris. The Greek word “makros” means “long” or “tall”. Makris is also a Greek name that means someone who is a “long branch” or a Greek name that means someone who is a “farmer”.
Orfanos. In Greek, this last name means “orphan”. This Greek surname has been given to orphans over the course of Greek history because they have no family of their own and are often most in need of a Greek family.
Sgourakis means “shoemaker”.
Xenos. The Greek word means “foreigner”.
Zeglis, Zakharis, Zaharidis. In the Greek language, this surname means someone who is from the Greek village Zakharia.
Zouzas. In Greek, this last name means “young Greek man”.
Sarafis. This Greek name comes from the Greek word “sarafi” and means “banker” or someone who is a “money exchanger”.
Fyssas. The word “fyssa” means “frog”, so name means someone who works with frogs.
Aravani. This name comes from “arava”, the Greek word for “onion/garlic”. It means “one who eats or sells onions/garlic”.
Varvoglis. The Greek word “varvogli” means “arm” so the last name means “someone who has strong arms”.
Tsoulos. The Greek word “tsolias” means “soap” so this name means “someone who makes soap”.
Katsakiori. This surname comes from the word “katsaki” which means “cat.”
Avramidis. The word “avrami” means “orange tree”, so the name is someone who works with oranges or someone who has orange trees in their garden.
Vardakas. It comes from the word “varda” which means “basket” and it is Greek for someone who makes baskets or deals with them.
Diamantopoulos is a Greek surname that means “with diamonds”, “made of diamonds”, or “full of diamonds”.
Doulos means “slave” in Greek.
Evangelopoulos is Greek for “the gospels”.
Fiolentis roughly translates to “forest-dweller.” This last name has Greek origins but also German.
Kafetzis is Greek for “coffee gourmand”.
Karpouzi is Greek for “watermelon”.
Katapodis means “clay foot” in greek.
Kavounidis means is greek for “cobblers son” or someone who makes shoes or boots.
Kolios is Greek for “shepherd”.
Kolovos is Greek for “crowns”
Laskaridis is Greek for “soldiers son.”
Latzaridis is Greek for “son of Lazarus”.
Madianis is Greek for “epidemic”.
Mantzos is Greek for “blessed”.
Mavropoulos is Greek for “black head.”
Milionis is Greek for “million”.
Mimidis is Greek for “hoarder” or someone who collects things.
Nicolopoulos is Greek for “son of Nicolas”.
Ouzounidis is Greek for “weaver”.
Vasilopoulos is Greek for “son of Vasilios”.
Verginis is Greek for “virgin”
Christoforou suggests one who is bearing Christ.
Eliades comes from the biblical name Elais.
Frangopoulos is a descendant of a Frank.
Hatzis is Greek for rabbit and means one who “does tricks in a carnival”. This surname originated in the Middle Ages.
Zeuskepoulos is Greek for one who is the “son of Zeus”. This name has been around since the 11th century. It can be attributed to someone who was believed to be the son of the Greek god Zeus.
Another name is Louzopoulos, which means one who “sells ouzo”, a Greek beverage.
Athanasopoulos means “immortal”. It was used to honour someone after they had passed away.
Galis is Greek for galleon and means one who “sails ships to sell goods”.
Iorgos symbolizes one who “protects what is his”.
Karagiannopoulos is Greek for dark-haired men.
Koutsogiannopoulos refers to someone who is a locksmith.
Ouranos is Greek for heaven; it symbolizes all that which is above us, such as wisdom and celestial phenomena.
Sismanidis is Greek for silversmith; one who fabricates or deals in silver.
Xepapadakou refers to one who makes papads, which are thin, crisp wafers.
Stavridis is Greek for master; one who is in charge of something.
Taftsidis is Greek for painter and decorator; someone in the business of painting and decoration.
Zafranidis is a Greek for saffron merchant or dealer; one who sells saffron.
Greeks have a variety of surnames that not only tell you something about who they are, but their last names can also tell you about where their family has come from. They are rich in language and make Greece unique.
Now that you have a better understanding of Greek names and some Greek history, you can appreciate their culture even more. The Greeks are known for their rich history and traditions, so it’s important to know about them.
Last names are important because they are what defines an individual. Although Greek last names vary in different regions, Greeks can be identified by their heritage that transcends language barriers. All Greeks ancestry which is why their surnames may seem familiar to anyone who knows Greek. Each name has its own meaning that is important for Greeks to know.