9 junio, 2024

The 100 most common Mexican surnames and their meanings

The mexican surnames they illustrate the way in which the local culture was united with that of the Spaniards who arrived in America in the 16th century. A wide and diverse imaginary can be found in the most popular surnames in Mexico.

Some of the local tribes, such as the Mayans, had created their own system of names and surnames. These generally had a close relationship with nature, geography, the gods or the characteristics of the person.

However, when the indigenous Mexicans began to convert to Catholicism, many preferred to take the Spanish translation of it as their last name. Likewise, they left behind their names and took Christian names.

Although some did keep their surnames in the original language, they are a minority. That is why they are not reflected in the list of the most common Mexican surnames that covers the inhabitants of this Latin American country today.

In Mexico two surnames are used, first infants are given their father’s surname and secondly that of the mother. Women can choose whether to change their maiden name upon marriage and adopt their husband’s.

List of Mexican surnames

– Acosta

This is a toponymic surname, as it is linked to a geographical feature of the place where a person lived or their place of birth. In this case, they were referring to a place near the coast of a river, the sea or a lake.


It means ‘place inhabited by eagles’ or ‘place where eagles live’. It is rooted in the term I will eagle from Latin like other surnames such as Aguilera. It belongs to the category of place names.


It was derived from a Basque word (ageri), which means ‘open’ or ‘exposed’ and was usually used as a place name, which is why it was later adopted as a surname by the inhabitants of those areas.


Several meanings have been given to this surname, one related it to the Spanish Goths and affirms that it derived from the name Allawarja (‘total guardian’). It has also been linked to Latin albus (‘white’) and translates as ‘whited place’ (by snow).

– Alvarez

It means ‘son of Álvaro’, a name with controversial roots, because although it is known to be of Nordic origin, the root is not exactly known, which can be: Hallvarðr (‘guardian strong as a rock’), Alvö (‘the one who sleeps ‘), Allawarja (‘total guardian’), among others.

– Avila

This Mexican surname is a place name related to the Spanish city of the same name and was given to those born in these lands during the Middle Ages. It can mean ‘protected by walls’, ‘high mountain’ or ‘thicket’.

– Baptist

It is a patronymic surname that came off the homograph proper name that has its origin in the Greek Baptistes, which means ‘the one who baptizes’. It became popular thanks to Saint John the Baptist, a Jewish preacher who became a central figure in Christianity.

– Cabrera

It is another place name, in this case its meaning is ‘place of the goats’ and comes from the term capraria In latin. It spread to places where cattle breeding was frequent.

– Camacho

The origin of this surname has been debated, as some suggest that it comes from French and others that it arose in Portugal. It means ‘the one who lives on the mountain’, which is why it is considered a place name and became popular throughout America with the arrival of the Spanish.

– Fields

It derived from the Latin word campus which means ‘large piece of land located outside the city’. In some cases it can be considered a common surname, in others a place name, since it describes the geography or refers to the name of a place.

– Cardenas

The roots of this surname are in the Latin language, specifically in cardinus, a term that translates as ‘bluish’. It comes from the thistle, a plant that produces light blue flowers. It is also a Spanish place name of the population of Cárdenas, Rioja.

– Cheek

It refers to the homonymous part of the body (the inner face of the cheeks). This last name was originally given to people who had prominent cheeks as a descriptive nickname for their physique.

– Castaneda

Comes from latin castanea, which passed into Spanish as castañeda and means ‘place populated by chestnuts’. This is why it is considered a place name referring to a place with abundant chestnut trees.

– Castle

It is related to the name of the defensive building of the same name, very popular in the Middle Ages. Castillo is the Spanish form that took the Latin term castellum and was probably adopted by local lords or their servants.


It is considered a place name because it derives from the Latin word castrum, which means ‘fortress’ or ‘walled city’. It is thought that it was given as a last name to those who lived inside these buildings.

– Cervantes

It became popular as a place name for an area of ​​Lugo, Spain. It is thought to be a word derived from «deer» and one of the meanings that have been proposed for this surname is ‘son of the deer’.

– Chavez

This surname has Portuguese roots, as it comes from the word chaveswhich in this language means ‘keys’ (with the same Latin root clavis). When it began to be used in Spain, the letter «s» was changed to a «z».

– Contreras

This surname has a controversial origin, since some linguists have suggested that it comes from «Contrebia» a name given by the Romans to various cities in Spain; others claim that it derived from contrary (‘opposite’ in Latin) or from the Spanish word “encuentro”.

– Cuts

It comes from the French word curteis, which was used to refer to someone with good manners, polite, friendly or elegant. It was generally applied to members of royalty or to designate the monarch’s companions.

– Cross

This Mexican surname was derived from the Latin crux. Among the Christian population it became popular as a proper name that paid homage to the death of Jesus of Nazareth and later became a patronymic. It was also frequently used as a toponymic surname.

– From the cross

It spread as a toponymic since it accompanied the first name of an individual and denoted their place of residence or origin. In this case, it was a population that included the word “cross”.

– Slim

This nickname was generally assigned to people who stood out for having little weight. It is related to the physical characteristics of the individual, which is why this surname is considered within the descriptive category.

– Diaz

This is the patronymic derived from the name Diago or Diego, which is one of the Spanish variants of Ya’akov, a name of Hebrew origin that means ‘supported by the heel’. Employs one of the Spanish patronymic suffixes -az (‘son of’).

– Dominguez

It means ‘son of Dominic’; it is considered a patronymic surname (since it uses the suffix -ez). This given name was very popular among Christians, as it was assigned in honor of festivities such as Palm Sunday, or the day on which mass is celebrated (Sunday).

– Thorny

This surname comes from the word «thorn» and refers to a place where trees with thorns abound. Several Spanish cities have this name, which is why it became popular among its inhabitants as a place name.

– Spinoza

It is another of the variants of Espinosa like Spinoza and Spinohza. He was adopted by many Christians in honor of the crown of thorns that Christ wore on his way to the cross and some Sephardic Jews adopted this surname to avoid being persecuted.

– Road

Comes from latin strata and means ‘way’ or ‘via’. This term was used in the north of Spain to call various populations and, then, it began to be used by its inhabitants as a toponymic surname.

– Fernandez

It is the patronymic surname of the name Fernando. This is a proper name of German origin, its interpretation is diverse and among the proposed meanings are ‘bold peacemaker’, ‘brave traveler’ or ‘brave in peace’.

– Flowers

When it comes from the Latin word flower means ‘flower’. Also used as a proper name, it is classified as a common surname. It is thought that in the Flórez spelling it can be a patronymic of the names Fruela or Froyla (‘lord of these lands’).

– Sources

This surname was generally used as a place name, since it was given to people who lived or were born in a place near a water source or in a city that had this word as part of its name.

– Garcia

It is in second place in the top of the most popular surnames in Mexico. It is a patronymic of Basque origin, as it has its roots in the word artz either hartzwhich means ‘bear’, or in kartzea (‘Bear’). It also used to be used as a proper name.

– Gomez

It was derived from the male given name Gome or Gomo; This is a Spanish adaptation of the Germanic term gumazwhich means ‘man’ (since it uses the same root as the Latin homo). This surname is a patronymic and uses the suffix -ez, which translates as ‘son of’.

– Gonzalez

This last name means ‘son of Gonzalo’ and is the fifth most common in Mexico. It is the patronymic of a Gothic name that passed into Latin as Gundisalvus and into Spanish as Gonzalo and this means ‘warrior soul’ or ‘ready to fight’.

– Warrior

It has been listed as a trade surname. It was used as a nickname for people who fought in an army, knights, or those who served as mercenaries working as paid warriors.

– Gutierrez

This patronymic surname originated from the German name Walter, in its Spanish variant Gutierre. Its meaning is ‘chief of the army’, ‘warrior of the forest’ or ‘mighty warrior’.

– Guzman

It has two possible origins, both from Germanic languages: one of them is gutmann (‘good man’). It is also thought to come from the Danish name Gudsmand (‘man of God’).

– Hernandez

It is the most common Mexican surname, meaning ‘son of Hernando’, which is one of the Spanish forms of Firthunands a Germanic name (with the same root as Fernando). This translates as ‘bold peacemaker’ and has also been interpreted as ‘adventurous traveler’.

– Herrera

It was given as a nickname to individuals who worked with metals (forging them and creating artifacts). The root of this common Mexican surname is occupational is in the Latin word ironwhich means ‘iron’.

– Vegetable garden

This common Mexican surname is a place name that comes from the Spanish noun homograph which, in turn, derived from the Latin term hortus (‘cultivation land in which vegetables, fruits and legumes are planted’).

– Ibarra

This is a common Mexican surname, it is a place name of Basque or Basque origin, since it is the equivalent in this language to the word ‘vega’, which is defined as a fertile and flat land, which is constantly moistened by a river.

– Jimenez


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