Family name origins & meanings
- Jewish (Ashkenazic) : surname used as a translation of Cohen, from German Kaplan or Polish kapłan ‘chaplain’, ‘curate’.
- German, Swedish, Czech, and Slovenian; Slovak (Kaplán); Polish (Kapłan); Hungarian (Káplán) : status name for a deacon, chaplain, or curate (ultimately from Late Latin capellanus (see Chaplin 1), or a nickname for someone resembling a clergyman).
- Turkish : from kablan ‘tiger’, hence a nickname for someone thought to resemble a tiger, typically in having indomitable courage or spirit. In the form Kaplanis, this is also found as a Greek surname, with various patronymic and other derivatives (Kaplanidis, Kaplanoglou, Kaplanellis, etc.)