Brazilian Last Names
Depending on your heritage, your last name could have some Brazilian roots. Brazil is a melting pot that features several languages and cultures. Find out more information below on naming history and check to see if your surname made the list.
Origin of Brazilian Surnames
Brazil is the largest country in South America and many of its last names come from other countries. In the 18th to 20 centuries, people from all over immigrated and colonized Brazil. This included Portugal, Spain, Italy, Japan, and more. If you have Portuguese ancestry, your family may have ties to Brazil. The colonization also is a major reason why Brazil’s official language is Portuguese and also why the Brazilian people adopted the Portuguese people’s naming traditions.
Naming Traditions in Brazil
When it comes to last names, the people of Brazil typically have two. They take on both their mother and father’s surnames to continue both family lines. Most Brazilian women will drop their mother’s name and replace it with their husband’s name after marriage. Though, it is not uncommon for some women to keep both and have three surnames.
Place names were most commonly the inspiration behind choosing a family’s last name. Brazil is a country that wants to preserve its history and using places as the base of last names helps them to do that. “Silva” is the most common surname in Brazil.
Most Common Brazilian Surnames
- Almeida - This is a Portuguese and Spanish habitational surname for any of the places called Almeida in Portugal.
- Alves - This Brazilian surname is patronymic for “son of Alvaro.”
- Barbosa - This surname is of Portuguese and Galician origin. “Barba” is for a type of plant and “osa” is the place that is rich in the plant. It is a topographic name.
- Batista - This Spanish, Catalan, and Portuguese last name is derived from the personal name “Baptiste.” It is Greek for “baptizer.”
- Carvalho - This is a Portuguese topographic name for someone who lives near a conspicuous oak tree.
- Correia - This is an occupational surname for someone who makes or sells leather straps. It is of Portuguese origin.
- Fernandes - This is one of the most common surnames in Portugal. It is patronymic for “son of Fernando.”
- Ferreira - This is a Galician and Portuguese topographic last name for someone who lived near iron workings or a forge.
- Gomes - This is a Portuguese and Old Galician surname that is derived from the Visigothic word “Guma” which means “man.”
- Macedo - This is a Portuguese topographic name for someone who lived near an apple grove. It is also a Galician habitational name for someone who lived in the village of the same name in the Lugo province in Galicia.
- Marques - This Portuguese surname is patronymic for “son of Marcos.”
- Martins - This Portuguese surname is patronymic for “son of Martim.”
- Oliveira - This is a Galician and Portuguese topographic name for someone who lived near an olive grove.
- Pereira - This is a Galician and Portuguese topographic name for someone who lived near a pear tree.
- Ramos - This is a Portuguese and Spanish topographic name for someone who lived near a thickly wooded area.
- Reis - This family name is popular in Southern Portugal. It is a biblical name that is the short form of “de Reis” or “of the Kings.”
- Rocha - This is a popular last name in Brazil. It means “rock” or “boulder” in Portuguese.
- Rodrigues - This name if of Portuguese origin and it is patronymic for “son of Rodrigo.”
- Silva - This is a Galician and Portuguese topographic surname for someone who lived near a thicket.
- Sousa/Souza - This is a Portuguese habitational name for someone who lived by the Sousa River in Portugal.
- Teixeira - This Portuguese and Galician surname is derived from the word “teixo” which means “yew tree.”
More Popular Brazilian Surnames
- Afonso - This last name is derived from a personal name and has both Spanish and Italian roots. It means “noble and ready.”
- Cardoso - This name is of Portuguese and Galician origin and it means “full of thistle.”
- Castro - This is an Iberian surname that is derived from the Latin word “castrum” which means “castle” or “fortress.”
- Costa - This is a Portuguese and Italian topographic name for someone who lived on a riverbank or the ocean coast.
- Cruz - First found in Spain, this Iberian last name comes from the Spanish word for “cross.”
- Garcia - This Iberian last name is derived from the Basque word “Garza” which means “young.”
- Henriques - This name is patronymic for “son of Henrique,” which is the Portuguese form of “Henry.”
- Jose - Also a personal name, this last name is the Portuguese form of “Joseph” and it means “He shall add.”
- Matos - This is a topographic surname for someone in Portugal who lived near woods or forests.
- Melo - This is a habitational name for the town Melro and it means “blackbird” in Portuguese.
- Nunes - This Portuguese surname is patronymic for “son of Nuno.”
- Pedro - This is the Portuguese form of “Peter.” It is also derived from the Latin word “petra” which means “rock.”
- Ribeiro - This last name is derived from the Castilian word “Rivera” which means “river” or “creek.”