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Do you have family roots in Persia? Iranian last names are tied to ancient Persian names. Take a look below where you can read a little more about Iran’s history as well as their naming practices. There are even examples of popular and traditional ancient Persian names.
The History of Iranian Surnames
The majority of the surnames and given names in Iran are of Persian origin. We see some that are Arabic as well due to the conquest of Persia by the Muslim people. The Persians are considered an Iranian ethnic group and account for over half of Iran’s population.
Iran is officially called the Islam Republic of Iran and is formally known as the country of Persia. It is a Western Asian country bordered by Turkey, Armenia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Azerbaijan. This is why you will see some surnames influenced by Turkish and Armenian cultures as well. The name “Persia” became common in the western world, but the proper term is “Persis” which is derived from Greek and was a name used by foreigners in the Persian Empire.
Iranian Naming Practices
The Iranian government first introduced surnames in 1919. They didn’t exist prior. Reza Shah made surnames mandatory during his reign. Many Iranian people used their city or village as inspiration for their last name. You will see this is common suffixes such as “ani” or “azi." The most common Iranian surname is “Ahmadi.”
Many of the given names in Iran are either Arabic or Persian as well. It’s common for people to take names from Persian literature such as the “Shahnameh” which is considered a masterpiece in Iran. It is also important to note that the Persian language was only known as “Farsi.”
Popular Iranian Surnames and Meanings
- Ahmadi - This is a common Arabic family name that means “gold coin.”
- Amiri - This Iranian surname has several origins including Kurdish, Persian, and Hebrew. It means “royal” or “ruler.” It also means “descendent of Amir.”
- Azar - This is a common surname in Persian-speaking countries. It means “fire” in Persian.
- Ebrahimi - This is a very common surname in Iran. It is Iranian and Persian for “father of a multitude of many nations.”
- Khan - The meaning of this name is “ruler” or “nobleman” in Turkish.
- Maryam - This surname is derived from the Iranian girl’s name that means “drop of the sea.”
- Mirza - This is a Persian surname that was used to identify rank or royal status such as a military commander or a royal prince.
- Noor - This is an Arabic last name that means “light.”
- Rashidi - The meaning of this Arabic name is “of true faith” or “wise man.”
- Saadat - This last name is of Arabic origin and it means “good fortune.”
- Zoheri - This common Iranian surname means “booming.”
Traditional Persian Surnames and Meanings
- Abdullahi - This is a variant of the Arabic name “Abdullah” and means “God’s servant.”
- Azad - This is an Iranian, Bangladeshi, and Pakastani last name that is derived from a Persian personal name that means “freedom” or “free man.”
- Kabiri - This last name is Persian for “the great.”
- Morad - This is a surname of Arabic origin that means “wish” or “desire.”
- Sadiq - This name is derived from an Arabic boy’s name that means “honesty” or “loyalty.”
- Tayyebi - The meaning of this Iranian last name is “good.”
- Yousef - This Persian and Arabic name means “God increases.”
Even More Common Iranian Surnames
- Bahar - This last name is derived from a girl’s name and it means “spring of life” in both Arabic and Iranian.
- Ghasemi - This Iranian last name is derived from the Iranian and Persian given name “Ghasem.”
- Gul - This Persian and Turkish surname is common in Iran and means “rose.”
- Hasan - This surname is derived from a personal name and is of Muslim and Arabic origin.
- Hosseini - This Iranian last name means “handsome” or “righteous.” It also means “descendent of Hossein.”
- Mehri - This is a Persian name that comes from a female personal name that means “compassionate” and “kind.”
- Rostami - This is a Persian family name that refers to the ancient hero name “Rostam.”
- Rouhani - The meaning of this Islamic name is “spiritual” or “cleric.” It also has origins in Persian as well.
- Shah - This last name is derived from a title given to kings and emperors in Iran.
- Tehran - This name is derived from a Persian topographic name that means “bottom of a mountain slope.”