Most Greek last names are very unique, long and difficult for many other cultures to pronounce. The most common Greek last name of all…Papadopoulos! In Greece, the Papadopoulos last name is like “Smith”.
A research study was undertaken by the Supreme Council for Civil Personnel Selection (ASEP) to determine the most common Greek surnames. Listed below are the Top 20, with Papadopoulos, of course, in 1st place right at the top. Have a look and let us know if you have one of these last names in our comments!
# 1. PAPADOPOULOS (Son of the Priest)
# 2. PAPPAS (Priest)
# 3. KARAGIANNIS
(Black-haired Giannis, “Kara” in Turkish means black)
# 4. VLAHOS (Early Greeks from the Roman era)
# 5. IOANNIDIS (Son of Ioannis)
# 6. OIKONOMOU
(Translated to Ikonomou or Economou, Housekeeper, Accountant, Steward)
# 7. PAPAGEORGIOU (Son of Father George)
# 8. ΜΑΚRIS (Meaning “long,” most likely describing a tall person)
# 9. KONSTANTINIDIS (Son of Konstantinos)
# 10. DIMOPOULOS (Son of Dimos)
# 11. GEORGIADIS (Son of George)
# 12. PAPADIMITRIOU (Of Father Dimitrios)
# 13. PAPADAKIS (Son of the Priest)
# 14. ΑΝΤOΝΙΟΥ (Of Antonios)
# 15. PAPANIKOLAOU (Of Father Nikolaos
# 16. PANAGIOTOPOULOS (Son of Panagiotis)
# 17. VASILIOU (Of Vassilis)
# 18. GIANNOPOULOS (Son of Giannis)
# 19. NIKOLAOU (Of Nikolaos)
# 20. VASILIADIS (Son of Vassilis)
Many Greek surnames are derived from the occupation of the name-bearer, just as they are in Anglo-Saxon titles. So one can see how important priesthood was in Greek history by looking at the top two most popular Greek names.
Mylonas (miller), Raptis (tailor), Psomas (bread maker), Samaras (saddle maker), Tsopanidis (son of the shepherd), Kanatas (jug maker), and Sideras (ironsmith) are all names that clearly show how one’s great pappou made a living. Greek last names are sometimes derived from first names.
This is why back in the day when we use to open phonebooks we would see so many Georgiadis, Konstantinidis, Georgiou, Nikolopoulos, Christopoulos, Giannakopoulos, Filippidis, and so on. Moreover, at times other Greek surnames will refer to a person’s birthplace or ancestors’ homeland.
Like Parios. The Greek famous singer’s last name Giannis Parios which is derived from the island of Paros. Many more names include: Agrafiotis, Samiotis, Hiotis, Kritikos, Maniatis definitely show the place of origin of the individual first bearing the name.
Greek last name suffixes typically show the region one’s ancestors lived in as well. For example, the suffix -akis in a surname shows they are from Crete. One of the most common last names in Crete is Papadakis, meaning “the son of a priest.”
In Greece, the suffix changes for females. If the last name is Papadopoulos, for a female, it becomes Papadopoulou. Moreover, if the family name is Konstantinidis, in Greece, the last name becomes Konstantinidi with no “s” at the end for females.
If Papadakis was from the Peloponnese region, he would then be called Papadopoulos. If he hailed from the Mani area, he would be a Papadakos, since the -akos suffix is usually from Messinia and Laconia.
In Northern Greece, and mostly in Macedonia, last names end with -idis or -adis, as they also do with Greeks of Pontian extraction. If someone is named Savvidis, Ioannidis, Georgiadis, Vasiliadis, Makridis, Lazaridis, Kazantzidis odds are his family is either Macedonian or Pontian.
Sometimes, Greek last names are even named after vegetables like Kolokithas (pumpkin), Kremidas (onion), Agourias (cucumber) See the Funniest Greek Last Names
Stuck on what to name your newborn? See the Top 20 Greek Baby Names
Do you have one of the Top 20 last names? Let us know and what part of Greece you’re from in our comments.