125 Great German Last Names: With Unique Meanings

Did you know the meanings behind these awesome and unique German surnames?

Many traditional German last names are used internationally today, so much so that your surname may be rooted in German without you knowing!

To give us all a bit of cultural insight and history, we have listed some of the top German surnames, including all you need to know about their origins, meanings, usage, and more. Is your name on this list? Or how about a friend’s?

Take a trip to Germany with us, and keep reading to discover more about the surnames behind this rich and beautiful country.

125 Top Traditional German Last Names

These typical German names are full of history and tradition, so keep reading to learn more about each one.

  1. Albrecht – a first and last name of German origin, with the radiant meanings of “noble, bright.”
  2. Baldwin – a famous Old German surname meaning “brave friend.”
  3. Bauer – a commonly-heard surname meaning “farmer.”
  4. Baumann – also meaning “farmer,” this surname is earthy and honest.
  5. Becker – a sweet surname with cozy connotations, meaning “baker.”
  6. Berger – a surname meaning “mountain, hill” in German or “shepherd” in French.
  7. Bergmann – you’d need a hard head to bear this occupational surname, meaning “miner.”
  8. Bieber – meaning “beaver,” this animal-inspired nickname-surname may have referred to a hard worker.
  9. Bierwagen – meaning “beer cart,” this uncommon German surname brings the party!
  10. Blum – pretty and sweet, this Middle German surname means “flower.”
  11. Blumenthal – a longer variation of Blum, this delicate German and Jewish surname means “flower valley.”
  12. Bogart – a surname and male-given name, meaning “orchard” or “bowstring.”
  13. Böhm – given to a person from Bohemia.
  14. Bohn – short and sweet, this surname means “bean,” perhaps for a bean-grower.
  15. Braun – meaning “brown-haired,” Braun is a cool name for a dark-featured family.
  16. Breiner – derived from Middle High German, this surname has the unique, oaty meaning of “porridge.”
  17. Brietbarth – a badass surname for a person sporting a “broad beard.”
  18. Brodbeck – a unique variant of Becker, this specific occupational surname means “bread baker.”
  19. Busch – a German variant of the presidential surname Bush, meaning “shrub.”
  20. Dietrich – meaning “ruler of the people,” this German surname and male given name sure is grand.
  21. Dressler – the German form of the occupational surname Turner, meaning “to turn.”
  22. Dürr – this nickname-surname means “thin,” from Middle High German.
  23. Eder – a name given to someone who lived near a “wasteland.”
  24. Eichel – an earthy, nature-inspired surname, meaning “acorn.”
  25. Einstein – meaning “a rock” or “surrounded by rock,” this famous surname is loaded with smarts.
  26. Engel – full of radiance and hope, this divine German surname means “angel.”
  27. Feigenbaum – a festive-sounding German and Jewish surname meaning “fig tree.”
  28. Fischer – an occupational surname meaning “fisherman.”
  29. Fleischer – a meaty option among Yiddish and German last names, meaning “butcher.”
  30. Frank – given to a person from Franconia.
  31. Friedrich – or Friedrichs, a German surname and given name meaning “peaceful ruler.”
  32. Fuchs – meaning “fox-like,” Fuchs is for the sly folks among us.
  33. Gabler – meaning “fork,” this occupational surname would have been used for a maker of the utensil.
  34. Geier – with the harsh meaning of “vulture,” Geier is a surname with bite.
  35. Geiger – a musical surname meaning “fiddle player.”
  36. Graf – a German surname and also title of nobility, similar to a count.
  37. Gross – derived from Old High German grōz, this surname has the high-statured meaning of “big.”
  38. Gruber – the most common surname in Austria, Gruber means “pit, mine” in German.
  39. Günther – a feisty given name and last name, meaning “battle warrior.”
  40. Haas – a surname derived from a nickname, meaning “hare.”
  41. Hahn – meaning “rooster, cock,” this animal-inspired nickname is a cool surname.
  42. Hartmann – meaning “strong man,” this masculine German name is bold and powerful.
  43. Hauer – an occupational surname meaning “chopper,” possibly for someone who cuts things professionally.
  44. Heinrich – meaning “home-ruler,” just like the male given name Henry.
  45. Hermann – meaning “army man,” this is a strong masculine pick among German last names for boys.
  46. Hertz – a surname with the adorable meaning of “big-hearted.”
  47. Hoffman – a medieval surname meaning “landowner, farmer.”
  48. Holland – a geographical surname referring to a person from Holland in the Netherlands.
  49. Horn – a short yet musical surname meaning “horn.”
  50. Huber – meaning “farmer,” this German last name is earthy and rugged.
  51. Jäger – quick and cunning, Jäger means “hunter.”
  52. Jung – great for a newborn, this surname means “young.”
  53. Kahler – another German surname derived from a nickname, this one means “bald.”
  54. Kaiser – a fun surname derived from a German imperial title, similar to an emperor.
  55. Keller – meaning “cellar,” this German occupational surname would have traditionally denoted a winemaker.
  56. Kissenger – a geographical surname for a person from Bad Kissingen.
  57. Kistler – a fun-to-say occupational surname for a joiner or craftsman who creates cabinets.
  58. Klein – meaning “short, small,” this surname may be small, but it’s mighty!
  59. Klingermann – a feisty surname for a maker of weapons, meaning “blade.”
  60. Knobloch – meaning “garlic,” this sure is a pungent surname.
  61. Koch – one of the shorter German surnames meaning “cook.”
  62. Köhler – an old occupational surname for a charcoal maker.
  63. König – a regal pick among German family names, meaning “king.”
  64. Kramer – an honest surname for a “merchant, hawker, tradesman.”
  65. Krause – with the cute meaning of “curly-haired,” Krause is positively angelic.
  66. Krebs – a fun and unique animal-inspired surname meaning “crabs.”
  67. Krüger – a surname with two meanings: “potter” or “tavern-keeper.”
  68. Kühn – from the same stem as the Germanic first name Conrad, meaning “brave.”
  69. Lange – meaning “tall,” Lange is a high-reaching surname.
  70. Lichtenberg – a typical locational name for a person from Lichtenberg, meaning “light mountain.”
  71. Lorenz – a German variant of the Roman family name Laurentius, denoting a person from the ancient city of Laurentum.
  72. Ludwig – an all-powerful surname and male-given name, meaning “famous war.”
  73. Maurer – sturdy and strong, this German occupational surname means “bricklayer.”
  74. Mayer – a name with stature, meaning “bailiff.”
  75. Meier – a variant of Mayer, meaning “bailiff,” common in northern Germany.
  76. Metzger – another German and Yiddish last name meaning “butcher,” with a cool spelling.
  77. Moser – a geographical name given to someone who lived near a peat bog.
  78. Mullen – meaning “mill,” this last name also makes a unique given name.
  79. Müller – the most common of German last names, meaning “miller.”
  80. Neumann – a cool and manly choice among German last names for boys, meaning “new man.”
  81. Otto – a surname from the nickname-turned-given-name Otto, meaning “wealth.”
  82. Pfeiffer – an occupational surname after a whistle or pipe player.
  83. Pichler – a South German surname meaning “hill.”
  84. Pohl – short and sweet, meaning “one from Poland.”
  85. Prusseit – meaning “a Prussian,” is a fantastic historical surname.
  86. Rainart – meaning “strong judgment,” you’d best trust someone with this cool German last name.
  87. Richter – a no-nonsense German last name meaning “judge.”
  88. Ritter – a noble stallion of a surname meaning “knight.”
  89. Rosenbauer – a more specific variant of Bauer, meaning “rose farmer.”
  90. Roth – feisty and cool, this color-inspired pick among German surnames means “red.”
  91. Sauer – a tangy choice with the unique meaning of “sour.”
  92. Saufhaus – meaning “drink house,” Saufhaus sounds like it should be found down the pub!
  93. Schäfer – a cozy family name with the wooly meaning of “shepherd.”
  94. Schimmelpfennig – quite a mouthful, referring to someone who lets their pennies become riddled with mold.
  95. Schmidt – the German version of Smith, an occupational last name meaning “blacksmith.”
  96. Schmitz – a variation of Schmitt, also meaning “smith.”
  97. Schneider – an occupational surname meaning “tailor.”
  98. Schroeder – a Northern German occupational surname meaning “tailor.”
  99. Schubert – a cute-sounding last name meaning “shoemaker.”
  100. Schulze – a family with status, Schulze means “constable.”
  101. Schumacher – a cool occupational surname meaning “shoemaker.”
  102. Schuster – meaning “cobbler” or “shoemaker,” Schuster is a fun and gentle surname.
  103. Schwarz – meaning “black-haired,” this cool name is dark and mysterious like the night.
  104. Schwarzenegger – a famous entry among German last names, meaning “one from Schwarzenegg,” a village in Switzerland.
  105. Schwarzkopf – meaning “black-headed,” this surname may be used for a dark-haired family.
  106. Sommer – a hot surname meaning “summer,” great for an outdoorsy family.
  107. Springborn – a medieval German surname meaning “spring born,” as in living near a well or spring.
  108. Stadtler – meaning “barn,” a cool earthy German last name.
  109. Stein – with the sturdy meaning of “rock, stone,” this German surname is short yet strong.
  110. Töpfer – an occupational surname meaning “potter.”
  111. Vogel – meaning “bird,” Vogel would make an inspiring pick among German girl last names.
  112. Vogt – an occupational surname for a “bailiff.”
  113. Voigt – a friendly surname with a unique spelling, meaning “steward.”
  114. Von – not a surname by itself, but names with “von” indicate nobility, e.g., “from the family of….”
  115. Vormelker – a unique surname meaning “pre-milker.”
  116. Wagner – meaning “wagoner,” a traditional pick among German last names for boys.
  117. Walter – a last and given name derived from Old High German, with the powerful meaning of “army ruler.”
  118. Weber – a common occupational surname meaning “weaver.”
  119. Weiss – meaning “white,” this German last name is a soft, pure pick.
  120. Werner – a common last name for a loyal “defender.”
  121. Winkler – a German and Jewish surname meaning “corner” – for one who owned a corner store or lived in a corner of the land.
  122. Winter – a fabulous, frosty pick among German surnames, perfect for a festive family.
  123. Wolf – a feisty, animal-inspired last name for a wolf-like legend.
  124. Ziegler – an occupational surname meaning “brickmaker.”
  125. Zimmerman – one of the longer German surnames, meaning “carpenter.”

German Last Names FAQs

What is the Most Common German Surname?

Müller is the most commonly-heard surname in Germany, with Schmidt, Schneider, Fischer, and Weber also making the top five.

What is a Strong German Last Name?

Hartmann and Reinart are strong German last names, with Hermann, Klingermann, and Wolf also known as feisty options.

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About the Author

Madeleine Lily Webb

Madeleine is a writer from somewhere near Manchester, England. Madeleine's background in languages and linguistics has led to baby names becoming one of her favorite topics to write about. When she's not fallen down a rabbit hole of stories behind unique names, Madeleine can be found hanging out with her cat, taking photos of flowers, or dancing.