100+ Brazilian Last Names With Meanings And History

Georgia Stone
Feb 16, 2024 By Georgia Stone
Originally Published on Oct 28, 2020
Brazil flag waving in the foreground


The largest country in South America with a population of 207,900,000, Brazil provides a vast array of last names, but not all of the surnames in Brazil come from that country.

Like most places, it has seen its fair share of immigration throughout history so the last names you see used in Brazil also come from Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Italy, and other countries. Brazilian names often provide genealogical clues to where a family have lived, since they often use place names as surnames.

Some common surnames among people in Brazil include Cruz, Franco, and Esteves, but you will find a few rarer last names too, such as Rachlyn and Raij. The surname Brazil itself refers to a "wood of red color sometimes used to make red dye" as well as "a type of edible nut".

Many people in Brazil have more than one last name. Typically, a native Brazilian has two surnames, or sometimes three. Brazilian last names consist of both the mother and the father's last names. When a woman marries, she often takes her spouse's last name as well.

For more surname ideas from around the world, take a look at these Icelandic surnames and these Southern last names from the USA.

Ancient Surnames In Brazil

You can still find a handful of ancient Brazilian names amongst the people of Brazil. Some of these surnames go back to a time before organized governments and paper records since they stem from the native peoples of the Americas. Others hearken back to medieval times and may represent some of the first people to settle in Brazil.

1. Acanfora (Italian, Medieval Italian, Portuguese Origin) from the medieval personal name Canfora, meaning "camphor"

2. Afonso (Portuguese, Iberian Origin) from the first dynasty and King of Portugal, Afonso Henriques; denoting an illegitimate child of that dynastic line

3. Beça (Portuguese Origin) an ancient medieval surname

4. Bocaiúva (Portuguese Origin) from the indigenous Brazilian last name for the American Indian nation who lived in the Minas Gerais region

5. Quaresma (Biblical Portuguese Origin) meaning "lent"

6. Tupinambás (Portuguese Origin) from the indigenous Brazilian name for the American Indian nation that lived along the Brazilian coast from the Guanabara Bay to the mouth of the Amazon River

Rare Last Names In Brazil

Some last names found in Brazil prove rare because few individuals from where they originated moved to Brazil, but others became rare as a name is dying when those who remain in its ancestral line die over the generations.

7. Rachlyn (Jewish; Polish; Brazilian Origin) a Portuguese derivative of the Jewish surname Rachman, this is only found rarely in Brazil.

8. Raij (Spanish, Judeo-Spanish, Portuguese, Romani-Caló Origin) meaning "rice"

9. Schmidt (German Origin) referring to an individual employed as a blacksmith

Common Surnames In Brazil

Some last names used in Brazil sound similar to those in or originate from many Spanish speaking countries. This is because many ancestors of those now living in Brazil once lived in Spain, Portugal, Iberia, or were the Aboriginal people of the South and North Americas.

Many of these Brazilian last names refer to the area of origin of the ancestors.

10. Acampora (Portuguese Origin) meaning "camphor"

11. Alegre (Spanish, Portuguese Origin) meaning "bright; merry"

12. Almada (Portuguese Origin) from the place name of the same name; a last name for those with familial origin in that city

13. Almeida (Portuguese Origin) from the city name in Portugal

14. Alvarenga (Portuguese Origin) from the place name of the same name; a last name for those with familial origin in that city

15. Alvarez (Portuguese Origin) meaning "son of Alvaro"

16. Alves (Portuguese Origin) meaning "son of Alvaro"

17. Anes (Portuguese Origin) means "son of João"

18. Araujo (Portuguese Origin) meaning "from the place name for a region in Galicia"

19. Aurora (Italian, Spanish, Catalan, Occitan, Portuguese Origin) meaning "dawn"

20. Barbaroza (Portuguese Origin) refers to an individual living by land with overgrown leafy vegetation

21. Barbosa (Portuguese Origin) a southwestern Galician surname

22. Barreira (Portuguese Origin) meaning "clay hollow; loam hollow"; also refers to place names in Galicia and Portugal

23. Barreto (Portuguese Origin)an occupational surname meaning "hatmaker"

24. Batista (Portuguese Origin) meaning "baptist"

25. Bettencourt/Bethencourt/Bittencourt/Bitencourt (Portuguese Origin) meaning "courtyard, farm courtyard"

26. Bomba (Portuguese Origin) meaning "bomb"; an occupational name for an individual employed as an artilleryman; also began as a nickname for an individual with an explosive temperament

A newborn baby wearing brown knitted cap

27. Braga (Portuguese Origin) from the place name for a city in northern Portugal

28. Camb/Cambio (Portuguese Origin) meaning "twisted; disfigured"; refers to a gnarly tract of land

29. Campos (Portuguese, Spanish Origin) meaning "countryside"

30. Carreira (Portuguese Origin) a Portuguese form of the English name Carter

31. Carvalho (Portuguese Origin) meaning "oak"

32. Casa (Portuguese Origin) meaning "house"

33. Cava (Portuguese Origin) meaning "cave; cellar"; an occupational name for one who works in a wine cellar

34. Cavaco (Portuguese Origin) meaning "log"

35. Cavalcante (Portuguese Origin) occupational name for a horse rider

36. Cebreiro (Portuguese Origin) meaning "olive tree"

37. Cerva (Portuguese Origin) meaning "deer"

38. Correia (Portuguese Origin) an occupational name referring to one who makes leather belts

39. Corte (Portuguese Origin) meaning "court;” an occupational name for an individual working at a manorial court; an individual who lives near a court

40. Cuoto (Portuguese Origin) meaning “enclosed pasture”

41. da Cruz (Portuguese Origin) meaning "from the Cruz family"

42. De Zurara (Portuguese Origin) referring to the place name Aveiro, a city in north-eastern Portugal

43. Denílson/Denilson (Portuguese Origin) meaning "of great courage"

44. Estevez/Esteves (Portuguese Origin) meaning "son of Stephen"

45. Faria (Portuguese Origin) from the town place names in Braga and Aveiro

46. Fernandez/Fernandes (Portuguese Origin) meaning "son of Fernando"

47. Ferreira (Portuguese Origin) occupational name for a blacksmith

48. Gomes (Portuguese Origin) meaning “man”

49. Gracie (Portuguese, Spanish Origin) meaning “gracefulness; honor; mercy;” the name has become famous worldwide due to the family of the surname who competes in martial arts; ancestors of that family, Helío, George, and Carlos, they founded the martial art known as Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ)

50. Kayano (Portuguese Origin) meaning "yew tree field; yew tree meadow; yew tree wilderness;" famous bearers include Samurai Kayano Gonbei, voice Actress Ai Kayano and Politician Shigeru Kayano

51. Lima (Portuguese Origin) meaning “an individual living near a river”

52. Lopes/Lopez (Portuguese Origin) meaning "wolf"

53. Luz (Portuguese Origin) meaning "light"

54. Macedo (Portuguese Origin) meaning "apple grove"

55. Madruga (Portuguese Origin) meaning "to get up early"

56. Maia (Spanish/Basque Origin) meaning "high meseta"

57. Marcos (Portuguese Origin) the surname of Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos (1917-1989)

58. Marques (Portuguese Origin) meaning "son of Marcus"

59. Martins (Portuguese Origin) meaning "warlike; of the mythological God Mars"

60. Matarazzo (Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Catalan Origin) meaning "forest; woodland"

61. Moniz (Portuguese Origin) meaning "son of Munio"

62. Morais (Portuguese Origin) meaning "a blackberry"

63. Moreira (Portuguese, Galician Origin) meaning "mulberry tree"

64. Mota (Portuguese Origin) meaning "an individual living near a fort"

65. Noronha (Portuguese Origin) from the place name Noreña

66. Oliveira (Portuguese Origin) meaning "from the olive tree"

67. Pereira (Portuguese Origin) meaning “pear tree”

68. Portal (Spanish, Catalan, Galician, Portuguese, Occitan Origin) meaning "an individual living near the city gates"

69. Portugal (Spanish, Portuguese, English, Catalan, French, Jewish Origin) a place name for the district around Oporto

70. Preto (Portuguese Origin) meaning “dark”

71. Primavera (Italian, Portuguese, Spanish Origin) meaning “the season of spring”

72. Ramón; Ramon; Raymond (Germanic, Spanish, Portuguese, and Catalan Origin) meaning "advisor; protector"

73. Ramone (Anglicized Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan Origin) meaning "of Ramon"

74. Ramos (Portuguese Origin) meaning "an individual who lives by a forest"

75. Raposo (Portuguese, Galician Origin) meaning “fox”

76. Rego (Iberian, Portuguese Origin) meaning "an individual who lives near a water channel"

77. Regueiro (Galician, Portuguese Origin) meaning "river; an individual living near a water source"

78. Reis (Portuguese Origin) meaning “Kings”

79. Requião (Portuguese Origin) a place name of the village in Vila Nova de Famalicão, Portugal; also references Rechila, a fifth century Suevic King of Gallaecia

80. Ribeiro (Portuguese Origin) meaning "small creek" or "by the river"

81. Rita (Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Catalan Origin) to honor a fifteenth century Italian saint who first carried the name

82. Rocha (Portuguese Origin) meaning "boulder; rock"

83. Rodrigo (Spanish, Portuguese Origin) meaning "famous ruler; famous KIng"

84. Rodrigues (Portuguese/Spanish Origin) meaning "son of Rodrigo"

85. Romio (Italian, Brazilian, Portuguese Origin) meaning "pilgrimage to Rome; pilgrimage to the Holy Land"

86. Roseta (Portuguese Origin) meaning "rosette"

87. Sá/Saa (Portuguese, Galician Origin) meaning place name of multiple towns or villages named Saa located in northern Galicia and Portugal

88. Sala/Salas/Sallas (Italian, Spanish, Catalan, Occitan, Galician, Portuguese, Aragonese, Asturian, Romanian, Greek Origin) meaning “broad, wide, large, tall”

89. Salas/Szálas (Spanish, Galician, Aragonese, Portuguese, Catalan, Asturian Origin) meaning “room; hall; tall"

90. Salvador (Filipino, Spanish, Catalan, Tagalog, Portuguese Origin) meaning “savior; to save”

91. Sanna (Portuguese Origin) meaning "one with a big protruding tooth"

92. Santos (Portuguese Origin) meaning “holy”

93. São João (Portuguese Origin) meaning "St. John"

94. São Jorge (Portuguese Origin) meaning “St George”

95. São Lucas (Portuguese Origin) meaning "St. Luke"

96. São Pedro (Portuguese Origin) meaning "Saint Peter"

97. Saraiva (Portuguese Origin) meaning "hail"

98. Saramago (Portuguese Origin) the name of a plant

99. Sardinha (Portuguese Origin) meaning "sardine seller"

100. Silva (Portuguese Origin) meaning “forest; woodland; jungle”

101. Silvia (Americanized Portuguese Origin) meaning “forest; jungle; woodland”

102. Sousa (Portuguese Origin) meaning "stones; rocks"; also a place name from the river in Portugal

103. Spínola (Portuguese Origin) meaning "thorn, thorn bush"

104. Tecelão (Portuguese Origin) meaning "weaver"

105. Teixeira (Portuguese Origin) meaning "yew tree"

106. Tolentino (Portuguese Origin) from the place name in the province of Macerata, Italy

107. Vagula (Estonian, Brazilian Origin) a place name of a village and a lake in Võru Parish, Võru County in southern Estonia

108. Valente (Portuguese Origin) meaning "brave, valiant"

109. Vanderlei (Portuguese, Dutch Origin) meaning "holly;" from the Dutch surname Van der Leij/Ley originating in Brazil with Kaspar Nieuwhoff Van Der Leij by 1630, a Dutch army cavalry captain

Kidadl has lots of great names articles to inspire you. If you liked our suggestions for Brazilian last names then why not take a look at these Indian last names, or for something different take a look at these Brazilian baby names.

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Written by Georgia Stone

Bachelor of Arts specializing in French with Film Studies, Bachelor of Arts (Year Abroad) specializing in Literature, History, Language, Media, and Art

Georgia Stone picture

Georgia StoneBachelor of Arts specializing in French with Film Studies, Bachelor of Arts (Year Abroad) specializing in Literature, History, Language, Media, and Art

Georgia is an experienced Content Manager with a degree in French and Film Studies from King's College London and Bachelors degree from Université Paris-Sorbonne. Her passion for exploring the world and experiencing different cultures was sparked during her childhood in Switzerland and her year abroad in Paris. In her spare time, Georgia enjoys using London's excellent travel connections to explore further afield.

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