Languages › German The Top 100 German Surnames Meanings and Origins of Common Last Names Share Flipboard Email Print ThoughtCo / Marina Li German History & Culture Pronunciation & Conversation Vocabulary Grammar By Ingrid Bauer German Language Expert M.A., German Studies, McGill University B.A., German and French Ingrid Bauer, who is fluent in German, has been teaching and tutoring the German language since 1996. She has a teaching degree and an M.A. in German studies. our editorial process Ingrid Bauer Updated December 05, 2019 German last names originate from places and professions in Germany and far beyond, as a list of 100 of the most common German surnames shows. The list was initially created by searching for the most common last names in German telephone books. Where variations of a spelling of a surname occurred, those monikers are listed as separate names. For instance, Schmidt, which is ranked No. 2, also appears as Schmitt (No. 24), and Schmid (No. 26). This list is different than one showing popular German surnames with their English translations. The Origin of German Last Names The meanings of German last names are those as defined initially when these names became surnames. For example, the surname Meyer means dairy farmer today, whereas, during the Middle Ages, Meyer designated people who were stewards of landholders. Most German surnames derive either from archaic professions (such as Schmidt, Müller, Weber, or Schäfer) or places. Few of the latter are on the following list, but examples include Brinkmann, Berger, and Frank. German Last Names and Their Meanings In the table, the German name is listed on the left, with its origin (and explanation if needed) on the right. The acronyms OHG and MHG stand for Old High German and Middle High German, respectively. The acronyms are noted because you won't find the translations for these names in standard online translators or even most German dictionaries. German Surname Meaning/Origin Müller miller Schmidt smith Schneider taylor Fischer fisher Weber weaver Schäfer shepherd Meyer (MHG) steward of landholder; leaseholder Wagner wagoner Becker from Bäcker >baker Bauer farmer Hoffmann landed farmer Schulz mayor Koch cook Richter judge Klein small Wolf wolf Schröder carter Neumann new man Braun brown Werner (OHG) defense army Schwarz black Hofmann landed farmer Zimmermann carpenter Schmitt Smith Hartmann strong man Schmid Smith Weiß white Schmitz Smith Krüger potter Lange long Meier (MHG) steward of land; leaseholder Walter leader, ruler Köhler charcoal-maker Maier (MHG) steward of landholder; leaseholder Beck from Bach–stream; Bäcker–baker König king Krause curly-haired Schulze mayor Huber landowner Mayer steward of landholder; leaseholder Frank from Franconia Lehmann serf Kaiser emperor Fuchs fox Herrmann warrior Lang long Thomas (Aramaic) twin Peters (Greek) rock Stein rock, stone Jung young Möller miller Berger from French–shepherd Martin (Latin) war-like Friedrich (OHG) fridu–peace, rihhi–powerful Scholz mayor Keller cellar Groß big Hahn rooster Roth from rot–red Günther (Scandinavian) warrior Vogel bird Schubert (MHG) Schuochwürchte–shoemaker Winkler from Winkel–angle Schuster shoemaker; Jäger–hunter Lorenz (Latin) Laurentius Ludwig (OHG) luth–famous, wig–war Baumann - farmer Heinrich (OHG) heim–home and rihhi–powerful Otto OHG ot–property, inheritance Simon (Hebrew) God has listened Graf count, earl Kraus curly-haired Krämer small trader, dealer Böhm of Bohemia Schulte from Schultheiß–debt-broker Albrecht (OHG) adal–noble, bereht–famous Franke (Old French) Franconia Winter winter Schumacher cobbler, shoemaker Vogt steward Haas (MHG) nickname for rabbit hunter; coward Sommer summer Schreiber writer, scribe Engel angel Ziegler brickmaker Dietrich (OHG) people’s ruler Brandt fire, burn Seidel mug Kuhn councilman Busch bush Horn horn Arnold (OHG) strength of an eagle Kühn councilman Bergmann miner Pohl Polish Pfeiffer piper Wolff wolf Voigt steward Sauer sour Find out What Your German Last Name Really Means in English The Real Meaning of that German Last Name What Are the Most Common German Names for Boys and Girls? What Are the Meanings of Famous German Surnames? Everything you need to Know About German Names A German-English Glossary of Popular German Abbreviations The Basics of German Present Tense Verbs Learn How to Say the Days of the Week in German Do You Know How to Sing "Jingle Bells" in German? How Do You Translate the World's Countries From English to German? How to Pronounce German Words in English A wie Anton - German Phonetic Spelling Code Master the Most Popular German Verbs Learn German Past Tense Verb Conjugations How to Say I Love You and Other Romantic Phrases in German Why Did the Fab Four Sing in German?