SINGH - Surname Meaning and Origin

What does the last name Singh mean?

Lion Sitting Against Sky During Sunset
Putsada Sriphet / EyeEm / Getty Images

The Singh surname derives from the Sanskrit simha, meaning "lion." It was originally used by Rajput Hindus and is still a common surname for many North Indian Hindus. Sikhs, as a community, have adopted the name as a suffix to their own name, so you'll find it used as a surname by many of the Sikh faith.

Surname Origin 

Indian (Hindu)

Alternate Surname Spellings


Famous People With the Surname SINGH

  • Milkha Singh - former Indian track and field sprinter known as The Flying Sikh
  • Bhagat Singh - Indian political activist
  • Sadhu Sundar Singh - Indian Christian missionary
  • Maharaja Ranjit Singh - founder of the Sikh Empire

Where Do People With the SINGH Surname Live?

Singh is the 6th most common surname in the world, according to surname distribution data from Forebears, used by more than 36 million people. Singh is most commonly found in India, where it ranks 2nd in the nation. It is also especially common in Guyana (2nd), Fiji (4th), Trinidad and Tobago (5th), New Zealand (8th), Canada (32nd), South Africa (32nd), England (43rd), Poland (48th) and Australia (50th). Singh ranks 249th in the United States, where it is most common in New York, New Jersey, and California.

Within India, the Singh surname is most commonly found in the Maharashtra region, according to WorldNames PublicProfiler, followed by Delhi. The surname is also fairly common in New Zealand, including Manakua City, Papakura District and the Western Bay of Plenty District, as well as in the United Kingdom, particularly in the West Midlands.

Genealogy Resources for the Surname SINGH

Searching for Smiths: Search Strategies for Common Surnames
Search tips and strategies for researching ancestors with common surnames such as SINGH.

Singh Family Crest - It's Not What You Think
Contrary to what you may hear, there is no such thing as a Singh family crest or coat of arms for the Singh surname. Coats of arms are granted to individuals, not families, and may rightfully be used only by the uninterrupted male-line descendants of the person to whom the coat of arms was originally granted. 

The Singh DNA Project
The Singh DNA Project is open to all who wish to work together to find their common Singh heritage through DNA testing and sharing of family history information.

SINGH Family Genealogy Forum
Search this popular genealogy forum for the Singh surname to find others who might be researching your ancestors, or post your own Singh query.

FamilySearch - SINGH Genealogy
Access over 850,000 free historical records and lineage-linked family trees posted for the Singh surname and its variations on this free genealogy website hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

GeneaNet - Singh Records
GeneaNet includes archival records, family trees, and other resources for individuals with the Singh surname, with a concentration on records and families from France, Spain, and other European countries.

Surname Finder - SINGH Genealogy & Family Resources
Find links to free and commercial resources for the Singh surname. - SINGH Genealogy & Family History
Explore free databases and genealogy links for the last name Singh.

The Singh Genealogy and Family Tree Page
Browse family trees and links to genealogical and historical records for individuals with the last name Singh from the website of Genealogy Today.


References: Surname Meanings & Origins

Cottle, Basil. Penguin Dictionary of Surnames. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1967.

Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Collins Celtic (Pocket edition), 1998.

Fucilla, Joseph. Our Italian Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 2003.

Hanks, Patrick and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1989.

Hanks, Patrick. Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press, 2003.

Reaney, P.H. A Dictionary of English Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1997.

Smith, Elsdon C. American Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997.

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Your Citation
Powell, Kimberly. "SINGH - Surname Meaning and Origin." ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020, Powell, Kimberly. (2020, August 28). SINGH - Surname Meaning and Origin. Retrieved from Powell, Kimberly. "SINGH - Surname Meaning and Origin." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 10, 2023).