150+ Common Dominican Last Names Or Surnames With Meanings


Have you ever sat and wondered, why are Dominican last names so long? This is because Dominican naming conventions are similar to those of the Spanish. A Dominican name would consist of two given names, the father’s surname, followed by the mother’s surname. The Dominican Republic is a Latin-American country located in the Caribbean and is two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola (1). Different cultures and languages have heavily influenced Dominican last names because of its history and stormy relations with many European empires. The island of Hispaniola was once ruled by the French and the Spanish, resulting in many Spanish and French surnames remaining in the region (2). Not only these, there are also a handful of surnames with roots in Italian, Portuguese, and Roman.

Head on to this post to quench your curiosity about Dominican surnames and their history.

Common Dominican Last Names

Surnames ranging from Adames to Vásquez, here is a list of some of the most widely used last names in the Dominican Republic.

1. Adames

Dominican surnames have deep-rooted origins in other cultures and languages. Adames is a last name derived from the given name, Adam. It can either mean ‘Earth,’ ‘man,’ or ‘ground.’

2. Aguilar

Aguilar is a surname taken from a place name that means ‘eagle.’ The name is borne by José Pascual Antonio Aguilar Márquez Barraza, a Mexican actor and singer famously referred to as El Charro de México.

3. Alcantara

The sophisticated surname is a simplified form of Alcántara. It is used as a habitational surname for someone who comes from Alcántara in Extremadura, Spain. The root meaning of the name is found in Arabic and it means ‘the bridge.’

4. Bello

Bello is a Spanish and Italian surname initially used as a nickname. It means ‘beautiful,’ and is often given to someone good-looking.

5. Candella

It is a Spanish and Catalan surname that is considered an occupational name. Candella is a spelling variant of Candela and means ‘candle.’ As an occupational last name, it is associated with a candlemaker.

6. Castillo

There are over 10,000 castles in Spain. It is no surprise that a Spanish surname would carry this specific connotation. Castillo is the Spanish cognate of the surname Castle.

7. Cruz

Many may need to learn that the surnames Cruz and Cross have the same roots of origin. It means ‘cross’ and is given as a locational surname for someone living near a cross or a crossroad.

8. De la Cruz

Inspired by a French last name, De la Cruz is the Spanish cognate of Delacroix. It is a locative name given to someone who lives next to a cross or near a crossroad. It means ‘of the cross.’

9. De Leon

This surname can be spelled in different ways such as de León or De Leon. It is used as a locative surname for someone who comes from the Kingdom of León or the later Province of León.

10. Díaz

This is a patronymic name taken from a given name. In simple terms, Díaz means ‘son of Diego.’ Cameron Diaz is one of the most notable bearers of the surname. She is an American actress nominated for four Golden Globe Awards, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, and a British Academy Film Award.

11. Diego

Another Spanish surname that has been taken from an eponymous given name. Diego is possibly a shortened form of Santiago. It can either mean ‘teaching’ or ‘saint.’

12. Domingo

As a Spanish surname, Domingo is inspired by a personal name with the same spelling. It is the Spanish version of Dominic and means ‘of the Lord.’ Alejandro Santo Domingo is one of the most successful individuals with the name. He is a Colombian-American businessman who has been recognized by Forbes for his US$2.6 billion net worth.

13. Elizondo

If there is one thing that you will not fail to see in Spain, that is churches. Elizondo derives its meaning from the Basque words, ‘eleiza’ and ‘ondo.’ It translates to ‘church’ and ‘near,’ respectively. It was given as a last name for someone who lived near a church.

14. Fuentes

With roots in Latin, Fuentes is a beautiful surname that means ‘spring’ or ‘well.’ This last name is borne by Venezuelan diver, Alejandra Fuentes Persson. She has represented her country in numerous competitions and won two gold medals at the South American Swimming Championships held in São Paulo in 2008.

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15. García

One of the most common surnames in Spain, Garcia can also be spelled as Garcia, without an accent. The exact meaning of the name is unknown, but it could mean ‘bear.’

16. Gómez

Gómez is the Spanish form of the first and last name Gomes. It is a name with an evident Visigothic element and it means ‘man.’ Selena Gomez is one of the most popular bearers of the name. She is an American singer, actress, businesswoman, and producer.

protip_icon Trivia

The Spanish suffix ‘ez’ found in surnames such as Hernández or Juarez means ‘son of’ or ‘child of.’ Last names ending with ‘ez’ can be categorized as patronymic surnames.

17. González

Another most common surname in Spain, González can also be spelled as Gonzalez and it means ‘son of Gonzalo.’ Adrian Gonzales, one of the talented bearers of the surname works for DC Comics. He has produced works such as All-Star Squadron, Arak, Son of Thunder, and Super Powers.

18. Gutierrez

Gutierrez is a patronymic surname that is derived from a personal name. It means ‘son of Gutierre.’ It can also be spelled as Gutiérrez. One impressive bearer of this last name is Antonia Gutiérrez. She was a Spanish writer and translator and was the first woman to be granted access to the National Library of Spain.

19. Guzmán

A surname with an interesting history. Guzmán is given as a locative name to someone who comes from the town of Guzmán, Burgos in Spain. However, it was derived from a Visigothic given name with Germanic elements. It means ‘person’ or ‘man.’

20. Henriquez

Henriquez is a spelling variant of Henriques. As a patronymic surname, it means ‘son of Henry.’ A well-known bearer of the name is Friar José Camilo Henríquez González. He is the founding father of the Republic of Chile.

21. Hernández

A patronymic surname which was taken from a given name. It means ‘son of Hernando.’ Hernández can also be spelled as Hernandez or Hernando.

22. Jiménez

Another surname derived from the paternal side of the family. Jiménez means ‘son of Jimeno.’ It can also be spelled as Giménez. Celia Jiménez Caballero is one of the talented individuals with the surname. She is one of the first female chefs to win a Michelin star in Spain.

23. Juarez

Juarez is the unaccented form of Juárez and a spelling variant of Suárez. It is a patronymic surname that means ‘son of Suero.’ This surname is well known because of Benito Pablo Juárez García, the 26th President of Mexico.

24. López

Usually pronounced as ‘LO-peth’ or ‘LO-pehs.’ López is a patronymic surname that means ‘son of Lope.’ Jennifer Lopez, who is now Jennifer Lynn Affleck, is one of the most notable pop icons. She is an American singer and actress.

25. Manuel

There are two possible origins for this surname. Manuel could be used as a surname derived from the given name Manuel or be a locative name taken from Manuel in the province of Valencia.

26. Martínez

Martínez is a name with different variations. It can be spelled as Martín or Martinez. Taken from the personal name Martin, Martínez means ‘son of Martin.’ In the world of music, Melanie Adele Martinez is a prominent figure known for her singing and directing skills.

27. Noa

The origin of Noa is quite straightforward. It is taken from the Biblical name Noah. Yamilka Noa is one of the talented individuals with the name. She is a Cuban-Costa Rican poet and filmmaker who has been awarded the Nosside World Poetry Prize five times.

28. Núñez

It is also a surname that falls under the category of patronymic surnames. Núñez is the Spanish form of Nunes, which means ‘son of Nuno.’ Antonio Núñez Jiménez was a revolutionary figure with the name. He was a Cuban geographer, speleologist, archaeologist, and scientist. The Speleological Society of Cuba and the Cuban Society of Geography have given him the title of ‘fourth discoverer of Cuba.’

29. Peña

Many surnames have been inspired by nature and surroundings. This is one such name. Taken from the Spanish word ‘peña,’ it means ‘rock’ or ‘cliff.’ It is often a surname given to someone who lives next to a jutting rock.

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30. Pérez

Pérez is a famous surname. It is used in different cultures all over the world. It is the fourth most popular surname in Israel. It is also commonly used by Jewish families, making it one of the most common surnames that is not of Hebrew roots.

31. Pinto

With roots in Late Latin, Pinto is derived from the Latin ‘pictus,’ which means ‘painted.’ It can be interpreted as ‘mottled.’ Freida Selena Pinto is an example of how surnames travel. She is an Indian actress who has appeared in many American and Bollywood films. Her works have garnered her numerous awards and nominations.

32. Ramírez

The Spanish patronymic surname means ‘son of Ramiro.’ One important bearer of the surname is Ángel de Saavedra y Ramírez de Baquedano, 3rd Duke of Rivas. Ramírez de Baquedano was a Spanish poet, dramatist, and politician. He became famous for his play, Don Álvaro o la fuerza del sino or Don Álvaro, or the Force of Fate. It is one of the first romantic successes in Spanish theater.

33. Reyes

This regal and sovereign-sounding surname is a spelling variant of Rey. It is probably derived from the Latin word ‘rex,’ which stands for ‘king.’ Reyes is a common surname in Spanish, French, and Catalan-speaking communities.

34. Rodríguez

A surname that is commonly seen and heard among Spanish speakers. Rodríguez can also be spelled as Rodrigo, Rodriguez, Rodriquez, and Ruiz. It means ‘son of Rodrigo.’ Gina Alexis Rodriguez is one of the well-known females with the name. She is an American actress who rose to fame after her role in the television series Jane the Virgin.

35. Rojas

Rojas is a spelling variant of Rojo. It was first used as a nickname which was given to someone with red hair or a ruddy face. Its usage was later transferred to a surname.

36. Rosario

Rosario is a beautiful Portuguese surname with connections to Catholicism. It is usually given to people who were born on the 7th of October, which commemorates the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. It carries a solemn meaning of ‘rosary.’

37. Sánchez

Another patronymic surname that is derived from a given name, Sánchez means ‘son of Sancho.’ In the music industry, the last name is connected to American singer and songwriter, Stephen Christopher Sanchez. He has been nominated for several awards.

38. Santana

Based on a locative name, Santana is inspired by the many place names that were designated in memory of Saint Anna. One of the famous bearers of the surname is Carlos Humberto Santana Barragán, an American guitarist. He is the founding member of the band called Santana.

39. Santos

For the pious and devoted, Santos is a Portuguese and Spanish surname derived from the Lain word ‘sanctus.’ It means ‘saint’ and was given as a nickname for someone spiritual and godly.

40. Vásquez

Vásquez adds another patronymic name to the list. It is a Spanish surname and it means ‘son of Vasco.’ One of the most well-known bearers of the name in the contemporary world is Camille Vasquez, an American attorney who represented Johnny Depp during his case against his ex-wife Amber Heard.

Popular Dominican Last Names

Explore this list of popular last names that many Dominicans bear. Find out their meanings and why they’re so common.

41. Acosta

Spanish surnames are also taken from locations and places. Acosta is a spelling variant of Da Costa, which comes from the last name Costa. It has a soothing meaning of ‘coast,’ ‘slope,’ or ‘riverbank.’ Rene Alexander Acosta is one influential man with the name. He is an American attorney and politician who was selected as the 27th United States Secretary of Labor from 2017 to 2019.

42. Alba

Commonly found as a Spanish surname, it was first used as a nickname. It means ‘white.’ One of the famous individuals with the name is Jessica Alba, an American actress and businesswoman. She has been nominated and won different awards throughout her lifetime.

43. Alvarez

A Spanish surname that can also be spelled as Álvarez, it means ‘son of Alva.’ Carlos Álvarez is one of the talented individuals with the surname. He is a Spanish baritone opera singer who won a Latin Grammy Award in 2001 and a Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording in 2006.

44. Batista

Batista is the Portuguese cognate and Spanish spelling variant of the given name Bautista. It comes from the origin name Baptiste, which means ‘baptist’ in French. One of the most famous bearers of the name is David Michael Bautista Jr., popularly known as Batista. He is an American actor and retired professional wrestler.

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45. Cabrera

The Spanish surname is taken from the Latin word ‘capra,’ which means goat.’ It is used as a locative surname to denote someone who comes from a ‘place of goats.’ Francisco Cabrera Hernandez is a former MLB player who was a catcher and first baseman who played with the Toronto Blue Jays and the Atlanta Braves.

46. Cepeda

Spain is the place to go to if you want a good wine-tasting experience. This is probably where the nickname, later turned surname Cepeda comes from. It is a Spanish last name given to someone who comes from a region where vineyards are grown. Bonny Cepeda, a merengue artist, band leader, and producer was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1986.

47. Contreras

Contreras is a locative name. It was the name of a town in Burgos, Spain. But it was primarily derived from the Late Latin word ‘contraria,’ which means ‘the opposite area.’ Dominican boxer, Francisco Contreras was trained by former world champion, Robert Garcia.

48. De Los Santos

The Spanish surname can also be written as Delossantos or Delos Santos. It has its roots in Spanish and means ‘of the saints.’ Abel De Los Santos Mejía is a Dominican former professional baseball pitcher. He played for the Washington Nationals and Cincinnati Reds in the Major League Baseball (MLB).

49. Delgado

With roots in Latin, Delgado comes from the Latin word ‘delicatus,’ which can be translated to ‘delicate,’ ‘charming,’ or ‘tender.’ In Spanish and Portuguese, the surname means ‘thin.’ Beşiktaş Emlakjet player, Ángel Luis Delgado Astacio is a Dominican basketball player who plays in the Basketbol Süper Ligi (BSL) and the EuroCup.

50. Duran

Have you ever met someone strong-willed and persistent? This surname might be for them. It is used as a nickname for someone stubborn and has connections to French and Latin. Duran means ‘enduring.’ Ezequiel Alberto Durán plays as an infielder and outfielder for the Texas Rangers of Major League Baseball (MLB)for the Texas Rangers of MLB.

51. Estevez

Estevez is the spelling variant of Esteban. It is also a patronymic surname taken from the mentioned given name, and it means ‘son of Esteban.’ The name is borne by Spanish Reyes Estévez López. He is a 1500 meters runner who won the European Championships’ final in 1998.

52. Fortuna

The grand and striking surname came into use as a nickname. It is commonly found among Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian communities. It carries a special meaning of ‘fortune.’ This surname is borne by the elegant and professional ballroom dancer Brian Fortuna. He has been a part of dance shows such as Dancing with the Stars and Strictly Come Dancing.

53. Garrido

Spanish surnames often carry simple, yet beautiful meanings. Garrido means ‘elegant’ or ‘ostentatious.’ Luis Ramón Garrido is a notable person with the surname. He is a Mexican badminton player who won a gold medal for the men’s single at the Central American and Caribbean Games in 2023.

54. Guerrero

A Spanish surname with ties to German and Latin. Taken from the Late Latin word ‘werra,’ which means ‘war,’ Guerrero’s connotation can be interpreted as ‘warrior.’ It was given as an occupational surname for a soldier. Adabel Anahí Guerrero Melachenko is an Argentine actress, professional theater, and burlesque dancer. She has won various awards for her work.

55. Herrera

Herrera can be categorized as a locative surname. It is the Spanish form of Ferreira. Its origin comes from a town by the same name located near an iron mine. The meaning of the name comes from the Latin word ‘ferrum,’ which refers to iron. Eduardo José Herrera de los Ríos, a Dominican songbird who has won more than seven Casandra Awards.

56. Lugo

This may be a short surname but it is packed with history. Lugo can be categorized as a locative surname. It is possibly derived from Lugo, a city in Galicia, or from the Celtic god, Lugos. Ruddy and Julio Logo are two famous Dominican brothers who play the same sport. Ruddy plays as a relief pitcher while Julio is a baseball shortstop.

57. Marrero

Marrero is categorized as an occupational surname. Taken from the word ‘marra,’ the surname means ‘spades’ or ‘hoes.’ It can be connected to some agricultural professions. Dominican professional boxer Claudio Marrero is known for holding the title WBA interim and IBO featherweight titles in 2017.

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58. Matos

Matos is a Spanish and Portuguese surname with two possible meanings. It can come from the Spanish, Portuguese, and Catalan word ‘mata,’ which means ‘trees’ or ‘shrubs,’ or it may have been derived from the Late Latin word ‘matta,’ which means ‘reed mat.’ Francisco Aguirre Matos Mancebo, a former baseball player now turned coach is considered to be a baseball veteran.

59. Mena

Mena has been used as a surname as well as a given name in certain parts of the world. It has roots in Basque and Sephardic Spanish. It is a habitational surname taken from a place with the same name in the Castile and León provinces. Maria Viktoria Mena is a Norwegian pop singer who has won numerous awards in her lifetime.

60. Mora

A surname with Latin origins, Mora is taken from the Spanish word ‘mora,’ which means ‘mulberry.’ It could have been used as a surname for someone who grew mulberries or lived near mulberries. The artist who bears the surname is Francis Luis Mora, a Uruguayan-born American figural painter whose works are being displayed in 34 museums.

61. Morales

Closely similar to the surname Mora, Morales carries a closely related meaning with a slight difference. While Mora means ‘mulberry,’ Morales means ‘mulberry tree.’ The surname was borne by a leader of the country, Carlos Morales Troncoso. He was the 34th Vice President of the Dominican Republic.

62. Nadal

Nadal is a beautiful name filled with joy and happiness. It is derived from the personal name Nadal, which means ‘Christmas.’ It may be connected to another masculine given name Noel. The bearer of this surname has been ranked world No. 1 by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) five times. It is none other than Spanish professional tennis player Rafael Nadal Parera.

63. Ocon

Ocon is usually spelled with an accent, Ocón. It is a locative surname that suggests familial ties to someone from the Riojan municipality or the Ocón de Villafranca neighborhood of the Castilian municipality. Esteban José Jean-Pierre Ocon-Khelfane is a race car driver for Alpine in Formula One.

64. Ortiz

Ortiz is a patronymic surname that means ‘son of Orti,’ but it can also come from the Latin words ‘fortis’ or ‘fortunius,’ which means ‘brave,’ ‘strong,’ or ‘fortunate,’ respectively. This surname has seen the limelight. Shalim Ortiz is known for his role as Alejandro Herrera on Heroes.

65. Pichardo

The Spanish spelling variant of Picard, it is a surname given to someone from the region of Picardy, France. The name carries connotations taken from the Old French word ‘pic,’ which stands for ‘pike’ or ‘spike.’ Another talented artist, Eligio Pichardo is a Dominican-borne American painter who is known for his Expressionist and Abstract Expressionist works.

66. Polanco

Polanco emerged as a habitational or locative surname. It is given to someone who comes from a place with the same name in Santander province. Dascha Yolaine Polanco is famous for her role as Dayanara “Daya” Diaz in the series Orange Is the New Black.

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Zoe Saldaña, an American actress popular for her role in the Avatar and Avengers franchise, and Oscar de la Renta, a world-famous designer, are both of Dominican descent.

67. Quezada

The exact meaning of Quezada is uncertain, however, it is a spelling variant of Quesada. As a Spanish surname, it comes from the region of Quesada located in Spain. The surname is borne by four-time Latin Grammy Award winner and Queen of Merengue, Milagros del Rosario Quezada Borbón.

68. Reynoso

Reynoso is a surname that vividly describes the beauty of nature. As a respelling of Reinoso, it means ‘place of fields.’ Juan Máximo Reynoso Guzmán is a former football player and currently works as the Peruvian professional manager.

69. Roa

The habitational surname is derived from a town called Roa (de Duero) in the Burgos province in Spain. Borne by the Argentine goalkeeper, Carlos Ángel Roa. He plays for AEK Athens in the Greek Super League.

70. Ruiz

Ruiz is a Spanish patronymic surname that means ‘son of Ruy.’ It is pronounced as ‘RWEETH’ by European Spanish speakers and ‘RWEES’ by Latin American Spanish. Esteury Ruiz Reyes is currently the center fielder for the Oakland Athletics of Major League Baseball (MLB).

71. Soriano

Soriana is inspired by place names such as Soriano Calabro and Soriano Nel Cimino. It is an Italian surname typically seen in the southern parts of Italy. Borne by an All-Star, Rafael Soriano is a Dominican former professional baseball pitcher who played for the Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners, Tampa Bay Rays, and Washington Nationals.

72. Soto

With connections to the Latin word ‘saltus,’ Soto is a Spanish surname and it means ‘grove of trees’ or ‘small forest.’ This surname was featured in Taylor Jenkins Reid’s novel, Carrie Soto Is Back, published in 2022.

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73. Tadeo

Tadeo is a surname taken from the eponymous given name. It is the Spanish form of the masculine name, Thaddeus. It carries a wonderful meaning of ‘heart.’ If we consider the deep etymology of Tadeo, it has connections to Aramaic. Sheyla Tadeo is a Mexican actress, singer, and comedian who was nominated for the Latin Grammy’s in 2013.

74. Tapia

This surname carries a simple and direct meaning. As a Spanish surname, Tapia means ‘mud wall.’ It is borne by the Puerto Rican poet, playwright, essayist, and writer, Alejandro Tapia y Rivera. He is also known as the father of Puerto Rican literature.

75. Trinidad

It may sound like a locative surname because of its similarity to the Caribbean country, Trinidad, and Tobago. However, it is a Spanish surname that means ‘trinity,’ about the Holy Trinity. Puerto Rican former professional boxer, Félix Juan Trinidad García is considered to be one of the greatest Puerto Rican boxers of all time.

76. Vallejo

Vallejo is a surname that evokes a sense of rustic beauty. It is a habitational surname given to someone who comes from or lives in a small valley. Alfonso Rodríguez Vallejo can be considered as the jack of all trades. He was a playwright, poet, painter, and neurologist who has won several awards in his lifetime.

77. Zabala

With roots in Basque, Zabala is derived from ‘zabal,’ which indicates ‘large’ or ‘wide.’ It is usually bestowed on someone who lives in a place by the same name in the region of Biscay. Aneurys Zabala is a Dominican professional baseball pitcher who used to play for the Miami Marlins in the MLB.

Rare Dominican Last Names

The list of surnames reveals some of the last names that may be popular in other parts of the world but rarely seen in the Dominican Republic.

78. Alonzo

Alonzo is a Hispanic surname and a respelling of the Spanish Alonso. A deep look into its origin reveals that it is derived from a Visigothic name that means ‘noble and ready.’

79. Angeles

Angeles is usually written with an accent Ángeles. It is a surname inspired by a title associated with the Virgin Mary, ‘Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángele,’ which can be translated to ‘Our Lady the Queen of the Angels.’ In simple terms, Angeles means ‘angels.’

80. Aponte

Aponte is a surname derived by shortening the surname Daponte. This surname emerged from the region of Majorca in Spain. Ana Mercedes Aponte Merchan is a Venezuelan and the deputy of the National Assembly for the Vargas state.

81. Aracena

Aracena is a Spanish surname taken from a location known as Aracena in Huelva province of Andalusia. However, this place’s name may have been taken from the Latin personal name Aretius and then combined with the suffix ‘ana,’ meaning ‘villa of Aretius.’

82. Beltran

Beltran is found as both a given name and a surname. In non-Spanish-speaking countries, the name is spelled without an accent. However, it is commonly spelled as Beltrán. The surname has Germanic roots and it means ‘bright raven.’

83. Caba

Caba is a spelling variant of Cava. It has been used as an occupational, as well as a locative surname. Taken from the Latin word ‘cava,’ which means ‘cave’ or ‘cellar,’ it is given as a figurative surname for someone who works in the wine cellars. It could also be used as a habitational surname for someone who resides in or near a cave.

84. Camilo

Camilo is taken from the personal name, Camilo or Camillus. It originated as a Roman cognomen with no exact meaning. Later on, there are assumptions that Camillo can be related to the Latin word ‘camillus,’ which means ‘a youth employed in religious services.’

85. Caminero

Caminero has been used as a Spanish occupational surname for one who travels or roams for work. A good example can be a hawker. The name is borne by Arquímedes Euclides Caminero Ordóñez, a Dominican former professional baseball pitcher. He was a part of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Miami Marlins, and Seattle Mariners when he played MLB.

86. Canela

Canela has two possible origins. As a Spanish surname, it could have been derived from the Spanish word ‘canela,’ which means ‘cinnamon.’ It could also be a spelling variant of the Catalan surname, Candela.

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Alt text: Dominican last names Canela means cinnamon

87. Casilla

With numerous places sharing the same name, Casilla is probably derived from one of these locations. It is probably taken from Casillas in Avila province. The meaning of the name can be ascertained as ‘house.’

88. Cedeño

The Hispanic surname can also be seen in Spanish as Sedeño. It means ‘silken.’ One of the most influential Dominican women who bears the name is Margarita María Cedeño Lizardo. She was the Vice President of the Dominican Republic from 2012 to 2020.

89. Chalas

As a Hispanic surname, Chalas has no clear explanation. But as a Greek surname, it is a spelling variant of Hallas. It is also used as a habitational surname in French, given to someone from a place named Saône-et-Loire. Dominican sprinter Fany Santa Chalas Frías is a notable bearer of the surname. In 2012, she won gold medals in the 100 and 200-meter races at the Central American and Caribbean Junior Championships in Athletics held in San Salvador.

90. Custodio

Custodio sounds extremely close to the English word custodian. It is derived from an eponymous given name which means ‘guardian.’ It is derived from the Latin word ‘custodia,’ which means ‘protection’ or ‘safe-keeping.’

91. De Paula

In a list of patronymic surnames, De Paula is a metronymic surname, meaning it is derived from the maternal side of the family. De Paula is taken from the feminine given name Paula, which is a shortened form of the name Francisco de Paula, often given in honor of Saint Francis of Paola.

92. Fabian

The Hungarian surname Fabian comes from the given name Fabianus. The meaning is derived from the Latin word ‘faba,’ which means ‘bean.’ Dušan “Duke” Fabian is a Slovak horror and dark fantasy writer. His works have garnered him awards such as the Istron for best short story and the European Science Fiction Society Encouragement Award in 2006.

93. Lee

Lee is an English surname that is English in origin. It is a locative surname and is given to someone who lives near or on a woodland or clearing.

94. Luciano

Luciano is a patronymic surname taken from the Latin name Lucianius or Lucius. In French, the surname is spelled as Lucien. It means ‘light.’ Marco José Luciano is a notable figure with the name. He is a Dominican professional baseball shortstop playing for the San Francisco Giants in the MLB. He made his official debut in 2023.

95. Marquez

Marquez is another patronymic surname that can be added to the list. It can also be spelled with an accent, Márquez. Marquez means ‘son of Marcos.’ Brailyn Márquez is a Dominican professional baseball pitcher who formerly played for the Chicago Cubs in the MLB.

96. Moronta

This is a habitational or locative surname that is derived from an eponymous place name in the Salamanca province. Reyes Armando Moronta is a Dominican professional baseball pitcher. He formerly played for the San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Los Angeles Angels in the MLB.

protip_icon Did you know?
In 2019, a study by the United Nations Population Fund revealed that 45% of people in the Dominican Republic identified as indigenous, 18% as white, 16% as moreno (mixed indigenous and white), 9% as mulatto (mixed indigenous and black), and 8% as black, mostly of Haitian descent (3).

97. Noboa

Noboa is a Spanish surname and a spelling variant of Novoa. It was initially used as a habitational surname for someone who came from the juridical district Terra de Nóvoa in Ourense province.

98. Olivero

Olivero is a Spanish and Italian surname derived from the personal name Oliver. It may also be related to the Italian term ‘olivaro,’ which means ‘olive tree.’ It could be used for someone who works as an olive tree cultivator.

99. Portes

Portes is a Catalan last name and is derived from the plural form of the word ‘porta.’ It means ‘door gate.’ Gil M. Portes was a Filipino film director, film producer, and screenwriter. He won Best Director, Best Original Story, and Best Screenplay at the Metro Manila Film Festival in 1990.

100. Roque

It is a Spanish and Portuguese surname derived from a personal name with the same spelling. It could also have emerged as a habitational surname for someone who comes from a place called Roque or El Roque in Gran Canaria or Tenerife.

101. Silva

One of the most common surnames in Brazil and Portugal, Silva has also crept its way into the Dominican Republic. Taken from the Spanish or Portuguese word silva, it means ‘forest.’

102. Soler

Soler is an Occitan and Catalan surname derived from place names that take on their meaning from the word ‘soler,’ which means ‘ground’ or ‘floor.’ Andrés Soler is one of the famous bearers of the surname. He was an Argentine actor who was considered one of the greatest of the Golden Age of Argentine cinema.

103. Vázquez

Vázquez is the spelling variant of Vásquez, a patronymic surname. It means ‘son of Vasco.’ A few of its spelling variants include Vázquez, Velasco, Velásquez, and Velázquez.

104. Vega

Stemming from Basque origins, Vega is derived from the Spanish word ‘vega,’ which means ‘meadow’ or ‘plain.’ Deviating from famous people with the surname, Vega is one of the brightest stars in the Lyra constellation.

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105. Velázquez

The Spanish surname is derived from the given name Velasco. It is the Medieval Spanish form of Vasco, which means ‘crow.’ Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez is an important man who bore the name. He was a Spanish painter and leading artist in the court of King Philip IV of Spain and Portugal during the Spanish Golden Age.

106. Villa

Villa is a straightforward surname. It means ‘town’ and was given as a habitational surname to someone who was from the town instead of the countryside.

107. Villalona

Villalona is a Spanish surname and is the feminine form of the altered Spanish surname Villalón. It was first used as a habitational surname for someone who came from the region of Villalón de Campos.

Unique Dominican Last Names

These surnames are recognized and used in the Dominican Republic more than in other Spanish-speaking countries. They are borne by several talented and influential Dominicans.

108. Agramonte

Agramonte is first used as a habitational surname for someone who comes from Agramonte, a place name in Galicia. Roberto Daniel Agramonte y Pichardo is a revolutionary bearer of this surname. He was a philosopher and Cuban politician. He was also the first Foreign Minister of the Cuban Revolution.

109. Almánzar

Almánzar is a popular name in the Dominican Republic. It is categorized as a Spanish surname but it has roots in Arabic. It comes from the phrase ‘al manẓar,’ which can be translated to ‘the view’ or ‘the lookout.’

110. Amador

The Spanish surname comes from a personal name with the same spelling. It is the Spanish form of Amator, which means ‘lover of God.’

111. Araújo

Araújo is a Portuguese last name given to an individual who comes from the eponymous place name in Portugal. The exact meaning of this name is unknown. Cândido José de Araújo Viana, Marquis of Sapucaí is one famous person who bore the name. He was a Brazilian politician and judge who was given numerous honors in his lifetime.

112. Blanco

Blanco is a Spanish surname that was first used as a nickname. It means ‘white’ and was probably used for someone who is fair-skinned or someone with blonde hair.

113. Bwire

Bwire is a surname with Dominican roots. Although the exact meaning of the name remains uncertain, it is commonly used by the Eastern African population. In the contemporary world, the surname is borne as a personal name by Bwire Alfred Odhiambo, a Kenyan politician.

114. Cabral

Cabral is a Portuguese surname with Latin connections. The meaning of the surname is taken from the Late Latin word ‘capralis,’ which means ‘place of goats.’

115. Calderón

The Spanish occupational surname is given to a person who is involved in repairing, making, or selling cauldrons and kettles. It is derived from the Spanish word ‘calderón,’ which means ‘cauldron.’

116. Casado

The exact origin of Casado remains uncertain, however, it could mean marriage. It is also possible that Casado is a spelling variant of Quesada, a habitational surname.

117. Checo

The Hispanic surname is predominantly found in the Dominican Republic. It is an ethnic name taken from the Spanish word ‘checo,’ which means ‘Czech.’

118. De Jesus

A unique and unaccented variant of De Jesús, the Portuguese surname has a straight connection with Christianity as it means ‘of Jesus.’

119. Dilone

Dilone is a Hispanic surname commonly seen in the Dominican Republic as Diloné. The exact meaning of the surname is not certain. In the world of fashion, Janiece Altagracia Dilone is currently one of the top 50 models in the industry. She is more popularly known as Dilone.

120. Encarnación

Encarnación is another surname with a direct relation to Christianity. It means ‘incarnation’ and it refers to the incarnation of Jesus Christ in the Virgin Mary’s womb.

121. Etienam

Etienam is a surname with unique origins. It is derived from the southeastern part of Nigeria, specifically the Calabar or Akwa Ibom region. The surname can be found in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba, within the Carabali population and it means ‘a doer of good or benevolent.’

122. Figueroa

A habitational surname derived from any place name in Galicia with the same spelling. It is derived from the word ‘figueira,’ meaning ‘fig tree.’ It could be used as a surname for someone who grows or lives next to fig trees.

Image: Momjunction Design Team

123. Franco

Franco is the Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian cognate of Frank. It has its roots in Old German and is often used as a reference to the Germanic tribe of the Franks.

124. Gil

The short and sweet surname is taken from the eponymous given name. Further digging into the origin reveals that it has its roots in Late Latin and Greek. It means ‘young goat.’ Luis Ángel Gil is a Dominican professional baseball player and a well-known name bearer. He plays for the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball.

125. Guillén

The surname is derived from a given name Guillén. It is the Aragonese, Galician, and medieval Spanish form of William and means ‘will helmet.’ José Manuel Guillén is a Dominican professional baseball player who plays as an outfielder. Throughout his career, he has played for ten Major League Baseball (MLB) teams.

126. Heredia

Heredia is a Spanish habitational surname given to someone who comes from any place with the same name in Basque. The meaning of the surname comes from the Latin word ‘heredium,’ which means ‘hereditary estate.’

127. Leon

Leon may be simple to spell and pronounce, but it is a name with various origins. It is considered a spelling variant of Lyon and can be given to someone who comes from the city of Lyon in France. In this context, it can mean ‘hill fort of Lugus.’ It can also be derived from a nickname for someone who acts and behaves like the king of the jungle, the lion. Lastly, it could be taken from the given name Leon, which carries the same meaning as ‘lion.’

128. Luna

Luna is commonly used as a habitational surname, but it also comes from the Spanish word for ‘moon.’

129. Maldonado

Maldonado is one of those surnames that came from nicknames. In Spanish, Maldonado means ‘badly given’ or ‘ill-favored.’ One talented bearer of the surname is Javier Torres Maldonado. He is a Mexican composer who is internationally renowned for his work.

130. Medrano

The unique surname comes from a family name in the Riojan municipality. It carries beautiful connotations of ‘to grow,’ ‘to prosper,’ ‘to improve,’ or ‘abundance.’ Rosa Medrano is a Dominican volleyball player who won a silver medal at the National Championship in 2006. She also represented the Dominican Republic in the Central American and Caribbean Games in the same year.

131. Mercado

Occupational surnames are rarely seen in the Dominican Republic. However, Mercado is one of them. It is a surname given to one who lives next to a market or someone who works as a market trader. It comes from the Spanish word ‘mercado’ for market.

132. Mesa

Mesa is given as a habitational surname for someone who comes from a place with the same name in the region of Spain. It can either mean ‘table’ or it may refer to an area with flat land.

133. Minaya

Minaya is a Spanish surname with Arabic roots. It means ‘open and visible path.’ However, it may be possible that Minaya may have Basque origins too and it can mean ‘ore,’ ‘ore vein,’ or ‘asphodel pastures.’

134. Montas

Montas is a Spanish surname commonly seen in the Caribbean regions. It comes from the Old Spanish and French words ‘monte’ and ‘mont,’ which means ‘mountains.’

135. Mota

The locative surname is given to someone who lives in a fortified stronghold..

136. Moquete

Moquete is a Hispanic surname found in the Dominican Republic. It has a direct and unique meaning ‘punch on the nose.’ It was initially used as a nickname and later turned surname.

137. Muñoz

Muñoz is a patronymic surname taken from the given name Muño. About 1.1% of the Dominican Republic population bears this surname. Yairo Muñoz is one sportsperson who bears the surname. He is a Dominican professional baseball infielder and outfielder who has played for the St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox, and Philadelphia Phillies in the MLB.

138. Ortega

Ortega is a Spanish locative surname given to someone who comes from a village with the same name. It comes from the word ‘ortiga,’ which means ‘nettle.’ The surname is made famous by American actress, Jenna Ortega. She has won numerous awards for her acting career in a short period.

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139. Pascual

Taken from the personal name Pascual or Pascal, this surname has its origin in the Late Latin name Paschalis. It translates to ‘relating to Easter.’ In Latin, Pascha means Easter.

140. Pinales

The beautiful and fresh-sounding surname, Pinales is used as a topographic surname since it means ‘pine forest.’ It may be given to someone who lives in or next to a forest covered with pine trees.

141. Puello

Puello is a Hispanic surname mainly used in Columbia and the Dominican Republic. It is an altered spelling of the Spanish habitational surname Pueyo. Alberto Puello Calderón is one notable individual with the name. He is a Dominican boxer who held the lightweight title of World Boxing Association (WBA) from 2022 to 2023.

142. Pujols

Pujols is a Catalan topographic surname and means ‘hillocks.’ It may be given to a person who lives on or next to a hillock. José Alberto Pujols Alcántara is a Dominican-American former professional baseball. He was given the nickname ‘the Machine’ and is considered to be one of the best baseball players of all time.

143. Rivas

Rivas is the Spanish spelling of Riva, an Italian surname. It comes from the Latin word ‘ripa’ and is often given to someone who lives near a river or a lake. In Italian, the name means ‘bank’ or ‘shore.’

144. Robles

Taken from the Spanish word ‘roble,’ which means ‘oak,’ Robles is given as a topographic surname for someone who lives next to an oak tree or an oak forest.

145. Rosado

You may have guessed the meaning of this surname. It comes from the Spanish word ‘rosa,’ which means ‘rose.’ Carmen García Rosado is a Puerto Rican educator, author, and activist for the rights of women veterans during World War II.

146. Segura

Segura is a Spanish, Catalan, and Hispanic surname that means ‘safe’ or ‘secure.’ One notable bearer of the surname is José Segura Rius. He is a Spanish professional football coach who won the Greek championship and Cup with Olympiacos in 2008.

147. Suarez

The Spanish patronymic surname is taken from a given name and it means ‘son of Suero.’ Luis Alberto Suárez Díaz is one of the famous football players who bear the surname. He is a Uruguayan football player who has represented his country in the FIFA World Cup four times.

148. Tavárez

Tavárez is a surname predominantly found in the Dominican Republic. It is the Spanish form of Tavares and is used as a locative surname. Tavárez is taken from different place names with the same name in Portugal.

149. Terrero

The surname can be used as both a habitational and a topographic surname. It is given to an individual who comes from a place called Terrero in Asturias, Spain. It could also be used as a topographic name because it means ‘mound of earth.’

150. Ureña

Although the exact meaning of this surname is unknown, it is given as a locative surname to a person who comes from a town with the same name in the province of Valladolid, Spain.

151. Valenzuela

As a shortened form of Valencia, Valenzuela means ‘little Valencia.’ It is used as a habitational surname for someone who comes from places with the same name in the region of Córdoba and Ciudad Real.

From Spanish and Portuguese influences to traces of Italian and Catalan, these Dominican last names reveal the diverse ancestry of the Dominican Republic. The origin of these names reflects its relations with different European empires. They carry different connotations that can even be derived from Latin, Arabic, and French. Reading and learning about the roots of Dominican last names can be seen as a tool for a better understanding of the country’s cultural mix.

1. How are Dominican last names passed down through generations?

In the Dominican Republic, the way last names are passed down is similar to Spain. Children receive both their father’s and mother’s last names, giving them two last names. This is also seen in official documents. Unlike some countries, women in the Dominican Republic keep their family names even after marriage.

2. Can a person have multiple last names in the Dominican Republic?

In the Dominican Republic, people can have more than one last name. This is because the children take on both the father’s and the mother’s surname.

3. What is the significance of maternal last names in the Dominican Republic?

Maternal last names in the Dominican Republic are of equal importance as paternal last names. Children would inherit both the mother’s and the father’s last name and are considered mandatory for any official document.

4. What are some specific prefixes or suffixes commonly found in Dominican last names?

Some of the common prefixes found in Dominican last names are ‘de’ ‘del’ or ‘de la.’ A few examples are De Leon, De Los Santos, De Jesus, and De la Cruz. Some common suffixes are ‘ez,’ ‘es,’ ‘as,’ and ‘iz.’ A few examples are Ruiz, Gómez, Fuentes, and Contreras.

Key Pointers

  • The majority of the Dominican surnames come from Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.
  • Some surnames are often related to Christian elements or figures. For example, Cruz and De Jesus.
  • Many of the Dominican surnames are influenced by location or habitation. For example, De Leon, Guzmán, and Manuel.
  • Patronymic surnames are more common than matronymic surnames.
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