What Are the Meanings Behind Some Common Italian Surnames?


Quick Answer

Italian surnames generally originate from a Latin root; therefore, the meanings behind the words can be discovered by examining their etymology. The most common Italian surname is "Rossi," which comes from the Latin word "russus," meaning "red." Coincidentally, the second most common surname is "Russo," which has the same root.

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The second most common surname, like the car, is "Ferrari." This word finds its root in the Latin "ferrarius," which is the noun for "blacksmith," ultimately from the word "ferrum," which means "iron." The third most common surname is "Esposito," which was a name traditionally given to abandoned children. It derives from the Latin "exponere," which is the verb "to place outside" or "abandon." The fifth most common surname is "Bianchi," coming from "bianco," which is Italian for "white." It originates from the Latin word "blancus," also meaning "white." The sixth most common surname is "Romano," which comes directly from the Latin "Romanus," literally meaning "a Roman." The seventh most popular surname is "Columbo," which cognates with the ancient Greek "kólumbos," meaning "diver," more directly relates to the Latin "columbus," meaning "dove" or "pigeon." Finally, the eighth most popular surname is "Ricci." This is descended from the Latin "ericius," which translates to "hedgehog."

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