40 Timeless Last Names That Mean Water(Expert-Picked)

Written by Daisy
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Have you ever wondered where our last names come from? Were you ever curious if there’s a meaning behind it? In many various cultures across the globe, there is and always has been a symbolism behind most of their last names. While some have a more personal accent into them, most are usually associated with nature. One in particular is ‘water’.

So, today, we’re going to give you a list of 40 unique last names that mean water. In hopes of inspiring and educating you regarding these names, we’re also giving you the origin, pronunciation, and beliefs behind them.

40 Unique Last Names That Mean Water:

  1. Afron

Origin: Welsh

Meaning: “River”

Pronunciation: ah-fron

Beliefs: There are several meanings that you can get from the word ‘Afron’. In fact, a few of them also is associated with water. One good sample is its association with the Scottish connection, referring to the River Afton. 

  1. Aksu

Origin: Turkish

Meaning: “White Water”

Pronunciation: ahk-soo

Beliefs: Aksu is a name that could mean different things. In Turkish, it could also mean clear and clean water. It is a popular surname in Turkey, but not so much in Germany with a low frequency of 1:79,160.

  1. Almaden

Origin: Arabic

Meaning: “Mine”

Pronunciation: al-mah-den

Beliefs: While the name isn’t actually referring to water, it is believed that the town Almaden located in the Spanish province of Ciudad Real is known for its supply of superior quality water. 

  1. Aquino

Origin: Italian

Meaning: “Of Water”

Pronunciation: ah-kwee-no

Beliefs: This is one of the most common ones on the list. It has reached countries with Italian Spanish heritage like the Philippines. It also is one of the well-respected last names due to its uses in historic noble houses in Italy.

  1. Arno

Origin: German

Meaning: “River”

Pronunciation: ar-no

Beliefs: The origin actually comes from a word that means ‘eagle’, but in Italy, it is associated with the main river in Florence, which means ‘flowing water’.

  1. Bahar

Origin: Turkish

Meaning: “Spring”

Pronunciation: bah-har

Beliefs: If you’re accustomed to Western last names, then you probably hear the word ‘Bahar’ as a unique name, but in some countries, it actually is somewhat common. The name comes from the Proto-Indo-European word wósr̥, meaning spring.

  1. Barents

Origin: Dutch

Meaning: “Bear” and “Water”

Pronunciation: bah-rents

Beliefs: A unique and distinctive last name that could represent someone with Dutch heritage or a love for the outdoors and wildlife Beckett

  1. Beckett

Origin: English

Meaning: “Brook”

Pronunciation: bek-it

Beliefs: There are a lot of derivations with the name Beckett, but it usually is known for its meaning of little brook. The name also is linked with the term ‘beke’ which could mean stream or broke.

  1. Bronte

Origin: Italian

Meaning: “Thunder”

Pronunciation: bron-tee

Beliefs: A very masculine-sounding surname that associates its name with thunderstorms. It is actually a place in Sicily.

  1. Calder

Origin: Scottish

Meaning: “Rough Water”

Pronunciation: kal-der

Beliefs: Other derivations from the word ‘Calder’ may also mean ‘hard or violent water’. It may possibly symbolize the resilience and toughness of a person.

  1. Cascade

Origin: English

Meaning: “Waterfall”

Pronunciation: kas-kade

Beliefs: A distinctive last name that is somewhat common in selected localities in Europe and Northern America. The name may have been used to symbolize the beauty and power of cascading waterfalls.

  1. Delmare

Origin: French

Meaning: “Of the Sea”

Pronunciation: del-mair

Beliefs: Not only is the name unique, but it also has a unique sound to it. It also is associated with the Latin word ‘mare’, which literally means ‘the sea’.

  1. Douglas

Origin: Scottish

Meaning: “Dark Water”

Pronunciation: duhg-luhs

Beliefs: The word actually comes from the Gaelic word ‘dubhglas’ or ‘dubb glas’, which could also mean ‘dark stream’ or ‘from the dark river’.

  1. Dylan

Origin: Welsh

Meaning: “Son of the Sea”

Pronunciation: di-lan

Beliefs: The name comes from the Welsh words dy and llanw, which will mean ‘your tide’ when put together. Other translations could also mean ‘born from the ocean’.

  1. Guadalupe

Origin: Spanish

Meaning: “River of the Wolf”

Pronunciation: gwa-da-lu-peh

Beliefs: You might hear the word ‘Guadalupe’ and immediately think of a locality or city. In Hispanic cultures, however, the name holds much more meaning than just a location and is said it is given to honor the Virgin Mary. 

  1. Havel

Origin: Czech

Meaning: “Dweller near the Havel”

Pronunciation: ha-vel

Beliefs: Although Havel is more prevalent in Czechia, it also has its popularity in other countries such as the US, France and Germany. Its association with water may come from a river in Germany.

  1. Kaida

Origin: Japanese

Meaning: “Little Dragon”

Pronunciation: kai-da

Beliefs: There are various derivations taken from the word ‘Kaida’, and one of them is ‘海田’, meaning lake, sea or sea god. 

  1. Lir

Origin: Irish

Meaning: “Sea”

Pronunciation: leer

Beliefs: Derived from the words ‘Lir’ or ‘Ler’, the words are a representation of a sea god in Irish mythology. Rather than a distinct deity, it is said that it is more of a personification of the ‘sea’.

  1. Marlin

Origin: English

Meaning: “Of the Sea”

Pronunciation: mar-lin

Beliefs: According to some databases, the name Marlin comes from the Pre 7th century word ‘mere’, which may mean ‘marshy ground’ or ‘lake’. It is so rare that its frequency in most populated countries only comes to around 1:51,260 frequency.

Japanese names meaning water
  1. Melville

Origin: Scottish

Meaning: “From the Town by the Mill”

Pronunciation: mel-vil

Beliefs: The name may not be directly associated with water, but it does have some significant connection with it through the definition of the word ‘mill’. It isn’t a very popular surname ranking only 24,456th in the whole world.

  1. Nalu

Origin: Hawaiian

Meaning: “Wave”

Pronunciation: nah-loo

Beliefs: If you know Hawaii, then you probably already know that most names coming from there almost always hold significant meanings associated with nature. The name is so rare that it ranked 190,637th for the most common surname in the world, and is estimated to have only around 2,000 people that use it across the globe.

  1. Naviglio

Origin: Italian

Meaning: “Canal”

Pronunciation: nah-vee-lee-oh

Beliefs: Other meaning includes ‘one who dwelt by or transported water’. If you want a unique surname, then Naviglio should be on top of your list. It is said that the surname is only used by 56 people in contrast to the 7.9 billion people around the world.

  1. Ondine

Origin: French

Meaning: “Little Wave”

Pronunciation: ohn-deen

Beliefs: Whichever language you take its meaning from, either Latin (Water Fairy) or French, you will still get its association with water. 

  1. Pacifico

Origin: Italian

Meaning: “Of Peace” or “Of the Pacific Ocean”

Pronunciation: pah-chee-fee-koh

Beliefs: When taking its Italian origin, the literal meaning might not have any direct link to the word ‘water’ but the name still can be associated with the Pacific Ocean due to its close similarities.

  1. Parvaneh

Origin: Persian

Meaning: “Butterfly”

Pronunciation: par-vah-neh

Beliefs: You probably wouldn’t hear Parnaveh when you’re situated in Europe or NA as the name is a rare surname that is even rarely used in Western Asia.

  1. Rio

Origin: Spanish

Meaning: “River”

Pronunciation: ree-oh

Beliefs: As someone with a Spanish heritage, the name Rio is one of the popular choices for a surname. It is not as common as you might think, since the countries using it aren’t usually exposed to Western culture.

  1. Severn

Origin: English

Meaning: “River Severn”

Pronunciation: sev-ern

Beliefs: The name is derived from one of the longest rivers in Great Britain, known as the River Severn. Its actual origin actually comes from an Anglo-Saxon name. 

  1. Thalassa

Origin: Greek

Meaning: “Sea”

Pronunciation: thuh-las-uh

Suggestion Reason: Coming from a Greek word that literally means ‘sea’, you can go no wrong when adopting names that mean water with this one. 

  1. Ula

Origin: Irish

Meaning: “Jewel of the Sea”

Pronunciation: yoo-luh

Beliefs: There are other names that the name Ula may have originated from, including the Celtic word ‘Eulalia’ and ‘Ursula’. It may also come from a Scandinavian name ‘Ulrika’. 

  1. Vale

Origin: English

Meaning: “From the Valley” or “Stream Valley”

Pronunciation: veyl

Beliefs: Its origin actually means valley, wide river valley or lives in the valley. It is said that the name Vale symbolizes strength and health in other cultures.

  1. Wade

Origin: English

Meaning: “Ford” or “River Crossing”

Pronunciation: wayd

Beliefs: The name ‘Wade’ may not be that unique due to the popularization of celebrities and athletes, but it still is considered a unique surname since it still hasn’t reached a quarter million people who use it. That is of course considering how many people actually exist in the whole wide world.

  1. Yara

Origin: Brazilian

Meaning: “Water Lady” or “Mother of Waters”

Pronunciation: yah-rah

Beliefs: If you’re situated along the borders of Pakistan, India, or Egypt, then the name might not as be unique as you might hope for. But if you use it in Western countries or Europe, then you have some unique surname to flaunt with.

  1. Avon

Origin: Welsh

Meaning: “River”

Pronunciation: ay-vuhn

Beliefs: Not to be confused with the popular cosmetic brand ‘Avon’. Its Irish and Welsh origin pertains to the word ‘river’, symbolizing a flowing force of nature not to be reckoned with.

  1. Fontaine

Origin: French

Meaning: “Fountain”

Pronunciation: fon-tain

Beliefs: As you may have guessed, the name is closely similar to the famous English word ‘Fountain’. It actually originated from the word Fontaine, which holds the same meaning in English.

  1. Isla

Origin: Scottish

Meaning: “River”

Pronunciation: eye-la

Beliefs: Its association with water doesn’t exclusively come from Scottish in origin, but also from a Spanish word that means ‘Islan’. 

  1. Kai

Origin: Hawaiian

Meaning: “Sea”

Pronunciation: kai

Beliefs: If taken from its Welsh origin, the word Kai may mean ‘Keeper of the keys and earth’. In Hawaii, however, it simply means sea and is a quite popular choice for boys’ names.

  1. Laut

Origin: Indonesian

Meaning: “Sea” or “Ocean”

Pronunciation: la-oot

Suggestion Reason: While it is literally a word used in Indonesia to pertain to an ocean or a large body of salt water, it doesn’t stop people from taking it for themselves and using it as a surname.

  1. Mizuki

Origin: Japanese

Meaning: “Beautiful Moon” or “Water and Moon”

Pronunciation: mee-zoo-kee

Beliefs: There are different meanings and symbolisms of the name Mizuki, especially when it has many Kanji derivations. One particular meaning is the word ‘water’, coming from ‘水 ‘ from the name 水城 (Mizuki). 

  1. River

Origin: English

Meaning: “River”

Pronunciation: ree-ver

Beliefs: This one is simple, yet still holds a level of respect when taken as a surname. 

  1. Seaton

Origin: English

Meaning: “Town by the Sea”

Pronunciation: see-ton

Beliefs: Just by guessing where the name comes from, you probably would have guessed the word ‘sea’, and you’d be right. It comes from the pre-7th century English words ‘sae’ and ‘tun’, meaning ‘sea’ and ‘town’ respectively.

10 Famous People with Last Names Meaning Water:

  1. Michael Phelps – An American swimmer with the last name Phelps, derived from the Old English word for “pool” or “deep water.”
  2. Billie Eilish – An American singer-songwriter with the last name Eilish, derived from the Irish Gaelic word for “waterfall.”
  3. Jacques Cousteau – A French naval officer and explorer with the last name Cousteau, derived from the Occitan word for “coast.”
  4. Celine Dion – A Canadian singer with the last name Dion, derived from the French word for “of the god of wine and revelry,” who was also associated with water.
  5. Gal Gadot – An Israeli actress with the last name Gadot, derived from the Hebrew word for “riverbank.”
  6. Hayley Williams – An American singer-songwriter with the last name Williams, derived from the Old Germanic word for “protection” or “shelter by the water.”
  7. Ursula Andress – A Swiss actress with the last name Andress, derived from the Old High German word for “spring” or “fountain.”
  8. Annette Bening – An American actress with the last name Bening, derived from the Old English word for “clear water.”
  9. Enya – An Irish singer with the last name Brennan, derived from the Irish Gaelic word for “little drop of water.”
  10. Joaquin Phoenix – An American actor with the last name Phoenix, derived from the Greek mythological bird that rose from the ashes and symbolizes regeneration and rebirth through the water.


From simple puddles to oceans, surnames that associate their meaning with nature have been a cultural thing for most countries. Its symbolic significance has been an inspiration to many generations, and will probably continue to do so in the near future. Besides having a unique sound to it, they represent a rich and diverse tapestry of human history and culture. With that being said, we hope this list of 40 unique names that mean water has inspired you to respect the different cultures and heritages that the world offers.

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Daisy Martinez, a Certified Financial Planner and mother of two, blends finance expertise from Ohio State and Anderson School of Management with hands-on parenting insights. Founder of "mamallove.com" and "cashsavvytips.com", she's passionate about guiding parents in financial and parenting realms.

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