What is the origin of the last name Souza?

The surname Souza originates from Portugal and has its roots in the Latin word "sylva" meaning "forest" or "wood." It is a toponymic surname, derived from a place name, referring to someone who lived near or in a forested area. The name eventually spread to other Portuguese-speaking regions, such as Brazil and Goa, and remains a common surname in those areas today.

Countries of origin for the last name Souza

The last name “SOUZA” is of Portuguese origin and is quite common in Brazil. It is believed to have derived from the word “sousa” which means “wolf” in Portuguese. The name can be found in various forms, such as De Sousa, De Souza, or simply Souza.

The surname Souza is predominantly found in Brazil, where it is ranked as one of the most common last names. It originated from the region of Minho, Portugal, and was brought to Brazil during the colonial period. The Portuguese influence on Brazil led to the widespread use and adoption of the surname throughout the country.

As a patronymic name, Souza indicates that the family or individual bearing this name is descended from someone named Sousa or Souza. The formation of patronymic surnames was common in many cultures, including Portuguese, and was used to denote the lineage or ancestry of a person.

Like many other surnames, the spelling and pronunciation of Souza may vary depending on the region or country. It is important to note that different variations of the name may exist, such as De Sousa or De Souza, which could indicate slight variations in its origin or meaning.

The popularity and prevalence of the surname Souza in Brazil can be attributed to historical factors such as colonization, immigration, and the Portuguese influence on the country’s culture. Over time, the name has become deeply rooted in the Brazilian identity and is carried by numerous families and individuals across the nation.

Researching the specific meaning of the name Souza reveals connections to the animal kingdom, as it is derived from the Portuguese word for “wolf.” This connection can evoke various symbolic interpretations, such as strength, loyalty, or cunningness, often associated with wolves in mythology and folklore.

Overall, the surname Souza holds a significant place in Brazilian genealogy, reflecting the country’s historical connections with Portugal. Its prevalence and popularity can be attributed to the Portuguese influence on Brazilian culture, as well as the cultural significance of a patronymic surname denoting lineage and ancestry.

While our understanding of the origins and meaning of the last name Souza is fairly comprehensive, there may still be undiscovered historical and cultural aspects that could shed further light on its significance. As ongoing research and exploration continue to uncover new findings, the name Souza and its ties to Brazilian genealogy may reveal even more intriguing stories and connections.

Interesting facts about the last name Souza

  • The surname Souza is of Portuguese origin and is derived from the word “sousa,” which means “female bear” in Old Portuguese.
  • The name Souza is relatively common in Portuguese-speaking countries, particularly in Portugal, Brazil, and parts of Angola and Mozambique.
  • The surname is believed to have originated from a medieval nickname given to someone who displayed characteristics associated with a bear, such as strength or courage.
  • Souza is one of the most common surnames in Brazil, where it is estimated that over 600,000 people bear this surname.
  • In Portuguese naming conventions, it is common for individuals to have two surnames, the first being their father’s surname and the second being their mother’s surname. Therefore, an individual with the surname Souza may also have another surname in combination.
  • As the surname spread to different parts of the world, variations in spelling and pronunciation have emerged. Common variations include Sousa, De Souza, and Sosa.
  • The surname Souza has been carried by individuals across various fields, including sports, politics, music, and academia. Many notable figures with the surname Souza have made significant contributions in their respective fields.
  • The Souza family name has a strong presence in the United States, particularly among the Portuguese-American community, where it has been passed down through generations.
  • Close variants of the surname Souza can be found in other countries and regions as well. For example, the Spanish equivalent of Souza is “Sosa,” which is also a relatively common surname.
  • Genealogical studies on the Souza surname can provide valuable insights into family histories and migrations, particularly within the context of Portuguese colonization and diaspora.

Name Rank


There are around 22373 people with the last name Souza in the US

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