Generate last namesGet ideas
- <% result.name %>
- <% result.name %>
Names - a short story
He dodged the kick that would’ve landed between his eyes, pivoted around his opponent and swept his leg. The young man’s breath went out of him as he came down hard. That small instant was all it took to plant a foot firmly on his windpipe. Control your opponent’s air supply and you control the battle.
“It’s over, son,” the old fighter said. “Now give me your name.”
All the boy returned was a defiant look. No matter. A little more pressure made him see sense. “Hensley,” he wheezed, and with the small expense of breath something much larger left him.
“Hensley.” The man tasted the name that now belonged to him. It was a good one. Names held power, and this one would sustain him for a long time. He lifted his boot and walked away, leaving his challenger alive, but as a mere shadow of what he had been.
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The random last name generator for your next project
Use our free random last name generator and stop racking your brain over the perfect surname for your next character. Whether you need to find a surname for a writing project or a roleplaying game, the thousands of possibilities we offer are bound to include the perfect name for you.
To use the last name generator, click “Generate”. This will immediately provide you with a random idea.
Why are last names important?
Last names are important for the following reasons:
- They show where your characters come from
- They indicate a family’s trade
- They can hint at a person’s religion
- They tell much about stature in society
- They can identify someone’s parents
Because of their significance, it’s a good idea to give your characters’ last names some thought. Effective writing is mostly about showing, not telling, and if a surname can paint a mental picture of a person’s background, this is a big win for the richness of your story.
The last name generator should be used for inspiration. If a name fits, it fits.
Where do surnames come from?
Surnames — also called family names or last names — haven’t been around forever. They are often a result of growing populations, which introduced the need to distinguish people by trade or heritage.
In Europe, last names are relatively young. The earliest recorded occurrence dates back to 916, in Ireland. In China, last names were supposedly first used around 2852 BC. Wherever they are used, the purpose is the same: to more accurately identify a person.
It’s very interesting to note how differently surnames are built up according to culture. Some are patrilineal, others matrilineal, such as Samuel Richardson (son of Richard). Often people are referred to by their trade — John Smith or Paul Baker — or by their location: Timothy London. Nicknames are also a popular origin of last names: Lucas Black or Peter Young.
Do last names exist everywhere?
Although surnames have been adopted throughout the world — sometimes for purely administrative reasons — not all cultures use them. You will not find last names in Iceland, Tibet, Burma, Java and many groups in East Africa.
The last name generator will serve you well. Use it for your next story and find the perfect fit for your character.
How did people historically receive or choose their surnames?
The surname or last name is a major influence on a person's identity as well as their family history. These names are passed down from generation to generation and can reveal a person's family history, including their ancestry, profession, origins, and even where they were born. Depending on culture and time period the origins of surnames can vary widely. There are many ways that people have historically chosen their surnames.
One of the earliest forms is the patronymic. It is a surname that derives from the father's initial name. This practice is still common in many countries. It often includes a suffix, or prefix such as "son" and "ben." In Scandinavian countries, a person's surname could be Johansson which is "son of Johan" or Bjornsdottir which is "daughter from Bjorn".
The trade or occupation of a person's family has historically determined their surname. Someone who was a blacksmith might use the surname Smith, while someone who was a carpenter might use the surname Carpenter. This practice was common in medieval Europe, and it is still practiced in some parts today.
Geographical locations can also influence surname origins. In some cases, a person's surname could be derived from their hometown. A person from Green could go by "Green" while someone from Birmingham might go under "Birmingham".
Surnames can be passed from father to son or mother to son. This is known as a matronymic name and is very common in some cultures. It is common in the Middle East to have a person's surname derived from their grandmother's or mother's name.
Some people choose their surnames, or adopt new surnames, for a variety reasons. You might want to stand out among others with the same surname or change your identity. For example, an artist might choose a stage name that is different from their official surname.
Because of their complex origins, surnames can provide insight into a person's cultural and family background. The surname of a person is an important part about who they are. It is often passed down through generations making it an important part family history and heritage.
5 questions to help you come up with last names
- What is the origin of the name?
- Could you combine two names you like?
- Does the name sound pleasing when combined with the first name?
- Does the name have any significant meaning?
- Could it be shortened or adapted for a more modern version?
Can I use the random last names that this tool creates?
Yes you can. The Story Shack claims no copyright on any of these names, but it is of course possible that some of the values this name generator provides are already owned by anyone else, so please make sure to always do your due diligence.
How many ideas can I generate with this Last Name Generator?
The Last Name Generator can generate thousands of ideas for your project, so feel free to keep clicking and at the end use the handy copy feature to export your last names to a text editor of your choice. Enjoy!
What are good last names?
There's thousands of random last names in this generator. Here are some samples to start:
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