Did you know what the most common Croatian surnames are?

Like every nation, Croatia has its distinctive set of right Croatian names and surnames. Although many parents have started naming their kids in various international and foreign names, the traditional Croatian ones still hold top places when it comes to giving names to Croatian babies.
Marko, Ivan, Luka, for boys or Ana, Marija, Martina for girls are the names of Biblical heritage but adapted to fit more Croatian language. Hrvoje is a favorite boys’ name originating from the very word of “Hrvat” which means Croat, but there are also names that hold their history in the old Slavic mythology of these areas such as Morana for girls.
Croatian national flag, photo credit by Croatian Attractions & K2
Croatian national flag, photo credit by Croatian Attractions & K2

But what about surnames? Maybe some of you noticed that a significant number of Croatian surnames end with a suffix –ić. Just think of all the Croatian athletes such as Goran Ivanišević, Janica Kostelić, Luka Modrić, Marin Čilić, Dražen Petrović, Blanka Vlašić and so on. Those type of surnames are the ones you’ll mostly stumble upon and are common, but did you know that the most common Croatian surname is nothing with an –ić? That’s right; the most common Croatian surname is Horvat which literally in its etymology means Croat.

St. Mark's Square, Zagreb, photo by Matko M. Švarc
St. Mark’s Square, Zagreb, photo by Matko M. Švarc

In a population of less than 4 and a half million people, 25 000 carry the original Croatian surname. Novak is the second most common surname with a bit over 12,000 people followed by Marić, Kovačević, Babić, and Kovačić.

Most of those surnames reach far in history, around medieval ages when women didn’t have their surname or simply family name but used the name of a male relative or spouse stylized to fit their female identity. As time flew, women got the same surnames as their male relatives, but many of those female names stayed to these days with the abovementioned suffix –ić.

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