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Census reveals a number of amusing Croatian surnames

Over 33,200 surnames in Croatia

According to the most recent census, there were more than 33,200 surnames registered in Croatia. 

Whilst surnames like Horvat, Knežević, Kovačević and Babić were among the most common, there were also a number of rare and often humourous surnames if you look at them literally. 

For example, there are around 10 people with the surname Kokoš (Hen), Guzanović (Buttocks) and Salata (Salad)

There are 22 people with the surname Zalogaj (Nibble) and 30 with the surname Motika (Hoe/Pickaxe) The surname Drakula (Dracula) is more common than one would think with 56 registered in the last census. 

There were also other humourous surnames registered, such as Osoba (Person), Litra (Litre) and Kajgana (Scrambled eggs).

Besides changing surnames due to marriage, surnames are often changed in Croatia by workers returning from living abroad but are rarely changed because the surname is unusual or funny, the Zagreb office for general administration said.

“Last year there were 1,932 cases, that number has been similar most years with a variation of 10-15 cases a year,” Asja Ettinger from the Zagreb office of administration told RTL Direkt

From Slavonia in the east to Neretva in the south, there are a number of surnames which date back centuries. For years, first and last names have been maintained in Croatia to keep traditions alive. Linguist Domagoj Vidović comments on the difference between names from the Dalmatia and Slavonia regions of the country. 

“In the north, surnames often had German or Hungarian origins, whilst in some towns often surnames were named after the person’s trade or craft. In the south, there was always a different culture of life and the surnames there reflected that,” he said. 

“Croatia is a country with an incredible number of poets, so its apparent people like rhymes. I remember my colleague Ljubica Tikvica. It is up to parents to decide names but they should just avoid names that could be problematic in 20 years time,” he concluded. 

You can check out the 200 most common surnames in Croatia here.

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