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Surname Otto - Meaning and Origin

all surnames with 'O'

Otto: What does the surname Otto mean?

The surname Otto is of German origin. Derived from the old high German word "uod," the name means "wealth" or "prosperity." It was originally used as a short form of names containing this element, like Ottmar or Otto. The name gained prominence through Otto the Great, an influential 10th-century Holy Roman Emperor. Over the centuries, the name has become widely adopted as a family surname across Germany, Northern Europe, and other parts of the world. It's important to note that meanings of surnames can vary based on their geographical origins and historical shifts in language. Therefore, the interpretation of wealth or prosperity attached to Otto is context-specific to its German origin.

Otto: Where does the name Otto come from?

The last name Otto is most common in German-speaking countries, particularly in Germany and Austria. In Germany, it ranks as the 11th most common surname, making up about 0.16% of the population. In Austria, it is slightly rarer, ranking as the 30th most common name with roughly 0.09% of the population.

In the United states, Otto ranks as 560th most common and is believed to be of German origin. The majority of bearers of this name have ancestry from Germany, particularly from the states of Bavaria, Baden, and Wurttemberg. People bearing this last name can also be found in Australia, where it is estimated that more than 2,000 individuals of the last name Otto reside.

The last name is also prevalent in Switzerland, where it ranks as the 84th most common, accounting for approximately 0.015% of the population there. Other countries in Europe in which this surname is common include the United Kingdom (0.011% of the population) and France (0.0038% of the population).

Outside of Europe, Otto is also common among individuals from parts of Latin America. This is because many German immigrants moved there during the 19th and 20th centuries, particularly to countries such as Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. In Brazil alone, there are many individuals bearing this name and it is estimated that more than 20,000 people carry the last name there.

Variations of the surname Otto

The surname Otto is of German origin and there are several variants and spellings depending on the language and country of origin. Variants include Otho, Otha, Ohta, Oth, Otha, Oeth, Oete, Otte, and Ote. In German, the surname is spelled Oetto and is a patronymic surname deriving from the given name ‘Otto’. This was a common given name in Germany during the Middle Ages and the surname was likely adopted by someone in a family bearing the given name Otto. The German surname Oetto can be found as a byname in various parts of northern Europe, including Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland.

In addition, there are several surnames derived from the same root. These include Oatly, Ochs, Ohana, Ohl, Ohlman, Oller, Otten, Ottinger, Ottey and Ottley. Some of these spellings may vary across cultures and countries due to different dialects and pronunciations.

The surname Otto is extremely popular and when surnames are based on sound, there is often variation in their spelling and pronunciation. It is also common to find variants and derivatives of the same origin in different cultures based on the same root word or meaning. As such, there are various surnames which are derived from the same Germanic given name Otto.

Famous people with the name Otto

  • Otto von Bismarck: renowned German statesman who was the first chancellor of the German Empire
  • Otto Preminger: Austrian-born American theatre and film director famous for being a ‘Hollywood maverick’
  • Otto Frank: father of Anne Frank and lone survivor of the Frank family during World War II
  • Otto von Hapsburg: Archduke of Austria, Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary, and later a politician in Germany
  • Otto Klemperer: German conductor and composer who conducted works by Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, and Wagner
  • Otto Reich: diplomat and politician who served as US Ambassador to Venezuela and Special Envoy to the Western Hemisphere
  • Otto Knows: Swedish DJ and EDM producer
  • Otto I: the first Holy Roman Emperor and founder of the Ottonian Dynasty
  • Otto Waalkes: German comedian, actor, author, musician, and artist
  • Otto Hahn: German chemist, radiochemist, and Nobel Prize winner for his discovery of nuclear fission

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