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Surname Paavilainen - Meaning and Origin

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Paavilainen: What does the surname Paavilainen mean?

The last name Paavilainen is a Finnish surname derived from the given name Paavo. In Finnish, the name Paavo derives from the Latin name Paulus, meaning "small" or "humble". This may be seen as a reflection of the Finnish people’s humility and generosity.

This surname is particularly common in Northern Finland and is also found widely in the east of the country, notably in the region around Lake Saimaa. It is also found in parts of neighboring Sweden and Estonia.

The surname is often seen as a symbol of Finnish national identity. Paavilainen remains the most common Finnish sketch surname. Its popularity is likely connected to the long history of Finnish migration, from rural to urban areas of Finland and beyond. Finlanders may identify with the name Paavilainen as a representation of their national ethnicity, which may be part of why the name is still so widely used.

In terms of meaning, the name Paavilainen is generally thought to signify a humble, generous, and welcoming nature. The prefix “Paa” may mean “friend” or “relative,” while “vilainen” could be interpreted to mean “humble” or “good natured”. In this way, the surname can be seen as a representation of the Finnish national character.

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Paavilainen: Where does the name Paavilainen come from?

The last name Paavilainen is most common in Finland, where it ranks as the third most common surname. It is derived from a Finnish word meaning “son of Paavi”, a commonly used first name in the country. This last name is rarely seen outside the borders of Finland.

Within the country, Paavilainen is a fairly evenly dispersed name, found all over the country in cities and towns. Its highest concentrations are in the central and southern parts of the country, namely in the cities of Helsinki, Tampere, and Turku. In these areas, one in 25 people tend to have the last name Paavilainen.

In the US, Paavilainen is a much rarer name, ranking as the 37,366th most common surname in the country. Most people who bear this surname have of Finnish descent and originally migrated in the early 20th century. The most common states where the name is found today are Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, as those states hold the highest population of Finnish immigrants.

It is also worth noting that there is a second variant of this surname, written as Paavilainen, which originates from Estonia. This is a much rarer variant and is found mainly in the New England and Upper Midwest regions of the US. Overall, the last name Paavilainen is limited mainly to the countries of Finland and Estonia, as well as the US states of Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

Variations of the surname Paavilainen

Paavilainen (Finnish) is a surname common in Finland and among Finnish diasporic communities. The name is based on the Finnish male given name Paavo (variant: Paavali). It is derived from of the Biblical Hebrew name Pāwēl, Paul, meaning “small" or “humble" in Hebrew. The given name Paavo is known to have been in use by at least the 16th century, when it was in use among the nobility.

Variants of Paavilainen include Pavliski (Polish), Pavlov (Russian), Pavolini (Italian), Pavls (Danish and Norwegian), Pawlowitsch (German), and Pablik (Hungarian). In the United States, the name may be spelled Pavalina, Pavlina, Pavaline, or Pavlyn.

Other spellings or forms of the same root surname are Paasivirta or Paasivuori, which are based on place names, and Pauvlinen. It is common for Finns to have more than one surname as a result of the Uusi Nimi system whereby farmers, most commonly from rural areas, who had the same surname, adopted additional surnames to distinguish themselves.

The most common variant surnames derived from the same root are Paavola, Paavolainen, and Paavilainene.

The patronymic surnames of Paavilainen are -laiset‎ in the Finnish language, meaning “those who are (descendants of) Paavo", and -le in Swedish.

The hypocoristic (deriving from or resembling an existing name) forms of Paavilainen include Pavli or Pafi.

It is common for Finnish people to have multiple surnames, as a result of hereditary and other naming customs, so it is possible to possess two or more of the above surnames, such as Paavela, Paavolanen, and Paavolainene.

Famous people with the name Paavilainen

  • Antti Paavilainen: a Finnish-born illustrator and painter.
  • Juhani Paavilainen: a Finnish film and television director.
  • Marko Paavilainen: a Finnish former professional ice hockey defenceman.
  • Juha Paavilainen: a former Finnish footballer and coach.
  • Pauli Paavilainen: a Finnish sprint canoeist.
  • Otto Paavilainen: a Finnish composer.
  • Otto Donner: a Finnish avant-garde composer and saxophonist.
  • Maija Paavilainen: a Finnish film and stage actress.
  • Suvi Paavilainen: a Finnish-born artist and animator.
  • Arto Paavilainen: a former professional ice hockey player.
  • Petri Paavilainen: a Finnish classical organist, conductor, composer and professor.
  • Tapio Paavilainen: a Finnish ice hockey player.
  • Teemu Paavilainen: a Finnish ski jumper who competed in the 2002 Winter Olympics.
  • Ari-Pekka Paavilainen: a Finnish football player.
  • Ismo Paavilainen: a retired Finnish football player.

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