Short Last Names Beginning With D

This article is about short last names beginning with D that are under five letters.

We look at the most common four-letter, three-letter, and two-letter D family names in the United States in recent years.

We also investigate whether anybody in the United States is named simply “D”.

Using The 2010 U.S. Census

We used the 2010 U.S. Census to look at the numbers for these names.

That allowed us to grab the top ten in each category of four, three, and two-letter names.

The 2010 census also gives a breakdown of how people reported their ethnicity. Some of these names have at least tiny percentages of all the possible ethnic categories.

We’ve included the top two ethnicities in the tables below. The first listed ethnicity has the higher percentage.

Four Letter Last Names Starting With D

Last NameNumberMostly
Dang30,389Asian & PI

Diaz is the most common four-letter name starting with D in America. About 93% of respondents with the name declared that they were Hispanic.

Both Dean and Dunn had over one hundred thousand bearers in 2010. Both are predominantly white in the census (about 77% and 80% respectively).

Unlike with some other letters, none of these top ten names had a black percentage over 20%.

Origins and meanings

We cover the meaning and origins of the name Diaz in our article on Hispanic surnames starting with D.

Dunn is a name of Scottish heritage. It derives from a Scots-Gaelic word that means brown. The name was given to brown-haired warriors.

Dean is a name of English heritage. The meaning comes from an old English word for a valley.

Many placenames in England have Dean as part of their name. Early bearers in England would come from those places.

Three Letter Last Names Starting With D

You can see by the numbers in the table below that three-letter last names are a little less common than those with four letters.

Last NameNumberMostly
Dai4,723Asian & PI
Dao11,211Asian & PI
Das7,289Asian & PI
Doe7,066White, Black

Day is the only name with over one hundred thousand bearers in the 2010 census. 83% of respondents reported as white with about 10% as black.

Dai and Dao were both over 90% Asian names.

Doe was more spread across ethnicities:

  • White: 55%
  • Black: 30%
  • Hispanic: 8%
  • Asian & Pacific Island: 4%


The origins and meaning of Day vary depending on the region. It was an occupational name in England that was conferred on dairy cattle herders.

In Wales, Day and Dai are variants of each other. They are shortened forms of the Welsh name Dafydd (David).

However, 94% of the American bearers in the census named Dai reported as Asian. They are likely of Chinese or Vietnamese origins.

Dao is of Vietnamese origins.

Two Letter Last Names Starting With D

I can’t give you the top ten two-letter names starting with D because there are only six in the 2010 U.S. census.

That doesn’t mean that there aren’t more people with other two-letter names that I don’t include here. It’s just that other names didn’t have at least one hundred bearers in 2010.

The U.S. National Archives only publishes details of surnames with one hundred or more bearers. Here is a summary of the six names from the census:

Last NameNumberMostly
Da714Asian & PI
De1,123Asian, White
Di570Asian & PI
Do30,301Asian & PI
Du7,566Asian & PI
Dy1,932Asian & PI

Most are predominantly Asian. Do is of Vietnamese origin, while Du is Chinese.

Both Do and Du were over 94% Asian in the 2010 census.

De has a greater spread across three ethnicities. The breakdown was like this:

  • Asian & PI: 57%
  • White: 27%
  • Hispanic: 10%
  • Black: 4%

D As A One-Letter Last Name?

Statistics for the name “D” aren’t in the published U.S. census of 2010. That means that even if it exists in the country, there weren’t one hundred people with the name.

Could there be a few people named D somewhere in America?

The late mathematician A. Ross Eckler conducted a study of one-letter names in the 1970s using telephone directories.

Eckler pointed out that many examples in the books were errors that came from reversing initials, first names, and last names.

For example, someone recorded in the directory as “Mayor D” was probably a mistake for “D Mayor”. That’s not a real example, but I’ll show you the entries he found for D. There are only two.

If you’re too young to remember telephone directories stacked on the hall table, then I’ll tell you that they were formatted as lists under the name.

These were the first names listed under the last name of “D”:

  • Ary Kay
  • Hosey
  • A Wester

Eckler thought some examples of other letters were genuine. But he thought that the single-letter entries for the name D looked like mistakes.

Other Surnames That Start With D

If you want to check out more names, check out these articles:

Index Of Other Short Last Names


Margaret created a family tree on a genealogy website in 2012. She purchased her first DNA kit in 2017. She created this website to share insights and how-to guides on DNA, genealogy, and family research.

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