Short Last Names Beginning With F

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

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

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

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 when they are above 25%. The first listed ethnicity has the higher percentage.

Most Common Four Letter Last Names Starting With F

Ford is the most common four-letter name starting with F in the United States.

Last NameNumberMostly
Fair18,609White, Black
Fong17,889Asian & PI
Ford184,832White, Black

About 62% of respondents named Ford declared that they were white, while 32% declared as black.

“Fair” has a similar breakdown across two ethnicities:

  • White: 65%
  • Black: 29%


Ford is a name of English origin. We cover the meaning and origins in more detail in our article on last names beginning with F.

I’ll summarize here as saying that early bearers would have lived near a river crossing.

Fry has different origins depending on the region.

The English origins come from the old English word for freedom or to be free.

The Germanic origins come from the German surname “Frei”. This referred to a free man in feudal times.

Fong is of Cantonese origin.

Most Common Three Letter Last Names Starting With F

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
Fan8,441Asian & PI
Few2,292White, Black

Fox is the most common three-letter surname starting with F in the United States.

It had over 150 thousand bearers in 2010. Eighty-eight percent of respondents in the census declared as white. The other 12 percent was spread across other ethnicities.

The last name Fry is a variant of Frye which we covered in the previous section.

Few is spread across two ethnicities:

  • White: 63%
  • Black: 32%


The English origins of Fox come from the animal.  

Red-haired people would have been given it as a nickname. The name would also have been given to clever or cunning people.

Fay has several meanings from its English origins. The old English word for a loyal person is “fei”. Early bearers may have been trusted servants.

The name also can come from the word for fairies and witchcraft (faie). Some early bearers may have been soothsayers.

Fan is of Chinese origins, with several places having that name.

Two Letter Last Names Starting With F

I can’t give you the top ten two-letter names starting with F because there are only four 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 four names from the census:

Last NameNumberMostly
Fa311Asian & PI, White
Fe140White, Asian
Fo238Asian & PI, White
Fu8,370Asian & PI

Fu is the only name with over a thousand bearers. 94% of respondents ticked the category for “Asian and Pacific Islander”.

They are most likely of Chinese origin. The meaning of the name comes from the word for a wise teacher.

The other names have more of a spread of ethnicities. In fact, none of the three has a single ethnicity over fifty percent.

Fa was 45% Asian and 35% white.

Fe was 40% white and 33% Asian. It may be a spelling variant of the name Fay or Faye.

F As A One-Letter Last Name?

Statistics for the name “F” 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 families with F as their name somewhere in America?

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

Are you too young to remember telephone directories stacked on the hall table? Here’s a picture:

The entries were formatted as lists under the name.

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

There was only one name listed under the last name of “F”:

  • Arrow Paul

Could this be a typographic error for “F Paul Arrow” or “F Arrow Paul”? I think that’s likely.

Other Surnames That Start With F

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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