Frequency in Croatian population: 10.554 (9th Most Frequent)
The Knežević family name has it’s root in the Old Slavic word knez which further originates in Old Germanic kuningaz which are related to a frequent German surname König. It has a distinct meaning of a local village leader, but also a higher authority (a duke or a count). The same root can be also found in surnames like Knez, Knezac, Knezetić, Knezović, Knezoci, Knego, Knežić (Croatian variants) or Knjaz, Knjažević, Knjaževac (Serbian variants).
Knežević family name is often borne by a person of Croatian ethnicity, most often from the village of Vinjerac near Zadar or from the region around Ogulin. Some Kneževićs are Serbs from the Croatian city of Duga Resa as well as Montenegrins from Pljevlja.
Geography. Vinjerac near Zadar, Boraji near Šibenik and Struga Banska near Hrvatska Kostajnica are villages where almost every other resident bears the Knežević surname.
(Sources: Petar Šimunović, Hrvatska prezimena, Golden Marketing-Tehnička knjiga, Zagreb, 2006; Enciklopedija hrvatskih prezimena, Nacionalni rodoslovni centar, 2008)