Greek Last Names
Some surnames have prefixes which also show a characteristic of an ancestor. For example, the prefix “Papa-“ means that one of the ancestors was a priest. So, “Papakostas” means the son of Kostas, the priest. There are many other prefixes, such as “Archi-“ meaning “boss” and “Mastro-“ meaning “craftsman”. Other prefixes signify a body characteristic, like “Konto-“, “Makro-“ and “Chondro-“ meaning short, tall and fat respectively. A special prefix is “Hadji-“ which shows that an ancestor was on a pilgrimage to the Holy Lands (Jerusalem) and gained that prefix which derives from the Arabic word Hadj, meaning pilgrimage.
Surname suffixes usually denote where the ancestor was from. So, if a surname ends in “-akis”, it usually means there is ancestry from Crete or the Aegean Islands. “-as” shows ancestry from Macedonia or Epirus, while “-atos” is a suffix used in Kefalonia. “-allis” and “-ellis” are usually found in the Dodecanese, while the suffixes “-idis” and “-iadis” signify an origin from Pontus and Asia Minor. “-opoulos” was usually used in the Peloponnese, but has become widespread throughout Greece. The suffix “-oglou” is of Turkish origin and shows that there is ancestry from immigrants from Asia Minor. Finally, some surnames may generally show completely different origins. For example, “Frangopoulos” means “the son of a Frank” and “Voulgaropoulos” is the “son of a Bulgarian.”