Greek Last Names

Greek Last Names Greek last names are usually patronymics, meaning that they were formed by the name of a male ancestor. Other traits may also influence how a Greek surname was created, usually occupation, characteristics of an ancestor or based on location. The feminine version of Greek surnames is usually the genitive of the father’s or husband’s name. So, for the male surname Georgiades, the feminine equivalent is Georgiadou.

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.”

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