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Patronymic (/pætrəˈnɪmɪk/), derived from the Greek words "patēr" meaning father and "onoma" meaning name, is a component of a personal name based on the given name of one's father, grandfather, or an earlier male ancestor.

A patronymic is a type of family name that is passed down from generation to generation. It is a common practice in many cultures around the world, including in Russia, Iceland, and parts of the Middle East and Scandinavia.

In some cultures, a patronymic is added to a person's name as a suffix, while in others it replaces the family name. The formation of patronymics varies from culture to culture and may include the use of prefixes or suffixes, changes in spelling or pronunciation, or the addition of honorifics.


The term patronymic comes from the Greek words "patēr" (father) and "onoma" (name). It was first used in English in the late 17th century.

Related Terms

  • Matronymic: A name derived from a mother's name.
  • Surname: A family name given to a person and used as a last name in many cultures.
  • Given name: A personal name that is given to a person, as opposed to a surname or family name.
  • Middle name: A portion of a personal name that is written between the person's first given name and their surname.
  • Name change: The legal act of adopting a new name different from one's name at birth, marriage, or adoption.

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