Small words in Surnames (e.g. Von, de, van, Mac)
Is there a list or something I can get access to find out about these prefixes, and the suffixes (in languages like Swedish and Romanian where the endings show it, e.g. Dracula means "Son of the Dragon.")
Tags:  prefix, suffixes
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Suffix/Prefix ListHere is a list I compiled myself for research purposes. There are probably many inaccuracies and omissions but this is all I have. I hope it's of some use. :)-à Catalan form of Latin word suffix –?nus
Ab- Welsh/Breton “son of”
-aitis Baltic “son of”
-ak Polish occupational suffix
-akis Greek “descendant of”
-àn Spanish form of Latin word suffix –?nus
Ap- Welsh “son of”
Aran- Basque “valley”
Bally- Irish place name prefix
Ben- Hebrew “son of”
Bin Arabic “son of”
D’- French “of (place)”
De- French “of (place)”
De- Dutch “the”
-dotter Swedish/Icelandis “daughter of”
-dze Georgian “son of”
-é Provençal/Catalan occupational suffix
-ec Breton diminutive suffix
-eddu Sardinian diminutive suffix
-eiro Portuguese occupational suffix
-elli Italian diminutive suffix
-ello Italian diminutive suffix
-enko Ukrainian diminutive name suffix
-er English/German/Provençal/Catalan occupational suffix
-ero Spanish occupational suffix
-es Portuguese “son of”
-esco Romanian “son of”
-escu Romanian “son of”
-ese Italian habitation suffix
-ev Bulgarian/Russian “son of”
Exte- Basque “house”
-ez Spanish “son of”
-fi Hungarian “son of”
Fitz- Irish “son of”
-gen Low German hypocoristic suffix
Gren- Swedish “branch”
-ham English common place name element
-i Italian plural form (one of a family) – mainly Northern
-i Alasatian/Swiss dimintive suffix
-ian Armenian “son of”
-iano Italian habitation suffix
-ic Breton diminutive suffix
-i? Yugoslavian “son of”
-ides Greek “descendant of”
-ier French occupational suffix
-in Russian “son of”
-ini Italian diminutive name suffix
-ino Italian diminutive name suffix
-ins Latvian “son of”
-isch Slavonic influenced German hypo. suffix
-itz Slavonic influenced German suffix
-ke Slavonic influenced German hypo. suffix
-ken Low German hypocoristic suffix

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'Fitz' originated in England - not Ireland - as an Anglo-Norman patronymic. I don't have the time to correct the rest of this mess.
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A few more:
Ter or Der as a prefix to Armenian surnames means the named ancestor was a parish priest, e.g., Ter-Petrosian descends from a priest called Peter.
Papa, same thing in Greek - Papayannis, Father John.
Hadji/Hadzi in the Balkans, the named ancestor had made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Borrowed from the Turks.
Abu means father in Arabic. Arab parents are often known to friends and family by the name of their first son. sometimes these names became patronymics, e.g., Abu Khalil.
Abu is also used in nicknames, e.g. Abusha'ra, "father of hair", a hairy (or bald?) man; Abu Dirham, "father of coins", a wealthy (or stingy?) man. Both examples are found as surnames.
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a question: what is hypochoristic?and further: the Tom-, Tor- and Tot- (dutch) i don't recognize, can you give an example? (i'm dutch, you see)exte should be etxe i guessand to add: #-er# in especially German surnames can mean "habitation", like Leipheimer is from Leipheim and Luttenberger is from Luttenberg, etc.oh, and -ma in Frisian means its patronymic, at least according to Meertens Instituut. See, mainly it is connected with first names, but later on they started to connect it even with placenames and professions, but when you see a Frisian surname with ending in #-ma#, it is often preceded by a first name.
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Sorry, it should have been hypocoristic, just a convoluted way of saying a pet name. But I should have added that -ma was a patronymic ending, I was just looking it up a minute before hand. They say in the book mentioned below that -ma is hypocoristic and means "man" but that confuses me a little. This is an old list, I should have checked it before I posted that. : (Hmm, the Tot, Tor, Tom thing, I will have to look up where I found that...wait a minute...
I will have to quote for the best explanation:
"The preposition 'tot', corresponding to the High German 'zu' is also found fused in the dialect forms 'Ter, Tor, Ten & Tom'. These are shared with Low German surnames from the Rhineland". - under Dutch surnames in Oxford University's 'A Dictionary of Surnames'.And yes, exte should have been etxe. : )---------------------------------------
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aha, i found some examples at the Meertens Instituut of that: Tombrink as related to Ten Brink.and #-ma# does mean "man".
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Liam, I've been hunting the answer for ages! I've managed to find a rather good site for it but it isn't informative enough for me! Here is an extract from it:
A great part of all family names originated in patronymics. Usually, these were populations who did not care for family names and were known as A son of B or C daughter of D, but were conquered by a culture that imposed (or became an example of) the use of family names. It happened with the Gauls under the Romans and it also happened this very century in British colonies such as India. To this day in Russia, family names are simply patronymics, one being known by Piotr Nikkolovich (son of Nikkolo) or Anna Nikkolovna (daughter of Nikkolo). Irish O' and Irish-Scottish Mac simply mean "son of" -- a Scottish woman would have used Nic, meaning daughter of. Worldwide we have ap- in Welsh, map- in Cornish, -szoon in Holland, -son or -sen in Scandinavian countries, -escu in Romanian, -ian in Armenian, ben in Israel, ibn in Arabic, anak in Borneo, ag among the Targi (ult for a girl)... Sometimes surnames are gendered without being patronymics, as in Bulgaria and Greece.Other family names were originally nicknames or designations referring to profession, appearance, and of course place-names. Many cultures have the equivalent of aristocratic "of" in English and "de" in France: von in Germany, van in Holland, ze for Czechs, -tsi in Armenian... In Russia the nobility particle is an -ov in the patronymic; in Arabic nobility is recognized by a surname preceded by El ("the").Oh, and if you do find info on Romanian surnames and their links to nobility, PLEASE LET ME KNOW, IM DOING A STORY ON an Romanian aristocrat you see
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I have to disagree on a couple of points here.
First, VAN as a component of Dutch surnames is not indicative of noble status. Unlike the German VON it retains is original sense, "from" before a locative name.
Second the -ov ending is common throughout Russian society, not confined to families of noble ancestry. In fact some of the highest ranking families didn't have surnames ending in -ov. Think of the Princes Kropotkin, Obolensky, Galitsin.
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