MAVROS & KANAKIS
Two greek surnames rather misterious fro me.
It is possible to find them in USA.
Could anyone tell me the meaning?

Thank you
Tags:  Kanakis, Mavros
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Replies

On KanakisIndeed, Mavros is "black" in Greek.
"Kanakis" is a bit more obscure. It means "caress" particularly when applied to a child or infant. It is derived from the ancient Greek "kanachi" (êáíá÷Þ) meaning the sound of metals and musical organs. The Latin word "cano" is derived from "kanachi" -- this gave birth to words such as "chanter" (french), "cantar" (Spanish) (all meaning to sing) and bizzare way also produced the German "hahn" (rooster) and the English Hen :)
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How do you pronounce Kanake (and I don't mean Kanakis)?
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According to the Greek Lexicon of Hesychius of Alexandria (5th century A.D.?), the word Kanakis is synonymous with Xiphos (a short bladed sword). See http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/resolveform?lang=Greek
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Kanakis is obviously related to Akinakis (pl. Akinakes), 'sword' and Turkish Kana, 'dagger'. The use of this weapon in battle is thought to be a Scythian or Persian innovation, so perhaps the name derives from a Scythian or Persian word.
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The Greek words "kanakis", "akis", etc (which refer to "a pointy edge") are all of feminine gender and end with an iota. (ÁÊÉÓ, ÊÁÍÁÊÉÓ in case you can see Greek fonts). However the *name* Kanakis -- whick is relateä, áó ìåíôéïíåä áâïâå, to KANAXH - ends with an eta.
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Point taken. But what is KANAXH? (Do you perhaps mean KANAKH or 'Kanake', daughter of Aiolos? If you don't, do you think Kanake and Kanakis are related?).
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Excellent posting ...love the additional derivatives!
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Thanks :)
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Mavros = black
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The word mavros originally referred to natives of Mauretania. Mavros and Latin Maurus may derive ultimately from an ancient North African language. The natural Greek word for the colour black is melas (melanos). I think '(dark as a) Moor' is a more precise interpretation of this surname than just 'black'.
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Melas is indeed a greek work for dark.
However, mavros -- or rather "mauros" or "amauros" -- mean "dimly seen, dim, faint, baffling sight" (as per Liddel-Scott)and was used as a synonym of "black: in classical times. In modern Greek, it certainly meaqns black. The word "Moor" itself is derived from the Latin "Maurus" via the Greek "mauros" as per teh Oxford Englisg Dictionary.
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It looks like I was deceived. The bit about Mavros deriving from an African language is on http://www.takeourword.com/TOW189/page2.html Funny enough, they also mention the Oxford English dictionary as their source. But it's certainly not in the edition I have! I should have been more sceptical, because I did notice that they think that Morocco also derives from Mavros, and it definitely does not...
Regards,
Obie
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