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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Patronymic \Pa`tro*nym"ic\ (-n[i^]m"[i^]k), a. [L. patronymicus, Gr. patrwnymiko`s; path`r father + 'o`noma name: cf. F. patronymique.] Derived from ancestors; as, a patronymic denomination.


Patronymic \Pa`tro*nym"ic\, n. [Gr. patrwnymiko`n.] A modification of the father's name borne by the son; a name derived from that of a parent or ancestor; as, Pelides, the son of Peleus; Johnson, the son of John; Macdonald, the son of Donald; Paulowitz, the son of Paul; also, the surname of a family; the family name.
--M. A. Lower.

Note: In Russia, the patronymic is taken routinely as a middle name, and is commonly used together with the given name in addressing people with whom one is familiar, thus Ivan Ivanovich would be commonly used to address Ivan, whose father was Ivan; likewise Boris Michaelovich would address Boris the son of Michael, and Lena Ivanova would address Lena, the daughter of Ivan.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1610s, from Late Latin patronymicum, from neuter of patronymicus "derived from a father's name," from patronymos "named from the father," from pater (genitive patros) "father" (see father (n.)) + onyma "name," Aeolic dialectal variant of onoma "name" (see name (n.)). As an adjective from 1660s.


a. Derived from ancestors; as, a patronymic denomination. n. Name acquired from one's father's, grandfather's or earlier (male) ancestor's first name. Some cultures use a patronymic where other cultures use a surname or family name; other cultures (like Russia) use both a patronymic and a surname.

  1. adj. of a patronymic name

  2. n. a name derived with an affix (such as -son in English or O'- in Irish) from the name of your father or a paternal ancestor


A patronym, or patronymic, is a component of a personal name based on the given name of one's father, grandfather (i.e., an avonymic), or an even-earlier male ancestor. A component of a name based on the name of one's mother or a female ancestor is a matronymic. Each is a means of conveying lineage. In such instances, a person is usually referred to by their given name, rather than their patronymic.

Patronymics are still in use, including mandatory use, in many places worldwide, although their use has largely been replaced by or transformed into patronymic surnames. Examples of such transformations include common English surnames such as Johnson (son of John).

Patronymic (disambiguation)

A patronymic or patronym is a component of a personal name based on the given name of a male ancestor.

Patronymic may also refer to:

  • Patronymic suffix, a suffix to indicate the patronymic derivation
  • Patronymic surname, a surname originated from the name of the father
  • Patronym (taxonomy), a scientific name honoring a person or persons

Usage examples of "patronymic".

I have ruthlessly simplified addresses and allowed a patronymic to appear only when the context absolutely demanded it.

Dolly, in speaking of her husband calls him by his first name and patronymic, she is doing something else: she chooses the most formal and neutral manner of reference to him to stress the estrangement.

One tiny curl added to the top of the first curve of the m in her name, had transformed it from a good old English patronymic that any girl might bear proudly, to Cornstock.

Although Peppino was its only representative at that time, and as, by an old family tradition, he bore a title different from the patronymic title of Pope Urban VII, the sale of the celebrated palace had called forth a scandal to which it was essential to put an end.

All three, when introduced, bore the same patronymic as the royal personage and so were surely related to him, dependent on him, and therefore likely to tell him always what they knew he wanted to hear rather than the truth, which made for damned poor advisers.

An intricately rendered set of arms done in what looked to be a bronze with a very high tin content was affixed to the lid, but the arms told him nothing as to the patronymic of the corpse within.

Herself born to old money and all that went with a distinguished patronymic in Tidewater Virginia, she had nothing more than a scathing contempt for anyone bearing a title of nobility.

Probably it was a common patronymic, and there were Altons all over the place.

Habana with a famous patronymic, a decent sword, personal honor, ambition, and damned little else save, perhaps, a letter of introduction to some midlevel official, for he and I both came west across the Ocean Sea in just such fashion, knowing that we would sink or swim, live or die, prosper or starve by dint of only our wits, our strong swordarms, and the Will of God.

Ailpein had fallen on the field of the second battle, so Eannruig quickly wedded Ailpein's sister, Catriona Stewart, assumed himself the royal patronymic, and the overawed remnant of the Council of Nobles declared him lawful successor and crowned him.

The folk here didn't use the patronymic form of address that was general in the Isles of her own time.

Dictys and I watched them go, my wife merrily accepting her escort's elbow, and then went round the remaining figures pensively summoning names and patronymics from that glorious morning for half the afternoon.

I'm on a little firmer ground with Grabowska, as those Old World niceties tended to fall by the wayside around the time patronymics took the place of surnames and overworked civil servants at Ellis Island assigned mothers' names to the male and female children with whom they were immigrating.

Right many of us Fir-Ulad of today are, despite our patronymics, direct descendants of the old Cruithni and, through them, from the Pritani and, for all any save God Almighty now know, from the flint-men the Pritani themselves displaced or slew for the possession of the land.