A patronymic is a surname formed from the name of the owner's father or a paternal ancestor, used by a culture in place of or in addition to a family name that is handed down from generation to generation. As an interesting note, while some cultures exist that do use matronymics (names derived from one's mother), more often in a culture that uses patronymics, taking such a name is a sign of illegitimacy.
One of the cultures that used matronymics in the old days without it being an obvious sign of illegitimacy was the English. It was traditional for posthumous children in medieval times to take their mother's name as a surname, and kids faced with a sucky patronym and a cool matronym were free to choose the latter. Anson, Beaton, Izzard, and Madison are only a few of the many matronyms used in English as surnames.note
Very few modern cultures use patronymics exclusively because it just gets awkward as populations grow; Iceland is one of the few remaining cases, where (with the exception of a few families which had these family names before taking them up was forbidden by law) people are known by their first name and patronymic. Mongolia is an another example, but because the Mongol naming system allows for a much broader variation in the given names, it has somewhat less importance and is often initialed in practice. Another interesting aside is that Mongols follow the common Asian pattern of "surname first", so their patronymics go before given names, unlike the most other examples.
However, many cultures use them as part of a broader name. East Slavic names include both a patronymic and a family name, and the formal form of address (analogous to "Mr. Lastname" in English or "Lastname-san" in Japanese) is the first name and patronymic. For example, a letter to Putin might begin with "Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich!" Formal Spanish names include a given name, the father's first surname, the mother's first surname, and may also include toponyms, married names, and so on (the Other Wiki has some gory details ). Arabic frequently uses either patronymics or the opposite ("father-of") in addition to surnames, but these often replace surnames in common speech. So Mahmoud Abbas will be more commonly known as Abu Mazen, "the father of Mazen".
Most alien races have Only One Name, and among those who don't, it's usually a patronymic. Especially proud warrior races. Less often, but still more common than a proper surname, a character will use a locative name (Such as Xev of B3K from Lexx). Various Jaffa in Stargate SG-1 have used either (and the cultural bias is demonstrated by Master Bra'tac, who always referred to General Hammond as "Hammond of Texas"). The proudest of the warrior races have both.
A variation on the patronymic in some male-dominated societies is for women to be identified either as the daughter of [father's name] prior to marriage, and the wife of [husband's name] after marriage.
Taken to extremes, can easily form the basis for an Overly Long Name.
See also I Am X, Son of Y.
- Black Lagoon: Balalaika is a weird example, as she has a surname (Irininskaya) as her patronymic and a patronymic (Pavelovena) as her surname.
- Bleach: Uryuu Ishida's family have names with one kanji from their fathers' names. (Soken->Ryuuken->Uryuu) Taking a kanji from your father's name was very common in Japan until recently.
- Chihayafuru: Chihaya Ayase and her sister Chitose take a kanji from her mother's name, Chieko.
- Kamichama Karin gives us Kazune and Kazusa, children of Kujyou Kazuto, as well as Kirika and Kirio, children of Kirihiko Karasuma. And Suzune's name takes a kanji each from both Karin and Kazune's names.
- Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch: Sara's daughter Seira takes kanji from her mother's name. The reason is unknown (if there is one or if it was just Sara's personal decision), but fanon has established it as one of the mermaids' many customs.
- Asterix: Some Gauls have names humorously based on their parents', such as Semiautomatix son of Fulliautomatix, Astronomix son of Asterix, and Obeliscoidix son of Obelix. There's also the historical example of Caesar and his son Caesarion.
- The DCU:
- Kryptonian males are given a name which is attached to their surname, as in Kal-El (Kal of the House of El). Kryptonian females have a given name attached to a patronymic in the form of their father's name, as in Kara Zor-El (Kara, daughter of Zor, of the House of El). There are variants, as with Cir-El (who was not technically Kryptonian anyway) but those can generally be ascribed to Clark valuing human norms over Kryptonian ones.
- Thanagarians have males take their first name from their father's second name (Katar Hol's father was Paran Katar), while females take their second name from their father's first name (Shayera Thal's father was Thal Porvis). There have been variations, usually by writers who don't know the rules.
- Thorgal: Justified by the viking background. Thorgal Aegirsson (Messenger of Thor, son of Aegir), Aaricia Gandalfdottir, Jolan Thorgalson, Louve Thorgaldottir, Aniel Thorgalson...
- Enemy Mine: The Drac are parthenogenetic, meaning that each child only has one parent. Each Drac has a first and last name, plus a long list of ancestors names which they must remember and recite at a coming of age ceremony. Davidge, a human character who adopts a Drac as his son, gets his own name added to the boy's lineage.
- Iron Man 2: The real name of the Whiplash/Crimson Dynamo Composite Character is Ivan Antonovich Vanko (his father's name was Anton Vanko).
- The 13th Warrior: A subversion: thanks to a miscommunication, the Arab protagonist nbecomes known as "Eben" — a mispronunciation of the Arabic word "ibn", which means "son of".
Herger the Joyous: (to Ahmed) Quis est vestri nomen?
Melchisidek: (translating) He wants to know your name.
Ahmed: My name is Ahmed ibn Fahdlan ibn al-Abbas ibn Rashid ibn Hamad.
Herger the Joyous: Eben?
Ahmed ibn Fahdlan: No, listen, My name is Ahmed ibn Fahdlan. "Ibn" means "son of".
Herger the Joyous:' (to the other Vikings) Eben.
- Thor and The Avengers (2012): Thor addresses Agent Coulson as "Son of Coul", assuming that his surname is used the same in his culture. Thor calls himself either Odinson or Son of Odin.
- Animorphs has two examples. Andalite parents pass down their middle names to their children. Ax's middle name, Esgarrouth, was from his father's middle name, and Elfangor's middle name, Sirinial, was from his mother's middle name. Usually the problem of too many children didn't come into play as they had a one child per family policy until some were allowed a second child. Yeerks, meanwhile, are designated by their parent grub. So, Edriss 562, Visser One, would be the 562nd grub of the Edriss tri-parent.
- Chronicles of Prydain: The pattern is slightly different. Male characters go by the patronymic, but females use a matronymic. Thus, the Prince of Mona was Rhun son of Rhuddlum, but his mother was Teleria daughter of Tannwen. Eilonwy tended to be referenced by the very lengthy name the Princess Eilonwy daughter of Angharad daughter of Regat of the House of Llyr. That would have gone even longer had Eilonwy been able to remember the names of any of Regat's female ancestors.
- The Culture: The Culture has a complicated naming system, which is more a potted biography — it includes at least one name given by the parents, one family name, one name based on the place they were born, one name based on their place of residence, and one name chosen by the people themselves when they reach maturity. As an example, the Author would be "Sol-Terrasa Iain El-Bonko Banks da'NorthQueensferry". He's occasionally actually used the Anglicised version.
- Darkover: A woman who joins the Renunciates (aka the "Free Amazons") takes an oath in which, among other things, she agrees not to use the name of her father or her husband. She is thereafter known by her matronymic, e.g., "Margali n'ha [daughter of] Ysabet".
- The Deed of Paksenarrion: Paksenarrion Dorthansdotter, daughter of Dorthan Kanasson.
- Discworld: Parodied with Dwarves, who often name themselves after more distant relations. An example can be Snorriscousin or Glodsnephew. Also their patronymic surnames can stack, leading to Glodsonsonsonsonsonsonsons...
- Dragaera: Members of the House of the Dragon use a patronymic of an extremely illustrious ancestor, which is unique to that House; members of other houses just use their given name and title.
- Dragon's Winter: Used by a smattering of characters, including Azil Aumson who uses the matronymic derived from the name of his mother, Aum Niallsdatter (presumably a patronymic, although we never meet Niall).
- Emberverse: This is a popular naming convention, with characters known as "Jake sunna Jake" (say it aloud and it makes perfect sense), Dik Tomskid, Bjarni Erickson, and Asgerd Karlsdottir.
- His Dark Materials: Will encounters a Priest from Siberia in Lyra's world. He calls Will, Will Ivanovich to mean Will, son of John. Will doesn't keep the name, though.
- A Memoir By Lady Trent:
- Akhia, being a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Arabia, uses the same naming system. Suhail's full name is "Suhail ibn Ramiz ibn Khalis al-Aritati", or "Suhail son of Ramiz son of Khalis of the Aritat tribe".
- Likewise, Bulskevo uses the same naming system as Russia: Iosif Abramovich Khirzoff is a Bulskoi nobleman in the first book.
- Draconeans, being a matriarchy, use matronymics: Kudshayn, son of Ahheke, daughter of Iztam.
- Tolkien's Legendarium: Most peoples make use of patronymics. The only ones to use modern-style family names are the Shire-Hobbits and the Men and Hobbits of Bree-land (both lands which are culturally closest to modern day). Thus, for example, the dwarf Thorin Oakenshield (the latter name is an epithet, an earned one) is Thorin, son of Thráin, son of Thrór, while hobbit Frodo Baggins introduces himself as "Frodo, son of Drogo" when abroad.
- The Immortals: The people of the country of Galla use patronymics, a fact that is important in the history of Veralidaine Sarrasri (aka Daine) because, as a Heroic Bastard, she must use her mother's name as a matronymic, which draws scrutiny to her and her status as a bastard.
- Realm of the Elderlings: The protagonist of The Farseer Trilogy is named FitzChivalry Farseer, and thus his given name is actually a patronymic.
- The Seventh Tower: The Chosen hyphenate their parents' names; e.g. Tal Graile-Rerem indicates Tal, son of Graile (mother) and Rerem (father), while the Icecarls have been known to introduce themselves with several generations of their ancestry (e.g., "I am Milla, daughter of Ylse, daughter of Emor, daughter of Rohen, daughter of Cylo, in the line of Danir since the Ruin of the Ship"). Not only that, Icecarls also can earn Oakenshield-style epithets.
- The Star Kings: The Emperor is named Arn Abbas, while his sons are Jhal Arn and Zarth Arn.
- The Stormlight Archive: The Shin culture use patronymics so you get names like Shauka-daughter-Haswerth and Thresh-son-Esan, Szeth-son-son-Vallano is an exile and outcast and uses his grandfather's name because he doesn't want to dishonour his father.
- The Tale of the Five: The setting uses patronymics and matronymics depending on the gender of the child; a son is s'[Father's name], and a daughter is d'[Mother's name].
- Tales of the Branion Realm: Characters in The Granite Shield use Welsh patronymics and matronymics, depending on gender but subverted on occasion due to Gender Is No Object. The protagonists' mother is Llewellynne ap Rowena; one of her sons is named Llewen ap Tuedwur after his legitimate father but the other is a royal bastard named Rhys ap Llewellynne ap Owain after his mother and maternal grandfather.
- Uplift: Used on a species-wide scale. Each sapient species is "uplifted" from pre-sentience by a patron species. When a person is formally introduced, he identifies his species with all its patronymics — the names of all the patron species that are not yet extinct. (As in, "Bubbacub, a-Pil, ab-Kisa-ab-Soro-ab-Hul-ab-Puber-ul-Gello-ul-Pring".note Even with the abbreviated prefixes, introductions can take a while.) Humans have no known patron race, so human characters are introduced as "a-Human, ul-Dolphin-ul-Chimp" and a neo-dolphin or chimpanzee would be "ab-Human". Because of that, most of Galactic society treats humans as orphan bastards.
- Vorkosigan Saga: Barrayar has this for the Vor lords. First sons of Counts are given their paternal grandfather's first name as their first name, while their maternal grandfather's first name becomes their second name (For example: Count Piotr Pierre Vorkosigan). Miles would have originally been Piotr Miles Vorkosigan, but after he was born deformed and his paternal grandfather disowned him, his mother gave him her father's full name: Miles Naismith Vorkosigan. Second sons are given the second names of their grandfather (like Mark Pierre Vorkosigan).
- Warchild Series: Cagebird has a protagonist from an apparently rather traditional Russian family. He uses a patronymic as his middle name until he's recruited by Space Pirates, although it's only mentioned once or twice.
- The Wheel of Time has the Ogier, whose males introduce themselves with a double patronymic (Loial son of Arent son of Halan), and whose females introduce themselves with a double matronymic (Erith daughter of Ila daughter of Alar).
- Wild Cards: Dr. Tachyon has a Takisian name that lists his entire geneology for a thousand generations, and he gets very snippy when someone gets a part of it wrong.
- Andromeda: The Nietzscheans have a surname, a clan name and both a patronymic and a matronymic. One character's full name is "Tyr Anasazi of Kodiak Pride out of Victoria by Barbarossa". In practice this works as a short genealogy. Tyr is also at one point asked which Barbarossa was his father. Justified because Nietzscheans breed towards very specific traits, and knowing enough of your ancestry to avoid inbreeding is not a bad thing.
- The Last Kingdom, which takes place in 9th century England, Uhtred is known as either Uhtred Uhtredsson (representing his Saxon heritage) or Uhtred Ragnarsson (Ragnar being the Danish warlord who took him in), depending on how Saxon or Danish he's feeling, or who he's talking to.
- Mock the Week: Discussed. In one episode, Hugh Dennis mentions that in Iceland, people have patronyms instead of surnames, and since his father's name was John, if he was Icelandic, his name would be "Hugh Johnson".
- Star Trek: Klingons, if they're forced to give more than one name, give a patronymic (Worf, son of Mogh). They will also on occasion refer to their House. (For complicated political reasons, Worf is affiliated with General Martok's House, due to his own House being disbanded in disgrace for the good of the Empire). Vulcans use these as well in religious ceremonies, and give two names (the second is presumed to be the name of the paternal grandfather). It's worth noting that Vulcans do have family names, but they're unpronounceable by humans. Interestingly, Worf's son Alexander, when joining the Imperial Defense Force, uses his human name Alexander Rozhenko, with "Rozhenko" being the surname of Worf's foster parents. General Martok notes this is an unusual name and asks him what house he represents, but is satisfied with Alexander's claim he is of no house and is there seeking honor for himself in the war. Nobody else makes an issue of it, except for one immediately antagonistic crew member who initially insists on addressing him as "Son of Worf" because he sees that it bothers Alexander and wants to provoke him into a fight (the Klingon version of offering to take the new recruit under your wing).
- The Bible:
- Many Biblical figures have patronymic names. One that has Hilarious in Hindsight connotations today is "Joshua, Son of Nun".
- The Gospels:
- Jesus's enemies are shown referring to him as "Mary's son", thus calling attention to the uncertainty on his father's identity.
- Bartholomew is an apostle of Jesus mentioned in three of the four Gospels. His name is an Anglicized form of Greek Bartholomaios, which would be Bar Tolmai, "son of Tolmai", in Aramaic. It's usually accepted that Bartholomew is the same as "Nathanael" from the Gospel of John, which doesn't mention the name "Bartholomew".
- The apostle Simon Peter is called "Simon son of Jonah" in the Gospel of Matthew and "Simon son of John" in the Gospel of John.
- A blind man whom Jesus heals is called Bartimaeus in Latin or Bartimaios in Greek, which is typically assumed to be a transliteration of "Bar Timai", "son of Timai" in Aramaic.
- Barabbas, the man spared from death instead of Jesus, has a name meaning "son of the father". Some manuscripts even give Barabbas's full name as "Jesus Barabbas" — not unlikely, as Jesus (or rather the name later rendered as Jesus, Yeshua) was a common Jewish name.
- Norse Mythology:
- Thor is sometimes called "Óðinsson", which is just the way the Norse ran things in those days. The famous Viking explorer Leifr Eiríksson was, in fact, the son of Eiríkr the Red.
- Loki also had a rare matronym with "Laufeyjarson".
- Forgotten Realms: According to the 3rd Edition Campaign Setting, humans from Unther tend to use patronymics, whereas most other cultures prefer surnames.
- Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812: Everyone has at least one, as fitting for a musical where "everyone's got nine different names."
- Devil May Cry: Anyone who addresses Dante as "Son of Sparda" usually has malicious, or at least not-so-nice, intent.
- The Elder Scrolls:
- Orc last names in the series start with "gro" (masculine) or "gra" (feminine), meaning "son of" or "daughter of" respectively. For example, Balagog gro-Nolob is "Balagog, son of Nolob" while Sharn gra-Muzgob is "Sharn, daughter of Muzgob". In some cases, the name of the Orc's home stronghold may be substituted.
- Nords will also do this in some cases. Justified by being heavily based on early Scandinavian culture. For example, Archmage Gauldur's three sons all had the surname "Gauldurson".
- Final Fantasy XIV:
- This is utilized for its incredibly complex naming conventions for Miqo'te. A Seeker of the Sun Miqo'te name is made up of three parts; The first letter of the tribe's totem animal separate by an apostrophe, a name given at birth, and the last name for females is the first name of the breeding male that sired her (the males have no last name, instead using Tia or Nuhn to identify as a bachelor or breeding male, respectively).note Keeper of the Moon Miqo'te invert Seeker conventions exactly by using Matronymics; the females take on entirely new first names, but keep their mother's surname, the males take on their mother's name exactly, but with an added syllable to denote which numbered child they are.note
- Sea Wolf Roegadyns, despite their names looking long and complex, use a far more traditional and simple version of patronymics. For example, Admiral Merlwyb Bloefhiswyn is the daughter of Bloefhis. Any brothers Merlwyb would have would use Bloefhisyn.
- Primordia (2012): The robotic characters take on "fabrinymics" in honor of whoever created them. For example, Horatio's friend/helper/sidekick Crispin was built by Horatio, and thus is formally named "Crispin Horatiobuilt". Early robots that were created by humans before the mankind went extinct have the common fabrinymic "Manbuilt". Horatio refers to himself as "Horatio Nullbuilt", because he doesn't remember his origins due to unreadable files in his memory. He eventually turns out to be a backup of the AI of the ship he and Crispin live in — his real name is "HORUS Manbuilt". Fabrinymics can "stack" in a variety of ways, tracing several generations of machines. At one point, Horatio has to resolve a dispute between two brothers, Oswald and Cornelius Factorbuilt, regarding a small robot named Rex that they created together. The best possible solution is to notice that none of the brothers could have built that robot alone — but because they share the same fabrinymic, they can call Rex "Factorbuiltbuilt", thus gaining equal "buildership" over him.
- Warcraft: Thrall, leader of the Horde as of the third game (and World of Warcraft), is known as the "Son of Durotan", who was known to all as the late chief of the Frostwolf clan. Strangely, very few orcs introduce themselves this way. Mostly, they just go with a single name. If they have a nickname (usually passed down from father to son like "Doomhammer", "Hellscream", or "Blackhand"), it will be added.
- Destiny Intertwined: Dragons full names run "X, Son/Daughter of Y", using the name of their same-sex parent. Dragons of unknown parentage use their place of birth instead (such as "X, Son of Warfang City"), while dragons of particularly high rank use their clan name instead (such as "Lynerius of Stormbringer").
- My Friend is an Alien: A series of stories about a group of kids who befriend two aliens, the aliens have a quadruple patronymic (Jahv and Keyro, sons of Amshat, son of Lemoy, son of Dekel, son of Gershon).
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003): The Turtles eventually adopt the surname Splinterson.
- Ninjago: Word of God confirms that Lloyd Garmadon takes on his father's first name as his surname. Garmadon himself, as well as his brother Wu, don't have a surname due to being the sons of the First Spinjitzu Master.
- Ancient Rome didn't generally use patronymics, since they used modern-style family names (the nomen). But in some formal settings, like official records, a person's name would often include a filiation, which basically inserted the praenomina of his father and grandfather between the nomen and the cognomen. The Julius Caesar that everyone knows and loves would have been listed as "Gaius Iulius Gaii filiusnote Gaii neposnote Caesar", or "C. Iulius C. f. C. n. Caesar" for short. When Gaius Octavius found he'd been posthumously adopted by Julius Caesar, he had his new father officially proclaimed a demigod—and his own name, for formal purposes, became "Gaius Julius Caesar Divi filius", "...the son of the god".
- Ancient Greece did this, Homer had the Atreides, i.e. Agamemnon and Menelaus. Also with the Dioscuri (Scion of Zeus), Castor and Polydeuces - kind of a misnomer since only one was the son of Zeus. You can say they were just that inseparable.
- Regarding Arabic surnames:
- There exists an interesting inversion of this trope in Arab culture. A Kunya is a nickname given to a person referring to their first-born child or son in the form of Abu (=father of) [child's name] for fathers and Umm (=mother of) [child's name] for mothers. The rule is that if the eldest child is a daughter, the Kunya will refer to her until a younger brother is born, at which point the parents customarily adopt a new Kunya from the son's name; thus if a man first had a daughter named Fatima in 1990 a son named Ahmed in 1995, he would be "Abu Fatima" 1990-1995 and then "Abu Ahmed" 1995 onwards. If the child dies, however, the Kunya remains the same; for example, Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian National Authority, is still known as Abu Mazen (father of Mazen), even though Mazen Abbas died in 2002.note
- However, Arabic names also tend to have patronymics as well. The structure of an Arabic name is: Kunya (Abu/Umm, Father of/Mother of), Ism (a person's given name), Laqab (a nickname or description of the person or their character; this can be heritable, rather like a Roman cognomen), Nasab (the patronymic often two generations back, given with ibn/bint son of/daughter of), and Nisba (like a surname. Usually a family name, area or tribe of origin, or occupation, and very similar to a Roman nomen). Ex. Abu Kareem Muhammad al-Jameel ibn Nidh'aal ibn Abdulazeez al-Filisteeni would mean "Father of Kareem, Muhammad the beautiful, son of Nidh'all, son of Abdulazeez, the Palestinian."
- In many modern Arabic speaking countries, only the patronymics have legal significance, and the "Ibn" or "Bint" part is usually left out. In historical times, there was a great deal of variation as to the order of the various names too, with only the personal name and the patronymics being in a set order.
- For clarity: Arabs in the eastern part of the Arab world often use the name of their male-line great-grandfather (their father's father's father); this is known as an ism ruba`i ("fourth-name", more or less), since the middle two generations are often listed (e.g., Muhammad bin Adil bin Marwan bin Radwan, who would go as "Muhammad bin Radwan" for short, even though he's actually Adil's son).
- In most Arab countries, however, the "bin" is dropped, so our example fellow in, say Egypt, would be called "Muhammad Adil Marwan Radwan" in official contexts (e.g. on his national ID card) and "Muhammad Radwan" elsewhere—unless he elects to go by "Muhammad Marwan," since it's common for people to use the grandfather's name (ism thalathi, or "third-name") as the "surname"; it varies depending on family.note
- The spread of bureaucracy in the Arab world in the 20th century has led to surnames being more or less cemented, so some use the forename of a relatively distant ancestor as a surname and pass that on to their children even though that would not normally be included in the nasab. This is usually done by picking out an ancestor with a name no longer in use by the family or society in general. For example, a guy named Ahmed whose father's name is Muhammad, grandfather was Ahmed, and great-grandfather was Hashim, his full ruba`i name would be "Ahmed Muhammad Ahmed Hashim", and would probably go by Ahmed Hashim. When he inevitably named his eldest son after his father, that child would be known as "Muhammad Hashim" and his official ruba`i name would be "Muhammad Ahmed Muhammad Hashim"—despite the fact that "Hashim" is actually five generations back, not four.
- Some Arabs choose to use their nisba or laqab as a surname-equivalent instead (the al-Barghoutis/Barghouthis/etc. of Palestine notably use the nisba, while the famous Syrian-Egyptian musician Fareed al-Atrash used the laqab—it means "the Deaf"). This practice is most common in the Arab Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya), where the laqab is very often "Bou[whatever]" (the Maghrebi way of saying "Abu[whatever]", i.e. "father of [whatever]" or metaphorically "the guy with the [whatever]"). Again, the nasab is used as a set of middle names (so the Palestinian leader usually called Marwan Barghouti in Western media has the full name "Marwan Hasib Ibrahim al-Barghouti", with "Hasib" and "Ibrahim" being his father and grandfather's names). Using the nisba or laqab name would still be considered an ism ruba`i even though the fourth name—the surname—is not part of the nasab.
- A few Hebrew names used to work this way.
- In The Bible, although it wasn't exactly part of the name, Hebrews would identify themselves by tribe.
- "Traditional" Hebrew names are both patronymic and matronymic. They are still used for calling people to read from the Torah. For example, "Reuven ben Yaakov v'Leah" is Reuben, son of Jacob and Leah. And the traditional styling for a convert is usually "<name> ben/bat Avraham Aveinu v'Sarah Imeinu", or <name>, son/daughter of Abraham our father and Sarah our mother. Converts will use "Ben-Avraham", meaning "son of Abraham" (or "Bat-Avraham" meaning "daughter of Abraham), to connect them to their new people.note
- Cultures from the Horn of Africa (Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia), play this straight. A person's full name consists of their given name and their father's. Further paternal ancestors' names are optional. So for example, in the case of ex-Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, "Meles" is his given name, while Zenawi is his father's (Zenawi Asres). Somalia's ex-dictator, Siad Barre, on the other hand, had the full name "Mohamed Siad Barre"; his professional name is actually composed of his father's and grandfather's names.
- Though no longer used as true patronymics, several surnames are patronymic in origin:
- Those patronymic-style surnames of Germanic origin (English, German, Dutch, Scandinavia) have endings with "-son/-sen/-sohn". Iceland, which also belongs in this language group, still has proper patronymics. In German patronymic-style surnames also include those that begin with a masculine given name and end in an "-s" (originally a genitive), "-i" or "-y" (originally a Latin genitive, from the fashion for Latinized names during the late middle ages and renaissance) or that are identical to a first name. Thus in German you can encounter "Jacobsen", "Jacobsohn", "Jacobs", "Jacobi",note "Jacoby" and "Jacob" as surnames.
- Irish and Scottish surnames, though no longer patronymic, have patronymic origins. McCarthy and O'Connor literally mean "son of Carthach" and "male descendant of Conchobar (or Connor in the modern era)", respectively. This goes further in the Irish and Scottish languages, as these languages still treat surnames much like other examples of full patronymics. To take the Irish language examples from above (Mac Cárthaigh and Ó Conchobhair, respectively), we see two other forms used for women: Nic Chárthaigh (daughter of Carthach) and Ni Chonchobhair (female descendant of Conchobar), and Mhic Chárthaigh (wife of the son of Carthach) and Ui Chonchobhair (wife of the male descendant of Conchobar).
- Many of the most common Spanish surnames ending in -ez are patronymics: Sánchez = "Son of Sancho", López = "Son of Lope", Rodríguez = "Son of Rodrigo", and so on. (counterexamples: Latin American names Chávez and Cortez are exceptions to this rule and come from Spanish surnames Chaves and Cortés, which in turn are derived from words for "Keys" and "Polite.") There is also an equivalent in Portuguese, only it ends with -es (Rodrigues, Fernandes, Mendes, etc).
- Italian patronymic-derived surnames tend to replace the last letter of a given name with "i", likely as a derivation from the Latin genitive casenote . "Adami" and "Alessandri", for instance, originally meant "son of Adamo" and "son of Alessandro". Another variant derived from more recent Italian grammar used the prefixes "Di", "De" and "D'", all meaning "of", for the same effect — Di Pietro, De Luca, De Vito, D'Angelo, D'Antonio, and so on. Causing some confusion is that names based on someone's place of origin, rather than father, are constructed in the same manner.
- The ending "-vich" or "-ov" (and varieties thereof), generally speaking, denotes the form of a patronymic in Slavic languages.note Some (e.g. Serbian and Croatian) seem to feature names ending in "-vich" (alternatively spelled "-vic") more commonly, while others (e.g. Russian) seem to feature names ending in "-ov" more commonly.
- Most Russian surnames are essentially archaic form of patronymics: "-ov" was a standard patronymic ending for commoners, while modern form "-vich" was used by nobility. "-ov" is currently the standard form for surnames, while "-vich" is mostly restricted for men's patronymics. When "-vich" is actually used as a surname suffix, it usually occurs near the border with Belarus and Ukraine, where it is a common suffix for surnames. Gender declension exists for women; it's "-ova" and not "-ov" (Natasha Romanoff is therefore correctly "Natalia Romanova").
- The same is true of the Balkan "-ić" ending, found in Croatian, Serbian, etc. names e.g.: Petrović, Jovanović. Also, often gender declension is present ("-ova"/"-eva" for female names but the name's still patronymic). Rare cases of matronymic names do exist (with a suffix such as -in/-ina) in some cases of illegitimacy.
- Bulgarian patronymics are identical to surnames ("-ov"/"-ev" for men and "-ova"/"-eva" for women). This could result in people of the older generation (commonly teachers) referring to someone by their name and patronymic rather than name and surname by Russian tradition, which is regarded as weird (or can trigger a Spell My Name with an S if the two are similar). In cases of illegitimacy, matronymics (-in/-ina) can be used, although mothers mostly opt to give the child a patronymic based on the masculine version of their own name, or directly their own patronymic, so that the child doesn't get taunted at school.
- Turkish patronymic-derived surnames end with "-oğlu". Before the adoption of the Surname Law, this was used as a true patronymic, as in founding father Atatürk's birth name Ali Riza oğlu Mustafa ("Mustafa, son of Ali Riza". Yes, the order is reversed). In Azerbaijan, which used to be ruled by the Russians for a long time, the suffix is still used as an equivalent of the Slavic middle name suffix "-ovich" (the feminine form is "qızı", the equivalent of Slavic "-ovna"). Patronymic-derived surnames in Azerbaijan, on the other hand, follow the Russian rule and end in "-ov/-ova" or "-ev/eva".
- In the Persian-speaking world, it's "-zadeh", meaning "descendant of". This is encountered more in Iran and less in Afghanistan, where it is rendered as "-zada" for phonetic reasons. Another, less common suffix is "-pur", meaning "son of".
- While patronymics have died out in Georgia, patronymic-derived surnames are the most common in the country. They usually end with "-shvili" (meaning "child of") or "-dze" (meaning "son of"). Josef Stalin's birth name has both: Ioseb Besarionis dze Jugashvili. In this case, "Jugashvili" is his surname, while "dze" denotes that he was the son of a man named Besarion. As you can see, patronymics existed during his time. Adding an extra layer, this name was Russified in certain documentation as "Josef Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili". After he officially changed his last name to "Stalin" (his longtime nom de guerre), he still sometimes kept the "Vissarionovich" patronymic.
- In Iceland, this is even today Truth in Television to the point that taking a continental- or Anglophone-style family name is forbidden by law. The only people with family names are immigrants and their descendants (like former Prime Minister Geir Haarde, whose father was Norwegian).
- Icelandic names are at least easy for an English speaker to parse. You can be sure that if you meet someone named Sif Ólafsdóttir that she is in fact, Sif, Ólaf's daughter.
- This has the effect of rendering the concept of a family name—one passed from generation to generation—meaningless. The children of Eiríkur Ólafson could be Jón Eiríksson and Guðrún Eiríksdóttir, and Jón's children could then be Jónsson and Jónsdóttir. Unless they were named with a matronymic. Meaning that if you are looking up a friend in an Icelandic phonebook (which is organized by first names), you had better know the name of their father and/or mother.
- Women do not take their husband's names on marriage, which leads to problems when travelling overseas, as many cultures do not permit unmarried couples to share hotel rooms and the difference in "last names" seems to indicate such status. Add in kids with seemingly different "last names" from their folks' names, and you get a real mess.
- Matronyms are also used in Iceland, although they are nowhere nearly as common as patronyms. Unlike the trope description details there is no stigma attached, although a person may switch from a patronym to a matronym if they are discontent with their father. Some people also style themselves with both a patronym and matronym. E.g. Guðrún Ragnars- og Hrefnudóttir: Guðrún, daughter of Ragnar and Hrefna.
- Another side effect of this is that it is illegal to give a child a name which cannot easily or euphoniously take an Icelandic genitive case ending to form the patronymic or matronymic, although since the case of Duncan and Harriet Cardew (born to a British immigrant cook and his Icelander wife) in 2016, exceptions can be made for children of immigrants.
- In Russia, the patronymic (отчество otchestvo) is sort of like the middle name; it comes in between the first name (имя imya) and last name (фамилия familiya). The patronymic for a son usually ends in "-ович" ("-ovitch") and the patronymic for a daughter ends in "-овна" ("-ovna"). Socially, a Russian is generally known by his first name and patronymic; a man who is called "Boris Denisov" in court would be called "Boris Grigoryevitch" in ordinary life. It can also be a sign that an English writer didn't do the research if they have a Russian character with a patronymic for his last name (or if he has two patronymics).
- For instance, the Grand Duchess Anastasia's full name was "Anastasia Nikolaievna Romanova." "Nikolaievna" means "Daughter of Nicholas." Her brother, the tsarevitch (heir) Alexei, was "Alexei Nikolaievitch Romanov" ("Son of Nicholas").
- As a small sidenote, while for most daily uses the structure of names followed this model, official documents, as a rule, required the family name to be written first, followed by name and patronymic (maybe a comma after the family name). On envelopes, name and patronymic would often be written as initials (e.g. Romanova, A.N.).
- This is one reason why Russian literature can be so confusing for non-natives. The same character can be referred to as Ivan Yanuarevich Petrov, Ivan Yanuarevich, I.Y. Petrov (or Petrov, I.Y.), Ivan Petrov, Petrov, or Ivan. And that's not accounting for diminutives (pet names or nicknames), which could render friend Ivan as Vanya, Van'ka, Vanechka, Vaniusha, Vaniushka, or Ivanushka.
- The fall of patronymic use in modern Danish and its continuation in modern Russian has led to a lot of confusion in the case of the famous Russo-Danish explorer Vitus Bering — he had a similarly named uncle, a poet, whose only difference was a patronymic (the former was named Ionassen, while the latter Pederssen), and thus until the explorer's remains were rediscovered on the remote island in the Pacific, the portrait of his uncle — a jolly, plump and roundfaced gentleman◊, quite unlike his lean and stern-looking mariner relative◊, was believed to belong to the explorer.
- Using one of the Chinese characters from father's name in the names of the children is still quite popular in Korea, even in the North, where Hanjja is not used anymore. Koreans living in the other countries (like Koryo-saram in Russia and other ex-Soviet states) often modify this system by giving their children names that start from the same letter. This is best demonstrated by three generations of Kims of North Korea; their names are, in order, Il-sung, Jong-il, and Jong-un.
- Families in Wales used patronymic naming for centuries until very recently. Boys were [name] mab/fab [father's name] and girls merch/ferch [father's name]. This later became ap, which still survives in surnames today.
- This explains why so many Welsh family names begin with "P": when Anglicised, the ap prefix attached to the rest of the name and lost the initial "a", so that modern surnames are an echo of the original Welsh. Thus ap Rhys becomes Price or Preece; and so on, generating Pritchard or even Pratchett, Povey, Powell, Prenderghast, Probert, et c.
- There are also plenty of examples where the "P" has mutated. Bevan, Bowen and Upjohn are descended from ap Evan, ap Owen and ap John, for example.
- Welsh names also frequently used an -s ending (Jones, Roberts, etc.), although it is likely this was a later adoption from the English practice.
- This explains why so many Welsh family names begin with "P": when Anglicised, the ap prefix attached to the rest of the name and lost the initial "a", so that modern surnames are an echo of the original Welsh. Thus ap Rhys becomes Price or Preece; and so on, generating Pritchard or even Pratchett, Povey, Powell, Prenderghast, Probert, et c.
- Mongols don't use proper family names, and to distinguish between the people with the same given name they use patronymics — usually, father's name in a genitive case, giving it a ubiquitous "iin" ending — appended before the given name, though it isn't held in much significance and is often limited to just an initial. In an official context, like in passport, the patronymic (rarely, a matronymic) is, however, written in a nominative case. Clan names, while being allowed again nowadays, have no legal significance and aren't recorded in official documents.
- This has historically been the case in Western Finland, where proper surnames became commonplace only in the 18th century: people were referred either with patronyme or by the name of their farm or trade. The use of proper surnames has historically been common in Eastern Finland, and many families can trace their roots to Middle Ages. The common suffix on Eastern Finland surnames, -nen, is also the diminutive suffix in Finnish language, implying "offspring of", Pekkanen, "offspring of Pekka (Peter)". Western Finnish surnames often end in -la, implying in Finnish language as a "place of": Jaakkola might imply "farm of Jaakko" (James or Jacob), the original founder of the farm.
- Leonardo da Vinci's full name is "Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci", meaning "Leonardo, son of Piero from Vinci", Vinci being his birthplace.