Slavic name suffixes

A Slavic name suffix is a common way of forming patronymics, family names, and pet names in the Slavic languages (also called the Slavonic languages). Many, if not most, Slavic last names are formed by adding possessive and other suffixes to given names and other words. Most Slavic surnames have suffixes which are found in varying degrees over the different nations. Some surnames are not formed in this way, including names of non-Slavic origin.

An example using an occupation is kovač, koval or kowal, which means blacksmith. It is the root of the names Kovačević, Kovačić, Kowalski, Kowalchuk, Kowalczyk, Kovalenko, Kovalyov, and Kovalev. All mean "descendant of a blacksmith".

The given name Petr or Petro (equivalent to Peter) can become Petrov, Petriv, Petriw, Petrovsky, Petrovich, and Petric. All mean "descendant of Peter". This is similar to the use of "-son" or "-sen" in Germanic languages.

In East Slavic languages (Belarusian, Russian, Rusyn, and Ukrainian) the same system of name suffixes can be used to express several meanings. One of the most common is the patronymic. Instead of a secondary "middle" given name, people identify themselves with their given and family name and patronymic, a name based on their father's given name. If a man gives his full name as Boris Vladimirovich Kuznetsov, then his father's name must have been Vladimir: Vladimirovich in this case literally means "Vladimir's son".

Similarly, many suffixes can be attached to express affection or informality (in linguistics, called a diminutive). For example, calling a boy named Ivan "Ivanko" or Yuri "Yurko" expresses that he is familiar to you. This is the same as referring to Robert to "Rob," "Bob" and "Bobby"; and William to "Bill", "Will" and "Willy".

Suffix Region Notes
Cyrillic Roman
-ов/-ев/-ёв (-ова/-ева/-ёва)[1] -ov/-ev/-yov (-ova/-eva/-yova) Russia, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Serbia (especially frequent in Vojvodina), Croatia (rare) This has been adopted by many non-Slavic peoples of Central Asia who are or have been under Russian rule, such as the Tatars, Chechens, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, Kazakhs, etc. Note that -ev (Russian unstressed and non-Russian) and -yov (Russian stressed) are the soft form of -ov, found after palatalized consonants or sibilants. The suffix -off comes from the French transliteration of -ov, based on the Muscovite pronunciation.
-ів -iv Ukraine
-ová Czech Republic and Slovakia Not a possessive suffix (unlike -ova would be in these languages), but rather it makes a feminine adjective out of a surname. Example: Krejčí 'tailor' (male form), Krejčová 'tailored' (female form)
  • -ский
  • -ський
  • -ски
  • -sky (-ska)
  • -ski (-ska)
  • -skiy (-skaya)
  • -ský (-ská)
Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Serbia (especially in Vojvodina), Croatia
  • -ович/-евич (-овна/-евна)
  • -ич/-ыч (-инична/-ычна)
  • -ović/-ević
  • -ić
  • -ovich/-evich (-ovna/-evna)
  • -ich
  • -owicz/-ewicz
  • -owitz
Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Belarus, Poland,[2] Slovakia, Ukraine, Russia,[2] North Macedonia (rare), occasionally Bulgaria Example: Petrović means Petr's son.

In Russia, where patronyms are used, a person may have two -(ov)ich names in a row; first the patronym, then the family name (see Shostakovich).

-ин (-ина)[1] -in (-ina) Russia, Serbia (especially in Vojvodina), Bulgaria, North Macedonia (rare)
-ко -ko Ukraine, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Belarus, also in Russia
-енко -enko of Ukrainian origin in Ukraine,[2] Belarus, also in Russia
  • -ak (-akova)
  • -ek (-ekova)
  • -ik (-ikova)
Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, also in Russia
  • -uk
  • -yuk
  • -iuk
Ukraine,[2] Belarus, also in Russia
  • -chuk
  • -czyk
Ukraine, Belarus, Poland[2]
  • -ец
  • -єць
  • -ac
  • -ec
Slovenia and Croatia, Serbia (only -ac), Czech Republic and Slovakia (only -ec), Belarus and Russia (-ец) and Ukraine (-єць)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "What is your name?". Retrieved 2020-05-29.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Slavic-Rusyn Notes". Archived from the original on February 2012.