What is the etymology of the surname Soros?

By: | Post date: 2016-11-19 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Artificial Languages

As in George Soros?

Likely Esperanto. “He will soar”. Possibly Hungarian: “Next in line”.

His father was called Tivadar Schwartz, and was an important figure in Esperanto culture (Teodoro Ŝvarc): not so much for stuff he wrote (including under the pseudonym Teo Melas—yes, the guy knew his Ancient Greek: Melas = Schwartz = Black), but because he founded Literatura Foiro, the defining Esperanto literary journal.

Having a Jewish name in pre-war Hungary was not a life-enhancing move, and Theo changed the surname in 1936. The Esperanto Wikipedia (George Soros – Vikipedio) is skeptical whether Esperanto was the prime mover behind the surname change; the English Wikipedia (George Soros – Wikipedia) mentions that the palindrome was also attractive.

George Soros was exposed to Esperanto plenty as a kid, though apparently he is not a native speaker, and he doesn’t speak it now. He hasn’t had much to do with the language since his youth, though the Esperanto Wikipedia mentions he was dragged to From Zamenhof to Soros: A Symposium organised by the Universal Esperanto Association in New York, 2010.

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