How different are Cypriot names from their Turkish and Greek counterparts?

By: | Post date: 2015-09-26 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Modern Greek

Greek Cypriot surnames are often patronymics, formed as the genitives of given names. Surnames are quite region-specific in Greek, so you can tell a Greek Cypriot surname: it’s the one *without* a suffix, like -opoulos, -akis, -idis, -ellis, -atos, etc.

Greek Cypriots use a few more Ancient names than Greece Greeks, and a lot more Old Testament names. For a truly random sampling, there’s the current Cypriot cabinet:


  • Nicos Anastasiades
  • Ioannis Kasoulidis
  • Harris Georgiades
  • Socratis Hasikos
  • Christoforos Fokaides
  • Costas Kadis
  • Marios Demetriades
  • Georgios Lakkotrypis
  • Nicos   Kouyialis
  • Zeta Emilianidou
  • Ionas Nicolaou
  • George Pamboridis
  • Nikos Christodoulides
  • Constantinos Petrides

Nicolaou is “Nicholas”; that’s in fact my surname in Greek. (My father is Cypriot, though I haven’t spent much time there.) Most of the other surnames are -ides/-ades, the revived ancient Greek patronymic which also got taken up by Pontic Greeks. Ionas is “Jonah”; you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone in Greece called Jonah. There are some Socrates’s in Greece, but I think there are rather more in Cyprus. Btw, Marios (Mario) is more common in Cyprus as a name as well.

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