pat·​ro·​nym·​ic | \ˌpa-trə-ˈni-mik \

Definition of patronymic 

: a name derived from that of the father or a paternal ancestor usually by the addition of an affix

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from patronymic

patronymic adjective

Did You Know?

A patronymic, or patronym, is generally formed by adding a prefix or suffix to a name. Thus, a few centuries ago, the male patronymic of Patrick was Fitzpatrick ("Patrick's son"), that of Peter was Peterson or Petersen, that of Donald was MacDonald or McDonald, and that of Hernando was Hernández. Today, of course, each of these is an ordinary family name, or surname. In Russia, both a patronymic and a surname are still used; in the name Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, for example, Ilyich is a patronymic meaning "son of Ilya".

Examples of patronymic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

For much of history, Danes used a patronymic naming system, so that the son of Jens would have the last name Jensen, and Jens’s daughter would have the last name Jensdatter. Julie Beck, The Atlantic, "All the Julie Becks and Me," 15 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'patronymic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of patronymic

1612, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for patronymic

ultimately from Greek patronymia patronymic, from patr- + onyma name — more at name

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about patronymic

Share patronymic

Dictionary Entries near patronymic



patron saint





Statistics for patronymic

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for patronymic

The first known use of patronymic was in 1612

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on patronymic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with patronymic Encyclopedia article about patronymic

Comments on patronymic

What made you want to look up patronymic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a nest or breeding place

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!