pat·​ro·​nym·​ic ˌpa-trə-ˈni-mik How to pronounce patronymic (audio)
: a name derived from that of the father or a paternal ancestor usually by the addition of an affix
patronymic adjective

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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 Dubrova said in the interview, using her formal name with patronymic. Jeanne Whalen, Anchorage Daily News, 10 Apr. 2022 Tetyana, who identified herself by her first name and patronymic but did not give her family name, was released after being held for four days. Byreuters, ABC News, 5 Apr. 2022 But Arkady, as everyone at Yandex calls him, Western-style, shorn of the formal Russian patronymic, now more or less lives with his family in Israel. Paul Starobin, Wired, 22 Mar. 2022 Customers who used to buy 1 kilogram of tvorog, a dairy product similar to cottage cheese, are now taking 200 or 300 grams, said a 69-year-old stall holder in a black fur hat who gave her name and patronymic, Valentina Mykhailivna. James Marson, WSJ, 24 Jan. 2022 The only hint was the moderator’s formal reference to her by her first name and patronymic – Katerina Vladimirovna. Washington Post, 5 June 2021 Russians have three names; a first name, a patronymic (or a middle name that is based on their father’s first name) and a last name. Denise Davidsonwriter, San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 July 2019 As far as the patronymic, women’s end in evna or ovna, which is ‘daughter of,’ Marina Dmitrievna Makarova. Denise Davidsonwriter, San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 July 2019 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, 15 May 2017 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'patronymic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1612, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of patronymic was in 1612

Dictionary Entries Near patronymic

Cite this Entry

“Patronymic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

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