What do Russian names mean?

Elena Melnichenko
Elena Melnichenko
February 4, 2015
What do Russian names mean?

Each name, regardless of the language, has a layer meaning, but we often do not pay attention to it, choosing the name of the newborn baby. Scientists argue that the name affects the fate of a person, so you always need to think about what the names mean.

The following tells about the origin and structure of Russian names.

The origin of Russian names

The names of the Slavs began to appear at the end of the 10th century before the baptism of Russia. After 988, in addition to the main name, children had the so-called “additional names” (baptismal), which the child received at baptism. Surnames began to appear only by the 14th century, and were received by princes and boyars, then merchants and landowners.

Names at that time were given to a person according to his origin. For example, in the royal family were distributed such names: Alexander, Alexey, Peter, Vladimir, Nikolay, Ivan, Mikhail, Roman, Fedor, Pavel, Sergey, Dmitry; Catherine, Elizabeth, Anastasia, Sofia, Tatiana, Xenia, Anna.

In peasant families, the name was given in honor of the saints: John, Gabriel, Ilya, Elisha, Andrew, and the surname basically indicated the occupation of the father. Often the surname was formed from the personal name or the name of the patron saint.

Names were also selected based on their meanings. For example, Svetlana - bright, glowing; Matthew - "God-given."

In addition, the appearance of names can be found in the article How the Names Appeared.

The structure of Russian names

All Russian names are subject to a clear rule: in the first place is the actual name of the person, in the second place is the patronymic name, then the surname. Sometimes the surname is entered first, followed by the first and middle names. The presence of a patronymic is a unique feature of Russian (Slavic) names, unlike the European variants, where the patronymic is not used.

Name distribution

Russian names are widely used throughout the world, and this is mainly due to the migration of the population. Russian immigrants continue to call their children by Russian names, although the use of Russian names by foreigners is not excluded. For example, Yuri Buenaventura (Colombian, so named in honor of the first man who went into space - Yuri Gagarin).

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