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What surnames in Ukraine are antonyms: examples

Alina MilsentLife
History of Ukrainian surnames

The history of Ukrainian surnames goes back centuries. Most surnames originated on the basis of characteristic nicknames formed from names, professions, place names, appearance features, etc.

Surnames could also originate from names denoting family kinship. According to scientists at the O.O. Potebnya Institute of Linguistics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, there are many antonyms among them.

Surnames based on the words "grandfather" and "grandmother" are very common and can be found in all regions of Ukraine. They are word-formed in a variety of ways: Didukh, Didenchuk, Didenko, Didkovskyi, Didovych, Didun, Did, Didulenko, Babyn, Babiy, Babiychuk, Babiuk, Babenko, Babyn, etc.

These surnames, according to linguists, can be grouped into peculiar antonymic pairs:

  • Didash - Babash,
  • Didenko - Babenko,
  • Didenchuk - Babinchuk,
  • Didyk - Babyk,
  • Didytskyi - Babytskyi,
  • Didych - Babych,
  • Didychenko - Babichenko,
  • Didychuk - Babychuk,
  • Didko - Babko,
  • Didula - Babula,
  • Didur - Babur,
  • Didura - Babura,
  • Didusenko - Babusenko,
  • Didukh - Babukh,
  • Didushko - Babushko,
  • Didushok - Babushok,
  • Didchenko - Babchenko,
  • Didiuk - Babiuk.

From the lexical point of view, composite surnames are also of interest: they are formed by adding an adjectival base to a noun: Bilodid, Sirobaba, Hlukhodid, Lykhobaba, etc.

There is also a separate category of surnames formed by combining verbs in the 2nd person singular imperative mood with a noun - the subject of the action: Valiaybaba, Duridid.

Researchers are not sure how the Kolybaba surname and its variations originated: Kolibaba, Kalibaba, Kulibaba, Kulibaba).

According to one version, the surname was formed from the combination of the verb "to prick" and the noun "woman". According to another, Kolybaba may be a derivative of Kulbaba.

A third group of etymologists adds that to explain the surname, it is worth turning to other languages: Romanian - Colibaba (Nikola + Baba), or Polish - Kolibaba ("slob").

The map shows the regions of distribution of the surnames.

What surnames in Ukraine are antonyms: examples

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