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Which Ukrainian surnames raise the most questions for scientists: it is difficult to understand the origin

Alina MilsentLife
History of Ukrainian surnames

Surnames are relatively recent: there were times when a person had only a first name. The first written references to Ukrainian surnames date back to the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. It is characteristic that people who belonged to the so-called "upper class" of society had surnames then.

The bulk of the population, the peasants, remained without surnames for a long time, and later most of them were formed on the basis of nicknames given by certain characteristics. Scientists try to classify surnames by different characteristics, but the origin of some is still unknown. Read the article by OBOZ.UA to find out which Ukrainian surnames raise the most questions among scientists.

Among the semantic groups, scientists distinguish the following:

  • surnames derived from first names;
  • surnames derived from the name of the place of residence;
  • "professional" surnames;
  • surnames derived from individual traits, such as character traits, appearance features, etc.

Of course, this list is not exhaustive-there were other ways of creating surnames, and not all of them can be classified.

In his work "Handbook of Ukrainian Surnames," Julian Redko, a specialist in Ukrainian anthroponymy, says that the surnames Tsyuz, Havdyda, and Shuturma, for example, do not fall into any semantic category. The scholar also cites evidence that our ancestors were once called Chicken, Carriage, Milk, and Bed.

Surnames formed from numerals are also controversial among linguists: Pivtorak, Sorokovyi, Tretyak, etc. No one can say what characteristics were used to give them. A person could be called Pivtorak because of his short stature, Sorokovyi because of, for example, his house number, and Tretyak because of his constant debts (he owed a third). But, of course, these are just hypotheses that are unlikely to ever be substantiated.

The surnames Yavysia and Proshchay, which originated from verb forms, are also interesting, but no one knows the reason for their appearance.

The situation is similar with the surnames Bystro, Krasno, Pak, and Let. A separate category is made up of surnames based on interjections, such as Fit, Chik, Gay. Scientists also cannot explain the history of their origin.

Earlier, OBOZ.UA told how monosyllabic Ukrainian surnames appeared.

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