Difference between revisions of "Introduction to Dictionary of Armenian Surnames"

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Dictionary of Armenian Surnames in English Transliteration  
Dictionary of Armenian Surnames in English Transliteration  

Revision as of 05:48, 18 September 2018

Dictionary of Armenian Surnames in English Transliteration


Armenian surnames are a true reflection of the culture and heritage of this ancient civilization. As with Armenian first names, Armenian surnames are often influenced by other civilizations with whom we have lived and interacted, such as the Persians, Georgians, Russians, Turks, Arabs, and Greeks.

Practically all Armenian surnames consist of a root or stem and a suffix denoting son of or family of or issued from. The preponderance of these suffixes consist of the Armenian IAN, with its variations such as, IANS, IANZ, IANTS, IANTZ, YAN, YANS, YANZ, YANTS, YANTZ, ENTS, ENTZ. Similar suffixes are derived from other languages, such as, OGHLI, OGLI, OGHLU, OGLU from Turkish, and OV, OFF, EV, EFF from Russian. ZADE from Georgian; ESCU from Rumanian.

It is worth mentioning that other nations such as the Persians, English and Irish also have surnames ending with "ian”. It is also to be noted that, historically, endings were changed to preclude undue attention, especially in Turkey, were "oghlu" (also meaning the "son of” in Turkish) was used.

This compendium reflects the root or stem of the name in upper case letters, and the suffix, customarily ian, in lower case. Excluded are prefixes such as DER, TER (denoting descent from married clergy) whether joined to the stem or not.

Armenian surnames can be classed generally in six categories, such as:


Armenians who are direct descendants of nobility, such as the "Nakharars", still carry their ancestral family name. These names usually have the ending "uni". Examples: Arshagouni, Ardsruni, Rshduni.


Many Armenian surnames originate from the first name of an ancestor. This practice is very common among all nations of the world. Examples: Avedisian, Garabedian, Hagopian.


Some Armenian surnames are derived from a person’s profession or trade, or that of an ancestor. These names (most have Arabic, Persian or Turkish origins) were assigned by the taxation officers to help them identify individuals in their own language. Examples: Bakalian, Najarian, Tashjian.

Geographic origin

An Armenian who has migrated from a certain geographic region (city, town or village) in Armenia, was typically given a surname, which was based on his/her geographic origin. Examples: Izmirlian, Marashian, Vanetsian.

Physical trait

A significant number of names are derived from obvious physical characteristic features The names often are not flattering, but the category is too extensive to be ignored. Examples: Bournazian, Shashoyan, Topalian.

Special circumstances

An interesting category of names is that where some unusual occurrence or circumstance gave rise to the name. Examples: Chokaszian, Haviters, Kherdian.

Note on pronunciation

In this work, the “oo” sound, as in fool, is represented by the letter combination “ou”. The “uh” sound, as in but, is represented by the letter “u”. The “oo” sound in Persian, Arabic and Turkish continues to be represented by the letter u.

Language key

A: Armenian Ab: Arabic An: Anglo-Saxon Ar: Aramaic As: Assyrian C: Chaldean Ct: Celtic E: English F: French Ge: German Gr: Greek H: Hebrew Hi: Hindi Ir: Irish It: Italian K: Kurdish L: Latin N: Norwegian P: Persian/Pahlavi R: Rumanian Rs: Russian S: Scottish Sp: Spanish Sw: Swedish T: Turkish Tn: Teutonic TT: Tatar U: Urdu W: Welsh

For a comprehensive presentation given by the author on the etymology of Armenian surnames, access the following site:



The author thanks the following named individuals for their kind and valuable assistance:

Mr. George Aghjayan Mr. Aram Arkun Mr. Eddie Arnavoudian Mr. Armen Aroyan Prof. George Bournoutian Mr. Cesar Chekijian Prof. Levon Chookaszian Prof. Levon Chorbajian Ms. Joyce Chorbajian Mr. Zaven Dadekian Ms Arpie Dadoyan Mr Joseph Dagdigian Mr. Onnik Dinkjian Mr. Yeghishe Hajakian Mr. Charles Hardy Ms Arpi Haroutunian Mr. Mircan Haviters Mr. Appo Jabarian Mr. Hrach Kalsahakian Mr. Mardig Kanayan Mr. Aram Khatchadourian Mr. Stepan Karadian Mr. Antranig Kasbarian Ms. Lucine Kasbarian Mr. Armen Lucas Dr. Herand Markarian Mr. Ashot Merijanian Ms. Alice Sachaklian Mr. Emil Sanamyan Mr. Richard Shareshian Mr. Vahe Surenian Mr. Zohrab Tazian Prof. Khachig Tololyan Ms. Shakeh Torigian Mr. Jirayr Tutunjian Mr. Alfred Yeznaian