Can you guess the most common names in Greece and Cyprus? The two countries, where naming customs follow a widely-used pattern of naming a child after their grandparents, are known for having a list of only four or five iconic names for each gender.
Names hold a very important place in Greek and Cypriot culture, as each name is linked to a Greek Orthodox saint, and every person with that name celebrates their name day on that saint’s feast day, almost like a birthday.
Then, of course, there are also the most common Greek and Cypriot last names.
Despite differences in the customs surrounding them, proper names are found in nearly all cultures around the world. Names are important aspects of our identity, differentiating us from others while connecting us with our ancestors.
Whether your name is common or entirely unique, it speaks to your history, culture, and sense of self. Dale Carnegie, author of the iconic book How to Win Friends and Influence People expresses the importance of names by saying: “names are the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
In Greece, the most common family name is Papadopoulos, followed by Pappas, Karagiannis, and Vlachos. In Cyprus, Georgiou is the most widely-seen surname, with Charalambous, Ioannou, and Constantinou ranking next on the list of common last names.
Most Greek surnames are linked to a place or profession
Most Greek last names are topographical, meaning that they refer to a specific place of origin.
The place of origin is indicated by including the actual name of the region in the name. For example, Maniatis comes from Mani, a region in the southern Peloponnese. Topographical names can also include certain characteristics and indicate ancestral location, such as last names ending in -idis or -akis from Pontus and Crete, respectively.
Another common category of Greek family names includes those that reflect the profession of an ancestor. Such names include Psaras (fisherman) and Samaras (saddle maker).
Most common first names in Greece and Cyprus
Do you know any Greek women named Maria, Eleni, or Katerina? You probably know at least one, if not more, as they are the most common first names among Greek women. In Cyprus, the list is nearly the same, with Maria and Eleni toping the list, followed by Androula.
Have you been wondering about male names in Greece and Cyprus? If you have a certain list in mind, you may (or may not) be surprised—Andreas, Giorgos, and Kostas are the most common first name for Cypriot men, while Giorgos, Yiannis, and Dimitris are found most frequently in Greece.
Τα δημοφιλέστερα ονόματα στην #Ελλάδα ως ποσοστό (%) του μόνιμου πληθυσμού των αντρών και των γυναικών.
— ELSTAT (@StatisticsGR) May 21, 2019
Most common names around the world
Smith, of English origin, is the most common name in North America and Australia. Johnson, Williams, and Brown follow Smith in terms of last names in that part of the world. Following Smith in Australia are Jones, Williams, and Brown. The similar list in both countries reflects their shared history as former British colonies.
While the lists of the most common first names in Greece and Cyprus remain relatively similar due to naming customs, popular first names in North America can vary widely from year to year, owing to trends.
According to the U.S. Social Security Administration, the most popular names for American men over the past one hundred years have been James, John, Robert, and Michael, while for women they are Mary, Patricia, Jennifer, and Linda.
Does your first or last name rank among the most common in Greece, Cyprus, North America, or Australia?