Q:

What is the ethnic origin of surnames?

A:

When Europeans first began assigning each other surnames to differentiate individuals in expanding urban areas, the names frequently referenced someone's appearance or the place that they were from. Names such as "Long," "Short," "Black" and "White" were common.

Sometimes surnames zeroed in on specific physical features, such as the length of someone's hair or their weight. Other times, names were a direct reference to someone's heritage. Toth, for instance, one of the most common Slovak surnames, literally means "Slovak." Surnames weren't exclusively assigned based on appearance or heritage, however. It was also common to assign last names based on occupation. Thus the last name "Smith" could refer to a blacksmith or an ironsmith.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    Why do people judge based on appearance?

    A:

    Even people who do not want to do so tend to judge others by their appearance as part of the crucial human ability to be able to make snap judgments about people and situations. Being able to put sensory input into categories is vitally important for the human brain to function and deal with the world around it. One by-product is judging others based on appearance.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the meaning of stigmatization?

    A:

    Individuals who are shamed, bullied or discriminated against based on preconceived judgments of their appearance, disabilities or lifestyles are victims of stigmatization. Stigmatized individuals fall outside the society definition of "normal." Examples include prostitutes, mental patients, drug addicts or people with physical deformities, according to About.com.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are some names of famous people who were adopted?

    A:

    Many well-known people grew up in adoptive homes. Some, such as Wendy's founder Dave Thomas, have used their high public profiles to further the cause of adopted children. Others have been more discreet when talking about their upbringings.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are the names of deserts around the world?

    A:

    The names of some well-known deserts are the Sahara, Gobi, Mojave, Sonoran, Kalahari, Namib and the Great Victoria Desert. There are many more, including the Arabian, Syrian and Patagonian deserts. Similarly, the two biggest deserts are located in polar regions, and they are the Antarctic Polar and Arctic Polar deserts.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore