Suffixes in Italian Surnames

Suffixes in Italian Surnames

As mentioned in a previous post, Italian surnames are very numerous. One of the reasons for this onomastic richness is the many variations created by suffixes.

Italian cognomens are composed by a base word with a variety of suffixes. The base could be a name, nickname, profession or toponym. These last received a distinctive feature from suffixes. However, many surnames have lost its “transparency”, mainly due to the intervention of phonetic-linguistic phenomena. Therefore, the function that suffixes had at the beginning is no longer perceived.

In adittion, it should be noted that suffixes exist in a large amount in the Italian language, and they were used in singular as much as plural. Among Italian surnames the most common are:

  • Diminutives: –in, -ini, -ino, -etti,- etto,- allo, -illo, -ello
  • Aumentatives: -one, -acco, -occo, -ucco, -accio, -aso, -asso, -ico, -isio, -isso, -izzo, -azzo, -ione
  • Derogatory: –accio, -astro,- aglia, -aldo, -azzo
  • Vezzegiativo (derogative sometimes used in an affectionate way): -otto, -uccio.  -ucci
  • Indicators of place of origin: -ani, -ano, -ese, -esi, -eri, -ieri, -engo, -ingo, -esco, -isco
  • Indicators of profession: -aro, -tore

Moreover, it is also possible to find combinations of suffixes. For example: Pontellini ponte + elli + ini.

In this way, from the same word or name many different surnames were originated . Some examples are: Albertinello, Albertonino, Antognazzino, Guglielminetto, Marconcino, Marcuccillo, Martinazollo, Pertuccello, Petroccello, Petruzzello, Petruzziello, Brugnettini, Brunelleschi, Chiaruttini, Coluccini, Cortelletti, Magnanini, Martinazzoli, Petruzzelli, Pontellini, Rinuccini, Silvestrini.