Jaké je Tvé Příjmení? What is Your Family Name?

Jaké je Tvé Příjmení? What is Your Family Name?

Jun 01, 2017

In the beginning, individuals were known by just one name. Our history books tell us about Galileo and Michelangelo, and in the Bible, Abraham begat Isaac, who begat Jacob, who begat Judah, etc. Eventually it became necessary to add further description to avoid confusion and tell families apart.

Czech last names are effected by a variety of influences and can even change according to a person’s gender. It may be interesting to learn some of this information if you want to try to trace your lineage and learn about your ancestors. The origin of a name can be influenced by things such as profession, language, and descriptive characteristics.


Interestingly, grammar plays a role in the family name, and there are two types of Czech family names: nouns and adjectives. If the name is an adjective, it usually ends in a –y for males and –a for females. For example, the name Veselý comes from the adjective “cheerful.” A male would spell his last name Veselý and a female would spell hers Vesela.

Even nouns and adjectives can be feminine or masculine. This is not something we deal with often in the English language, but it is definitely taken into account in other languages, such as Slavic or Spanish.


In addition, the ending of the names vary according to gender, both of the individual and the gender of the word. Female last names are feminized with the ending –ova or –a. An example of this would be a female with the last name Slepickova. Her husband, with the same last name, would be Slepicka.

There are quite a few rules when it comes to whether the name ends with a consonant or a vowel and the endings that should be added. For more in depth information visit a website such as https://familysearch.org/wiki/en/Czech_Republic_Names_Personal.

Below is interesting information on family names and how they originated. Is your family name in here?

Descriptive Adjectives

Černý (Black), Dlouhý (Long), Malý (Small), Nejedlý (Inedible), Nový (New), Opatrný (Careful/Cautious), Plachý (Shy), Pokorný (Humble), Rychlý (Quick), Suchý (Dry), Tichý (Quiet), Veselý (Cheerful)

Descriptive Nouns

Buchta (Pie/Cake), Drbohlav (ScratchHead), Hromádka (LittlePile), Hůlka (SmallStick), Chalupa (FarmHouse/Cottage), Chudoba (Poverty), Křížek (LittleCross), Kučera (CurlyHead), Mrázek (LittleFrost), Rada (Advice), Svoboda (Freedom), Vodička (LittleWater), Zahrádka (SmallGarden), Žáček (LittlePupil), Žák (Pupil)

Descriptive Verbs

Brousil (Sharpened), Chytil (Caught), Dohnal (CaughtUpWith), Kouřil (Smoked), Kvapil (Rushed), Musil (HadTo), Navrátil (Returned), Pospíšil (Hurried), Strouhal (Grated), Vybíral (Chose), Vyskočil (Jumped), Zlámal (Broke)

Professions and Social Status

Bednář (Cooper), Biskup (Bishop), Hudeček (LittleFiddler), Kaplan (Chaplain), Kolář (Cartwright), Kovář (Smith), Král (King), Krejčí (Tailor), Kuchař (Cook), Mlynář (Miller), Pekař (Baker), Sedlák (Farmer), Sedláček (LittleFarmer), Sládek (Brewer), Švec (Shoemaker), Tesař (Carpenter), Zahradník (Gardener), Zeman (Squire)


Bažant (Pheasant), Blecha (Flea), Čížek, Daněk (FallowDear), Hrdlička (Dove), Hroch (Hippo), Havránek (LittleRaven), Ježek (Hedgehog), Kocourek (LittleTomcat), Komárek (LittleMosquito), Liška (Fox), Moucha (Fly), Ptáček (LittleBird), Racek (Seagull), Skřivánek (LittleLark), Sokol (Falcon), Sova (Owl), Straka (Magpie), Šváb (Cockroach), Veverka (Squirrel), Vlček (LittleWolf), Vydra (Otter), Zajíc (Hare), Zajíček (LittleHare)

Plants, Fruits, Vegetables

Borovička (SmallPine), Cibulka (SmallOnion), Fiala (Violet), Jahoda (Strawberry), Jedlička (SmallFir), Kapusta (Sprouts), Kopřiva (Nettle), Malina (Raspberry), Mrkvička (LittleCarrot), Růžička (LittleRose), Vrba (Willow)

Word Combinations and Whole Sentences

Brzobohatý (SoonToBeRich), Skočdopole (JumpInTheField), Vítámvás (IWelcomeYou), Nejezchleba (DontEatBread), Nepovím (IWontTell), Nesnídal (DidntHaveBreakfast), Osolsobě (AddYourselfSalt), Přinesdomů (BringHome), Rádsetoulal (LikedToWander), Stojespal (SleptWhileStanding), Drahokoupil (BoughtExpensively), Kopkáně (KickedABuzzard), Přecechtěl (StillHeWanted), Snědldítětikaši (AteTheChildsPorridge)

Category: Czech Connection

Shannon Daugherty

ACS, FLMI, Member Programs Assistant

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