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Croatian names follow complex and unique lettering, structuring, composition, and naming customs that have considerable similarities with most other European name systems, and with those of other Slavic peoples in particular.
Upon the Croatian populace's arrival on what is currently modern-day continental Croatia in the early 7th century, Croats used Slavic names and corresponding naming customs. With modernization and globalization in the last century, given names and surnames have expanded past typical Slavic traditionalism and have included borrowed names from all over the world. However, although given names vary from region to region in Croatia and can be heavily influenced by other countries' names, surnames tend to be Slavic. Croatian names usually, but not always, consist of a given name, followed by a family name; however certain names follow naming customs that diverge from the norm. Naming customs have been a part of Croatian culture for over 400 years.
Historically, Croatian royalty were all given traditional titles of nobility designating them with certain privileges and social standing; the titles were usually followed by the full name or simply their surname. In modern-day society, families all over the country use honorific titles when speaking to family members who are older, or as a sign of general respect. Traditionally only close friends or direct family members address themselves by their first names.
Style and form of address
During 925 - 1102, the Kingdom of Croatia's nobility had various titles and forms of address that varied from region to region and position to position. The King of Croatia was afforded the right of choosing his royal handle, for example in 1941, Prince Adimone, Duke of Aosta, took the name of King Tomislav II upon his succession to the Croatian throne. Titles were exclusive to members of the King's High Court and included the Queen consort and the following:
- Duke (the highest ranking a noble could receive in his majesty's court)
- Marquess (a lineage rank through European peerage)
- Count (a successive rank to the Marquess)
- Baron (title of honor bestowed on a civilian whose actions warranted the title)
The titles were usually followed by the full name or more commonly by their surname.
The Government of Croatia, which includes its executive branch and parliament, employ selected titles usually corresponding to position or powers. Titles are also bestowed on members of the Croatian Judiciary.
Prime ministerial style
- Premijer (Prime Minister (PM) of Croatia; the title is usually followed by the surname of the incumbent)
- His/Her Excellency (For the preface of the PM on foreign travel or amidst diplomatic work)
- Predsjednik (President of Croatia; the title is also usually followed by the surname of the incumbent)
- Mister/Madam Speaker (Speaker of the Croatian Parliament; title followed by full legal name)
It is common etiquette in Croatia to address members of society with honorific titles as a sign of respect and societal distance. It is only with close friends or direct family members that first names are used. Honorific titles include the following and are usually followed by the surname of the addressed.
- Gospodin (corresponding to Mr. or Sir in English and Monsieur in French)
- Gospođa (corresponding to Ms. or Mrs. in English and Madame in French)
- Gospođica (corresponding to Miss in English and Mademoiselle in French)
Croatian given names
Since their 7th century arrival in today's homeland, Croats have used Slavic names. Through the following centuries, foreign names were also accepted, especially those that mark Christian faith. However, Slavic names remained dominant until the Council of Trent (1545–63) when the Catholic church decided that every Christian should have Christian name instead of native one. This lasted until the 19th century, when Croats again started to use neglected traditional names—especially those of mediæval Croatian kings and dukes. More recently, as a result of globalization, unusual and exotic names of various cultures have also gained in wide spread popularity.
Traditional Croatian names
Some common Croatian names of Slavic origin include:
Berislava, Blaga, Blagica, Bogdana, Bogomila, Bogumila, Borka, Borislava, Božena, Božica, Božidarka, Branimira, Branka, Buga, Cvita, Cvijeta, Danica, Davorka, Divna, Dragana, Dragica, Dragomirka, Dragomira, Draginja, Dragina, Draga, Draženka, Dubravka, Dunja, Hrvoja, Hrvojka, Jasenka, Jasna, Ljuba, Ljubica, Mila, Milica, Miljenka, Mislava, Mira, Mirjana, Mirka, Misirka, Mirna, Mojmira, Morana, Nada, Neda, Nediljka, Nevenka, Ognjenka, Ranka, Rašeljka, Ratka, Ruža, Ružica, Sanja, Slava, Slavica, Slavenka, Smiljana, Spomenka, Srebrenka, Stanislava, Stana, Stanka, Snješka, Snježana, Sunčana, Sunčica, Tjeha, Tihana, Tihomila, Tuga, Vedrana, Vera, Verica, Vjera, Vesna, Vjekoslava, Vlasta, Vlatka, Zdenka, Zlata, Zora, Zorica, Zorka, Zrinka, Zrina, Zvjezdana, Zvonimira, Zvonka, Željka, Živka
Berislav, Berivoj, Blago, Bogdan, Bogumil, Bogoljub, Bogomil, Bojan, Boris, Borislav, Borna, Božetjeh, Božidar, Božo, Bratislav, Budimir, Branimir, Brajko, Branko, Braslav, Bratoljub, Cvitko, Cvjetko, Časlav, Častimir, Čedomir, Dalibor, Damir, Darko, Davor, Desimir, Dobroslav, Dobrovit, Domagoj, Dragan, Drago, Dragoslav, Dragutin, Dragomir, Dražen, Držiha, Držislav, Godemir, Gojko, Gojislav, Gojslav, Goran, Grubiša, Hrvatin, Hrvoj, Hrvoje, Hrvoslav, Kazimir, Kažimir, Jasenko, Klonimir, Krešimir, Krševan, Lavoslav, Ljubomir, Ljudevit, Milan, Mile, Milivoj, Milovan, Miljenko, Mirko, Miroslav, Miroš, Mislav, Mladen, Mojmir, Mutimir, Nediljko, Nedjeljko, Nenad, Ognjen, Ostoja, Ozren, Predrag, Pribislav, Prvan, Prvoslav, Prvoš, Radimir, Radomir, Radoš, Rajko, Ranko, Ratimir, Ratko, Rato, Radovan, Radoslav, Slaven, Slaviša, Slavoljub, Slavomir, Smiljan, Spomenko, Srebrenko, Srećko, Stanislav, Stanko, Strahimir, Svetoslav, Tihomil, Tihomir, Tješimir, Tomislav, Tomo, Tvrtko, Trpimir, Vatroslav, Većeslav, Vedran, Velimir, Veselko, Vidoslav, Vjekoslav, Vjenceslav, Višeslav, Vitomir, Vjeran, Vladimir, Vlado, Vlatko, Vojmil, Vojnomir, Vuk, Zdenko, Zdeslav, Zdravko, Zorislav, Zoran, Zrinko, Zrinoslav, Zlatko, Zvonimir, Zvonko, Žarko, Želimir, Željko, Živko
Aleksandar, Ana (Anna), Ante or Antun (Anthony), Andrija (Andrew), Danijel, David, Dominik, Edvard, Filip, Franjo (Francis), Fridrik, Grgur (Gregory), Henrik, Ilija (Elijah), Ivan (John), Jakov (Jacob), Josip (Joseph), Juraj (George), Karlo (Charles), Katarina (Catherine), Kristofor, Lav (Leo), Ljudevit (Lewis), Lovro (Lawrence), Luka (Luke), Marko (Mark), Marija (Mary), Matej (Matthew), Mihael, Mihovil, Mihajlo (Michael), Nikola, Nikša, Niko, Mikula (Nicholas), Pavao (Paul), Petar (Peter), Pero (Peter), Rikard, Sebastijan, Silvestar, Šimun (Simon), Stjepan, Stipan, Stipe (Stephen), Toma (Thomas), Vasilije, Vilim (William), Vinko (Vincent).
Borrowed or foreign names
Due to globalization and remnants of historical significance (i.e. Croatia–Italy relations, Illyrian Provincial nationalism, etc.) many people in Croatia have American, French, Swedish, Finnish, German, Italian and English first names (given names). However, due to the alphabetical limitation of the Croatian language many names take on new pronunciations, are respelled, or are restructured to comply with the country's naming customs. Uncharacteristic names are never declined in the Croatian language, and by nationality of origin include: (American): Thomas, Charles, Max, Jacob, William, Isabella, Emma, Madison, Matthew, Alexander; (German): Hans, Peter, Stephan, Gerhard, Edith, Gabriele, Monika, Wolfgang, Dennis; (French): Jean-Louis, Lucus, Marie, Clément, Camille, Baptiste, Léonie, Julien, Françoise, Jeanne; (Italian): Alessandro, Andrea, Alessia, Claudia, Christian, Riccardo, Luca, Matteo, Leonardo, Sofia ...
Croatian family names
Family names started to appear among Croats in the 12th century. Since the Council of Trent, both the given and family names would be written down.
Croatian family names have five different origins:
- Given names, matronymics and patronymics
- Anić, Blažević, Ivanec, Marić, Stipanov ...
- Professional names
- Kovač (blacksmith), Klobučar (hatmaker), Lončar (potter), Tkalčić (weaver), Stolar (carpenter) ...
- Debeljak, Crnić, Obad ...
- Duvnjak (from Duvno), Kuprešak (from Kupres), Bosanac (Bosnian), Posavec (from Posavina), Zagorec (from Hrvatsko Zagorje), ...
- Ethnic designation
- Hrvat, Horvat, Hrvatin, Horvatinčić ... (Croat), Čerkez (Circassians), Čeh (Czech), Mađar (Hungarians) ... :
Naming customs vary region to region in Croatia, and differ slightly from that of typical naming customs, such a Brazilian and Portuguese customs; Croatian naming customs closely mimic that of Roman naming conventions.
Example: If "Darko Stevnich Horatio Horvat" is the full legal name of a resident of Brod-Posavina tradition would dictate that his family name would be "Horatio" and not the assumed "Horvat" (which is another given name, usually named after the family's patriarch); this person would go by "Darko (given name) Horatio (family name)".
In selected regions of Međimurje and Šibenik, naming custom diverge again. Many residents traditionally go by their middle names, and reserve the full declaration of their names for formal occasions such as court, marriage or death.
Example: If "Kolinada Blaga Lončar" is the full legal name of a resident of one of these regions, she could choose to go by, and legally declare her name as "Blaga Lončar."
In this region of the country usually the following mechanism is used in naming, one that has been in practice for over four centuries:
- The oldest son is named after the father's father.
- The oldest daughter is named after the father's mother.
- The second oldest son is named after the mother's father.
- The second oldest daughter is named after the mother's mother.
Other offspring of father are either named after favorite aunts or uncles or, sometimes, after the saint of the day they were born.
- "Croatia: Language, Culture, Customs and Etiquette". www.commisceo-global.com. Retrieved 2016-08-19.
- "Serbian and Croatian names".
- "Most frequent surnames, Census 2011". Census of Population, Households and Dwellings 2011. Zagreb: Croatian Bureau of Statistics. December 2012. Retrieved 2013-09-06.
- Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain. "Naming Practices in Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia" (PDF).
- "Croatian genealogy, travel, translation; social customs". www.croatia-in-english.com. Retrieved 2016-08-19.