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Language(s) Konkani
Region of origin Konkan coast, India
Meaning toponymic; literally "Head of the guild"[1]

Shenoy is a common Brahmin surname from Goa and coastal Karnataka in India.[1] It is found among Hindus of the Goud Saraswat Brahmin and Rajapur Saraswat Brahmin communities following Madhva Sampradaya of either Gokarna Matha or Kashi Matha.[2] Some Brahmin Christian families of South Canara have reverted to their pre-conversion surnames like Shenoy.[3]


श्रेणीपति > शेणीव्वई > शेणय

The original word is Shrenipati or the leader of the guild, which got converted as Shennivayi in Apabhraṃśa, and later as Shenai or Shenvi in old Konkani.

Background and origins[edit]

Plaque outside a commercial establishment, Goa, India

The Shenoys were generally involved in administration of the city. The word 'Shenoy' itself means a writer.[3] GSBs were administrators of the temples. The word 'Shenoy' is also interchangeable with its counterpart 'Shanbhag'

The Saraswats migrated from Goa during the Muslim and Christian conquests during 1600, and carried their surname with them. Thus the word 'शणै' is transliterated in Latin script as Shenoy in Karnataka and as Xennai, Shenoi, Shenai, Shenvi or even Sinai in Goa.[3] "Xennoi" was used in the erstwhile Portuguese territory of Goa but has given way to "Xennai" today.[4]

It was common in Goa for Shenoys and other Saraswats to add the name of their ancestral village or title after Shenoy to denote their origin.[5]

Notable people[edit]

The following is a list of notable people with the surname 'Shenoy'.


  1. ^ a b "Shenoy Name Meaning", Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, 2013 
  2. ^ Pandtit Alahar Vijay, Pronology – The Dynamic Name Science, Chennai: Sura Books, ISBN 8174787356 
  3. ^ a b c Angelus Francis Xavier Maffei (2003), A Konkani Grammar, Mangalore: Asian Educational Services, ISBN 9788120600874, OCLC 14242653 
  4. ^ ManoharRai SarDessai (2000), A History of Konkani Literature (From 1500 to 1992), Pune: Sahitya Akademi, p. 24, ISBN 8172016646 
  5. ^ Pius Fidelis Pinto (1999), History of Christians in coastal Karnataka, 1500–1763 A.D., Mangalore: Samanvaya Prakashan 

Further reading[edit]