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"Shenai" redirects here. For the instrument, see Shehnai.
Family name
Meaning toponymic; literally "Head of the guild"[1]
Region of origin India
Language(s) of origin Sanskrit

Shenoy is a common surname from coastal Karnataka in India. It is found among Hindus of the Goud Saraswat Brahmin and Rajapur Saraswat Brahmin community.[1][2]


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 commercial establishment, Goa, India.

The Shenoys were generally involved in administration of the city.[citation needed] The word "Shenoy" itself means a writer.[3] GSBs were administrators of the temples. The word "Shenoy" is also interchangeable with its Sanskrit counterpart Shanbhag or Shanbhogue which means clerk.

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 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.

The surname continues to be used by the Konkani Roman Catholics of Goa and Canara, who were descendants of the Shenoys.[3] They may use their Catholic surnames along with their Saraswat surname (e.g. Pereira-Shenoy)[5]

Notable people[edit]

The following is a list of notable people with last name Shenoy.


  1. ^ a b "Shenoy Family History". Oxford University Press. Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press. 
  2. ^ Pandtit Alahar Vijay. Pronology - The Dynamic Name Science - Pandtit Alahar Vijay - Google Books. Sura Books. ISBN 9788174787354. 
  3. ^ a b c Angelus Francis Xavier Maffei. A Konkani Grammar - Angelus Francis Xavier Maffei - Google Books. Basel Mission & Tract Depository, 1882. p. 439. 
  4. ^ Manohararāya Saradesāya. A History of Konkani Literature: From 1500 to 1992 - Manohararāya Saradesāya - Google Books. Sahitya Akademi, 2000. p. 317. ISBN 9788172016647. 
  5. ^ Pius Fidelis Pinto (1999). History of Christians in Coastal Karnataka, 1500-1763 A.D. - Pius Fidelis Pinto - Google Books. Samanvaya, 1999. p. 330. 

Further reading[edit]