Egyptian Culture

Naming

  • The common Egyptian naming convention sees a child given a personal name followed by the given names of their father and grandfather (e.g. Mohamed Ahmed Hussain).
  • The use of a family name is becoming more common (e.g. Kareem El MASRY).
  • Family names frequently begin with ‘El-’ (e.g. EL-SHENAWY).
  • Some family names may be derived from geographical place names and can indicate a family’s origins.
  • Arab Muslims often use names derived from Islam (e.g. Mohamed). Among Arab Christians, Biblical or Western names are common.
  • Arab Egyptians of either religion may have traditional Arab names (e.g. Faris).
  • One tends to carry one’s lineage and the family’s status in their name.
  • Women often do not change their names upon marriage. However, some women may adopt their husband’s family name.
  • In rural parts of Egypt, the title ‘’ in front of a name means ‘wife of’ (e.g. the name Hurma Mustafa Mahamed means ‘wife of Mustafa Mahamed’).
  • In large cities and among the middle to upper classes, the terms ‘Madam’ or ‘Zoggat’ may be used for women as a substitute for ‘Haram’.

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