What Does The “O” and “Mac” Mean When Used As A Prefix In Irish Surnames?

The “O” and “Mac” when used as a prefix in Irish surnames mean descendant of. In the old days, Ireland’s population was much smaller and people were known only by their first names: Aidan, Brayden, Eoin,Kayla, etc.

But, during the 11th century, when the population of Ireland started to grow massively, first names were not enough.

Therefore, in order to distinguish each other, they started using prefix such as Mac (Mc is an abreviation) or “Ó”. The difference between these two is that Mac means “son of” whilst “Ó” means “grandson of”. The first that came into use was the “Ó” prefix. “Mac” surnames are generally of a much later date (12-13th century).

If you like what you read, then you will definitely love this one: This Is How Icelanders Get Their Names 

Photo: Stux / Pixabay

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