The Ancient Greek suffix -ίδης was used to form masculine patronymics - that is to say, one combines it with X to create a name meaning "Son of X". Examples: Ἀλκείδης ("son of Alkaios"), Ἡρακλεῖδαι ("sons of Herakles"; -ῐ́δαι is the plural of -ίδης).

Is there an existing feminine form of this suffix? If not, can such a feminine form be constructed using existing rules in Ancient Greek grammar?

1 Answer 1


Yes, feminine forms exist. This is covered in sections 845–848 of Smyth's Greek Grammar. Here are some examples:

Βορέας > Βορεάδης, 'son of Boreas'; Βορεάς -δος, 'daughter of Boreas'

Θέστιος > Θεστιάδης, 'son of Thestius'; Θεστιάς -δος, 'daughter of Thestius'

Φέρης > Φερητιάδης, 'son of Pheres'; Φερητιάς -ιάδος, 'daughter of Pheres'

Περσεύς > Περσηιάδης, 'son of Perseus'; Περσηίς -ίδος, 'daughter of Perseus'

Τάνταλος > Τανταλίδης, 'son of Tantalus'; Τανταλίς -ίδος, 'daughter of Tantalus'

Κέκροψ > Κεκροπίδης, 'son of Cecrops'; Κεκροπίς -ίδος, 'daughter of Cecrops'

Οἰνεύς > Οἰνείδης, 'son of Oeneus'; Οἰνηίς -ίδος, 'daughter of Oeneus'

So if 'son of Alkaios' is Ἀλκείδης, 'daughter of Alkaios' should be Άλκείς; and if 'sons of Herakles' is Ἡρακλεῖδαι, 'daughters of Herakles' should be Ἡρακλεῖδες.

In other words, in most cases, if you know the masculine first declension form, you use the stem, ending in δ, as the stem of a third declension feminine noun whose nominative singular ends in ς.

  • 2
    ... Is it my imagination, or does this imply that the feminine patronymic is the origin of the masculine one? Because the similarity between -ίδης and -ίδος is way too convenient.
    – MarqFJA87
    Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 2:52
  • 3
    @MarqFJA87 The similarity is because they're both δ-stem nouns. Ancient Greek doesn't allow the cluster -δς, so the nominative *Άλκείδς becomes Άλκείς. But the -δ is still part of the stem and appears whenever the ending contains a vowel, including the masculine nominative -ης and the feminine genitive -ος.
    – Draconis
    Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 3:36
  • 3
    It does seem strange, doesn't it? Essentially the basic suffix is ‐ιδ/‐αδ, which remains in the feminine (nominative ις/ας), while the masculine forms shift to the first declension a-stems, thus: ‐ιδ‐ᾱ/‐αδ‐ᾱ (nominative ‐ιδης/‐αδης
    – varro
    Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 3:45

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