I was trying to explain how Arabic names to people who do not speak Arabic and/or do might not have understood how they work. How did I do? Feel free to add and/or make corrections/clarifications. The structure of Arabic names can be quite complex, but I will try to give a short, possibly overly simplistic overview. Arabic names can fall into several categories. Some of the categories are: 1) Teknonymic¹ names (names derived from a child’s name). a) Paternal teknonymsi. Abu Bakr = Father of Bakr ii. Abu Hassan = Father of Hassan b) Maternal teknonyms i. Umm Kalsuum (a famous Egyptian singer) = Mother of Kalsuum. ii. Umm Ahmad = Mother of Ahmad 2) Patronymic¹ names² (names derived from the father or a male ancestor). i. Ibn Saud = Son of Saud ii. Ibn Rushd (Averroes (Medieval Muslim Philosopher)) = Son of Rushd iii. Bint Omar = daughter of Omar 3)Matronymic¹ names (names derived from the mother or female ancestor). i. Rare 4) Names that refer to a profession. i. Omar al-Khayyam = Omar the tentmaker ii. Said al-Haddad = Said the blacksmith 5) Names that refer to place of origin. i. Karim al-Masri = ‘Karim the Egyptian’ ii. Latifa al-beirutiyya = ‘Latifa from Beirut’ 6) Names from conjugated verbs. i. Ahmad = I praise ii. Yazid = he increases 7) Names from participles of verbs i. Adil = just; fair ii. Mahmoud = praised iii. Muhammad = the one who is praised; praiseworthy 8) Phrasal Names i. Saladin (Salaah ad-din) = righteousness of the religion ii. Aladdin (‘alaa ad-din) = nobility of the religion iii. Abdallah ('abd allah) = servant of God. 9) Names that are adjectives i. Karim = generous ii. Said = happy iii. Latifa = kind iv. Sharif = noble ¹ Teknonymic , patronymic, and matronymic names are all referred to as kunya ( كنية ) in Arabic. ² Patronymic names are the most common form of Arabic name (at least in modern times). Children (male and female) take the first name of their father. Many times the ‘ibn’ (son of) and ‘bint’ (daughter of) is left out. Examples: Karim Ahmad would be a child whose name is Karim and whose father’s first name is Ahmad. Boutros Boutros Ghali (former Secretary-General of the UN) was actually named after his grandfather, Boutros Ghali. But most of the time, if you ever see an Arab with the same two first names he was named after his father. This is the Arab equivalent of the senior-junior system used here where a child is named after his father (i.e. George Bush Sr., George Bush Jr.).