Sinhalese name

A Sinhalese name or Sinhala name may contain two or three parts: a patronymic, one or more given names, and sometimes a surname, which was often absent in the past.[1] Full names can be rather long, and hence are often shortened, by omitting or abbreviating the family name and one of the given names, as in R. M. S. Ariyaratna.[2]

Family names can be distinguished by the suffix -ge or -ghe,[2] though this suffix may accidentally result from a particular transliteration of a Sinhalese word, such as simhe or simghe (lion).[3]

Given names can be masculine, feminine and gender neutral.

Sinhalese surnames often originate from Sanskrit. However, as a consequence of Portuguese legacy in Sri Lanka during the 16th and 17th centuries, many Portuguese language surnames also exits among Sinhalese people. As a result, Perera and Fernando eventually became the most common names in Sri Lanka.[4]



Sinhalese names usually consists of three parts. The first name is the patronymic name of the father, ancestor name or 'house name', which often has the suffix ‘-ge’ at the end of it, this is known as the 'Ge' name (ge meaning house in Sinhalese). The second name is the personal name and the third name is the surname.[5]

For example, in the name RAJAPAKSHA MUDIYANSELAGE Siril Ariyaratna, Rajapaksha is the family or surname name, Mudiyanselage is the 'Ge' name and Siril and Ariyaratna are two given names.[2]

Ge name

Family name

Foreign origin names

The Portuguese and Dutch being in Sri Lanka has left a legacy where many Sinhalese people converted religion or took on foreign names through intermarriage or adoption.[6]


Given name



  1. ^ De Gruyter 2013, p. 213-219.
  2. ^ a b c Chandralal 2010, p. 9, 43.
  3. ^ Hanks, Coates & McClure 2016, p. 1402.
  4. ^ Wanasundera 2002, p. 61.
  5. ^ Evason 2016.
  6. ^ Raymond 2018.


  • Dileep Chandralal (2010). Sinhala. John Benjamins Publishing Company. pp. 9, 43. ISBN 978-90-272-8853-0.
  • International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (2013). Names of Persons: National Usages for Entry in Catalogues. De Gruyter. pp. 213–219. ISBN 978-3-11-097455-3.
  • Patrick Hanks; Richard Coates; Peter McClure (2016). The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland. OUP Oxford. p. 1402. ISBN 978-0-19-252747-9.
  • Nanda Pethiyagoda Wanasundera (2002). Sri Lanka. Marshall Cavendish. p. 61. ISBN 978-0-7614-1477-3.
  • Raymond, Roel (28 February 2018). "Portuguese-Sri Lankan Surnames And Their Meanings". roar.media. Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  • Raymond, Roel (17 April 2018). "Dutch-Sri Lankan Surnames And Their Meanings". roar.media. Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  • Perera, B. J. (2009). "The "Ge" names of the Sinhalese". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka. 55: 1–16. JSTOR 23731092.
  • Evason, Nina (2016). "Sri Lankan Culture – Communication". Cultural Atlas. Retrieved 10 January 2021.

External links

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