Kunya (Arabic)

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A kunya ( kunyah) is a teknonym, the name of an adult derived from their child, especially their eldest son, in Arabic names.

A kunya is expressed by the use of abū or umm in a genitive construction, i.e "father of" or "mother of" as a honorific in place of or alongside given names in the Arab world and the Islamic world more generally.Annemarie Schimmel, Islamic Names: An Introduction, Edinburgh University Press, 1989, ISBN 0852245637, 9780852245637

A kunya is a component of an Arabic name, a type of epithet, in theory referring to the bearer's first-born son or daughter, but by extension also to hypothetical or metaphorical references, e.g. in a nom de guerre or a nickname, without literally referring to a son or a daughter.Pedzisai Mashiri, , Zambezia, XXVI (i), pp. 93–110, 1999Use of a kunya implies a familiar but respectful setting.

General use

Abū (father) or umm (mother) precedes the son's name, in a genitive construction (ʼiḍāfa). The English equivalent would be to call someone whose eldest son is named John "Father of John". Use of the kunya normally signifies some closeness between the speaker and the person so addressed, but is more polite than use of the first name. The kunya is also frequently used with reference to...
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