I hail from Malta. We have a lot of surnames of Greek origin here.
Somebody told me that the surname APAP is also Greek. Does the word apapy/apapis occur in Classical/Modern Greek? If so, what does it mean.
Thanks in advance
in ancient/classical Greek, which is my field of expertise, there are only the following words that could refer to the Maltese surname APAP:
1) ἀπάπη (feminine noun, 1st declension) transliterated as “apápe”, meaning “dandelion”.
2) ἄπαππος (adjective) transliterated as “ápappos”, meaning “with no grandfather”.
This ancient Greek term is connected to the masculine noun πάππας, transliterated as "páppas",
meaning "dad" as a child's word for father.
3) ἀπαπαῖ or ἀππαπαῖ (exclamation of grief or pain) transliterated as “apapai” or “apappai” meaning “alas”.
As for Modern Greek, this is not my area of expertise (view my profile) and then you should look for an expert in that field.
With regard to the surnames which were usually based on the occupation or a distinguishing physical trait as well as on a nickname or the country of origin, please note that they started to be used in Europe only in about the 10th-11th century.
Lastly, I have to tell you that, as far as I know, there are no clear answers to why or how one of Apap ancestors took on this surname.
I'm sorry, but I cannot help you more. Anyway I hope that I was of any help to you.