How to Spell Dmitri?
Most people in the US spell the name Dmitri (Дмитрий) as "Dimitri" when they hear it, particularly when they hear it over the phone or in a noisy place. So why the common mistake?
- When Dmitri is pronounced, there appears to be a vowel sound between "D" and "m". And in English "Dm" is not a very common sequence of letters or sounds, so people tend to put in the extra vowel.
- Dimitri happens to be a common Greek name. Who hasn't seen a "Dimitri's Gyros" or some other Greek restaurant with Dimitri in its name? So people likely just use the spelling that is familiar to them.
In fact, even among native Russian speakers there is no consensus on the proper spelling (or rather transliteration) of Дмитрий, even though it is a common Russian name with unambiguous spelling in Cyrillic. Some prefer Dmitry, for example. And Russian consulates sometimes spell it as Dmitriy in passports and other paperwork.
Origin of Dmitri and Related Names
Dmitri is of Greek origin. In Greek mythology, Demeter was the goddess of agriculture, the daughter of Cronus, the sister of Zeus, and the mother of Persephone. Demeter means "earth mother": [de] "earth" and [meter] "mother".
As happens for most names of Greek origin, there are many European names related to Dmitri.
Oddly enough, the dmitri.com domain belongs to a Korean company. However, despite their claim that
Dmitri means 'Dream is true', the word dmitri does not appear to mean anything in Korean.
Milizia Application File
There is a character for something called "Milizia Application" who has the same name as I do.
Character in Backyard Soccer League
In the Backyard Soccer League game, there is a character with a name strikingly similar to Dmitri Petrovykh. The character, incidentally, is reported to have a dream of becoming a rocket scientist. Of course, the real Dmitri Petrovykh is a physicist and an aspiring biohacker, and he does not wear (or even own) a pocket protector, but ... who knows what the future holds.
The name of that Backyard Soccer League character—Dmitri Petrovich—is a particularly unlikely combination of the first and last names. Dmitri is a distinctly Russian spelling of the first name, but Petrovich in that case sounds more like a very common Russian patronymic that means "son of Peter". All Russians have and use patronymics (they are part of one's official name, like middle names in the US), so a Russian person is highly unlikely to have a last name that sounds like a patronymic. Elsewhere in Eastern Europe, Petrovich could be a proper last name (and probably a reasonably common one), but then the first name should be spelled Dimitri!
The Last Name is Petrovykh, not Petrovich
When at some point Petrovykh last name actually was misspelled as Petrovich by the passport desk clerk, Russian friends found it so hilarious that Petrovich became a family nickname of sorts, and was subsequently confused by many for a patronymic. The combination of first and last name in Dmitri Petrovykh, therefore, is almost uniquely Russian, despite the plethora of popular names with similar spelling elsewhere around the world.