When I talk to my foreign friends, I hear a lot that they encounter many weird Armenian names. Well, we can giggle as much as we want, but trust me – that’s normal. First of all, that’s because the Armenian language itself is very complex. Second, with over 3000 years of history, can you imagine how many weird names with strange meanings the Armenians have created? Let’s explore them…
Weird Armenian names:
In this blogpost, we’ll explore some weird Armenian names of girls and boys that either have a very strange meaning or sound very bizarre. You will also see images of several famous Armenians who carry those weird names.
Weird Armenian names for girls
Hayastan – there is no way I could start this list with a name other than Hayastan, you know why? Because the name Hayastan means “Armenia” in our mother language.
In my books this kind of patriotism on the parents’ side is border-line cringy. But hey, who am I to judge? Thankfully, you won’t meet many young Armenians with the name Hayastan. It rather appears among women of middle age or above.
Heriqnaz – this Armenian name is not only weird, but it is, actually, very funny when you learn what it means. This name is the combination of Armenian words heriq (enough) and naz (flighty or lightweight). In other words, it means “enough behaving foolishly”. This name has been around since the 17th century and is very widespread in Armenian rural areas.
I really have no idea what would make a parent give this pretty “aggressive” name to their kid, but I don’t think it’s a symbol of wholesome parental practices from the perspective of the 21st century.
Parandzem – let’s say this is the most “royal” one among all the weird Armenian names. And it’s because it was given to an Armenian Queen from Syunik, a Southern province in Armenia.
She actually ruled Armenia quite a long time ago, around the years between 368 and 370. And according to historians, when her husband King Artagers was captured during the war with Persia, she continued to run the battle herself. Armenians love passing on history to the future generations in creative ways. For instance, in the image below, you can see a stylish T-shirt with Queen Parandzem on it.
So, obviously, the name Parandzem symbolizes courage and leadership. This is the kind of emancipating female name I’d give to my daughter if it didn’t sound so weird in the ears of the international community. 🙂
Yerjanik – as weird as this Armenian name sounds, it’s actually a very happy name for both girls and boys. When saying “happy”, I really mean it, because that’s what “yerjanik” means in the Armenian language.
Heghine – I think this is the most common Armenian name that sounds weird to foreigners. No matter how strange this name may sound to your ear, it was actually taken from Greek mythology, and more precisely from the name Helene. It is believed that Helene was the most beautiful woman of Greece and the “cause” in the Trojan war. So, in Armenia, we only have very positive connotations with this name, and probably that’s why it’s so widespread.
Zepyur – a name that has been considerably common in Western Armenia prior to 1915 when Armenians were expelled from their indeginous lands by the Ottomans. This name stands for “breeze” in Armenian. It’s a really rare name, although I personally find it really beautiful. I’ve met a couple of Zepyurs in my life, and all of them were women who grew up in the Armenian diaspora, outside of Armenia’s borders.
Aghavni – the literal translation of this name into English is pigeon, or dove. It’s not very common in Armenia, especially in urban areas. However, you can still find a lot of sweet old grannies in Armenian villages who rock this name.
Perjanush or Perjuhi – Armenians love making up words by combining other words together! And this name is a great example of that. As weird as it sounds to an English-speaking person, the name is a cute meaning in Armenian. The thing is, the word “perj” means luxurious in the Armenian language.
The “anush” part in Perjanush is, in fact, a different female name. It also means “pleasant” or “beautiful”. The Armenian brain probably thought that luxury is not good enough, but beautiful luxury is the proper deal! And voilà, you get a new female name in Armenian – Perjanush.
Perjuhi is a valid alternative to this name. Although, I bet a westerner would struggle with pronouncing this variation even more than the first one. The ending suffix “uhi” makes any word in Armenian feminine. So, this basically means “feminine luxury”.
One of the renowned Armenian women carrying this name was Perjanush Msryan – a very talented architect and professor who planned the architectural project of Armenia’s capital, Yerevan.
Weird Armenian names for boys
Asdvatsatour – by combining two words Asdvats (God) and tour (to give), Armenians have come up with this weird name, meaning a God-given son or just a gift from God. It’s very similar to Matteo/Matthew in Italian and Bogdan in Russian with the same meaning. It’s also funny because in common speech the name is pronounced as Asatur, which means “tell and give” in Armenian. 🙂
Luysparon – you know Armenians are creative when they make up a name by just merging two random words together, luys (light) and paron (Mr./gentlemen). However, the name is barely used nowadays. And thank God for that, cause I wouldn’t be able to hold my giggles if someone told me that’s their name.
Hovhannes – so many Hovhannes-es in Armenia, yet some of my foreign friends have told me that this name sounds very weird to them. In fact, it’s John in English and Ioanness in Greek. In this way, one may encounter this name in its different variations among many Christian nations.
Armenian poetry is lucky enough to have Hovhannes Tumanyan, a prominent writer that every Armenian is proud of.
Ishkhan – as a common noun this word has two meanings, first it’s the fish trout and second it’s the prince. It’s weird cause I’m yet to see a foreigner who’d be able to pronounce this name on the first attempt.
Ishkhan doesn’t appear often as a name these days, yet you may encounter the Armenian surname Ishkanyan more frequently.
Khachatur – combine the two words khach (cross) and tur (to give) and you get Khachatur. I think this sounds bizarre to foreigners, as it’s kind of a long and complex name. However, we have short versions for Khachatur, such as Khachik or Khacho.
We have a famous Armenian writer carrying this name, Khachatur Abovian. He lived in the early 19th century, but unfortunately he mysteriously vanished at the age of 40.
Vrej – the name which means “revenge” in Armenian. Even some Armenians themselves get surprised seeing modern parents name their child Vrej. You won’t meet many young Vrejs nowadays. To be honest, I don’t even want to dig into the dark past of this name in our history. Let’s just acknowledge that it doesn’t only sound weird, but its meaning itself is also quite unsettling.
Atom – this name has been given to Armenian boys since ancient times and is still around these days. It is purely of Armenian origin, but can also be perceived as the smallest particle of a chemical element in the English language. Although it’s a pure coincidence.
The name means “undivided” or “divine spirit” in Armenian. Moreover, when naming the child Atom, parents hope to see some behavioral characteristics in him such as decisiveness and confidence.
There is an Armenian film director, Atom Egoyan, who has been nominated with multiple awards. You can learn more about him and his films here.
Bargev – this name means “gift” or “bonus” in Armenian. I think it’s probably related to the idea of a child being a gift (from God). I’d love to be called that name and basically inform everyone around me that my presence is a gift to them. 🙂 By the way, we have another cool name with the same meaning – Nver – and it can be given both to girls and boys.
So which name is the weirdest one?
So which of these weird Armenian names was the weirdest for you? Have you ever met an Armenian carrying one of these names? Were they as weird as their name? 🙂 Let me know on Twitter or Instagram with #ArmeniaTravelTips.
On a serious note, though… No matter how weird these Armenian names are to your ear, and sometimes maybe funny or archaic in my own perception, these are very authentic Armenian names. And I think in a way, that’s enough to believe that they are beautiful.In another post I put together a list of funny Armenian insults that I think you may find interesting after this read. So, don’t forget to check it out, as well! Or, if you find the etymology of these names interesting, I recommend you check out this post about what the Armenian language is like. Enjoy!
Featured image credits: Ben White on Unsplash
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