What is the sweetest, most important sound in any language, and why does it have so many variations? Well, according to Dale Carnegie, writer of one of the most popular 20th-century books, that sound is the sound of your own name. If you’re new to Iranian names though, you’ll likely be making them sound less sweet. Fear not though, this episode can help remedy this, while also enlightening you on the many odd things there are to know about names given to Iranians. In fact, you don’t need to be non-Iranian to enjoy this one, because we asked our listeners to tell us, “what are the weirdest Iranian names?” The results were… well, weird! Listen here to learn more.
Questions we also get answers to in this episode
- What names should you not give your Iranian child?
- Why do Iranians have double-barrel first names?
- What are the most popular names for Iranian children?
- Why do Iranians give their child a name, but never use it?
- What types of names can you not use for your child in Iran?
- If your name is Negar, what name will they force you to change it to in the West?
5 fascinating things to know about Iranian names
- Popular male Iranian names can be double-barrelled, like Amirali, Ahmadreza
- Iranian women mostly do not take their husband’s family name when they marry — the children will more than likely gain their father’s surname
- Iranian first names ending with an “ā” (long a, as used in “water) or “eh” will often be women’s names
- Mothers and fathers in Iran sometimes name all their children with the same beginning letter or use the same sounds in all the names
- Iranians may use a different name than their birth-given name, for various reasons — conservative families want holy names given, but feel they can’t use them casually. In other cases, Iranians may not like the name restrictions in the nation, so will rename themselves
Common names used in Iran, and their meanings
- Ali – high (elevated)
- Maryam – a flower, also pure
- Mohammad – the praised one
- Fātemeh – guaranteed to heaven
- Sepehr – “sky”
- Daryā – “sea”
- Rezā – satisfied, content
- Monā – love and hope
- Mehryār – “lovely friend”
- Assal – “honey”
- Mehdi – guided
- Nargess – “daffodil”
- Navid – good news
- Sārā – pure
- Parisā – like a fairy
- Shādi – “happiness”
A list of weird Iranian names
We asked our audience to give us examples of names that are weird for Iranians. The results are below.
- Sāheb – “owner”
- Zolfali – [please help us translate this – comment below]
- Poopak – a type of small bird. The name is awkward because it has the word “poo” in it, and a “pack” of it
- Pooyā – “dynamic” awkward because it has the word “poo” in it
- Lilināz – Lilly is the plant, “nāz” is like “cute”
- Nāzanin Zahrā – [please help us translate this – comment below]
- Shanbeh, Jome – both are names of the week, (Saturday and Friday)
- Panir – “cheese”
- Koochik – “little”
- Changiz – the same as Kangis Khān, the Mongolian warlord
- Eskandār – Alexander
- Giz bass – “the last girl” – used in hope that that girl will be the last
- Balvān – [please help us translate this – comment below]
- Sooshiāns – sounds like sushi
- Nāzi – because it sound like a former German political party
- Roghayeh – [please help us translate this – comment below]
- Nooshābeh – “soft drink”
Translations of Persian (Farsi) words used during this episode
|Persian (Pingilish)||English translation|
|Pedar sag:||“Father of a dog” – a derogatory term|
|Toole sag:||“Child of a dog” – occasionally used as a derogatory term|
|Zahremār:||“Snakes poison” – said in response to another, by a upset person|
|Kesh:||“Elastic band” – often a suffix to inappropriate phrases|
|Boro bābā:||“Go Dad” – a term meaning “get out of here!”|
|Yā khodā:||“Oh God!” – an exclamation|
Image credit: Name tag with Iranian written on it, created by Ask An Iranian. This artwork has been used for the related podcast episode cover. All of the Ask An Iranian podcast covers are available as NFTs here.