What are the weirdest Iranian names?

Hello, my name is... Iranian - name sticker - Ask An Iranian

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

  1. Popular male Iranian names can be double-barrelled, like Amirali, Ahmadreza
  2. 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
  3. Iranian first names ending with an “ā” (long a, as used in “water) or “eh” will often be women’s names
  4. Mothers and fathers in Iran sometimes name all their children with the same beginning letter or use the same sounds in all the names
  5. 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.

  1. Sāheb – “owner”
  2. Zolfali – [please help us translate this – comment below]
  3. Poopaka type of small bird. The name is awkward because it has the word “poo” in it, and a “pack” of it
  4. Pooyā – “dynamic” awkward because it has the word “poo” in it
  5. Lilināz – Lilly is the plant, “nāz” is like “cute”
  6. Nāzanin Zahrā – [please help us translate this – comment below]
  7. Shanbeh, Jome – both are names of the week, (Saturday and Friday)
  8. Panir – “cheese”
  9. Koochik – “little”
  10. Changiz – the same as Kangis Khān, the Mongolian warlord
  11. Eskandār – Alexander
  12. Giz bass – “the last girl” – used in hope that that girl will be the last
  13. Balvān – [please help us translate this – comment below]
  14. Sooshiāns – sounds like sushi
  15. Nāzi – because it sound like a former German political party
  16. Roghayeh – [please help us translate this – comment below]
  17. Nooshābeh – “soft drink”

Translations of Persian (Farsi) words used during this episode

Persian (Pingilish)English translation
Rāzi:“Satisfied”
Pedar sag:“Father of a dog” – a derogatory term
Toole sag:“Child of a dog” – occasionally used as a derogatory term
Ahmag:“Idiot”
Deyoos:“Pimp”
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
“ā” appearing like this, is pronounced as a long-a, as used in the word “water”

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.

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11 Comments

  1. Hello! I’m from iran and that was right and funny😂😂😂 zolfali: ali was an imam and zolf means hear and zolf ali means ali,s hear 😐😐😐😶

  2. Zolf in old literature means hair
    Ali means elevated, honoured
    So literally zolfali in world is honoured elevated hair
    But again in literature talking zolf resembles head or person in persian in some persian poems therefore if we get so deepened we can translate it to someone who is honoured 😅

  3. And about nazanin Zahra
    Nazanin in word means delicate, fetching, even enchanting
    And Zahra is an Arabic names no meaning in persian so the literal meaning for nazanin Zahra is delicate enchanting Zahra (like a girl who is enchanting)
    And Zahra in Arabic means pleasant or good I suppose ormaybe brigh

  4. Shane and jome are actually rooted in Afghanistan not used I iran

  5. Panic isn’t a name in Iran 😂
    Maybe some other countries in which people speak persian

  6. Sorry the last one by panic I meant panir my keyboard corrects automatically 😂

    • By the way panir IS a name. My grandfather’s workplace had a chief nmed panir😂

  7. I have never heard balvaan in persian my entire life
    I may help if u know the word in persian alphabet

  8. Sushiyans means redeemer it’s actually related to zoroastrians

  9. Naz in persian means coquetry and nazi is coming from the word naz

  10. Roghayeh is Arabic name actually but means charm or charming probably

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