Names

The subject of names comes up frequently on the Kazakh adoptive parenting lists. Unfortunately, there are very few resources on-line. Below is a list of resources for ethnic and general names and a list of names, some with meanings.

Whether or not to change a child's name is a very personal decision. Quite a few adoptive parents will keep their child's original first name as a middle name, and give them an "American" first name. Others "Americanize" the original name. Some children are abandoned, and therefore named by the birth certificate office or other officials, which means that the name would have less sentimental value. One thing to keep in mind is that the child's name on paper is not necessarily what they are actually called; nicknames and diminutives are frequently used.

General Baby Naming Resources

These may include multiple ethnicities.

  • Behind the Name [external link]: the etymology and history of first names. Search and large lists by ethnicity, including Russian and Kazakh.
  • 20,000 Names [external link] has a large listing by country.
  • Babynamer [external link]: search the database by popularity, celebrities, or meanings; bulletin board.
  • BabyCenter [external link] allows you to search by origin of name, syllables, starting and/or ending letter, and popularity. They also have bulletin boards on naming.
  • iVillage [external link] has a customized search, favorites, meanings and origins, famous names, and a message board.
  • BabyNames [external link] has a database that you can search by name or meaning, bulletin board.
  • BabyNameWorld [external link] has baby name meanings that come from all around the world, listed by ethnicity. Not too many Russian names.
  • Baby Names Searcher [external link] has over 50,000 names, search by name, meaning, origin.
  • Popular Baby Names [external link] from around the world. Names by region and gender with meanings.
  • New Parents Guide [external link] has a listing by letter. No search, but it does have some unusual names.
  • igName3.zip [external link]: this is a PC file, which I could not get to open with my Mac, so let me know what it is, please.
  • Andy the Name Bender [external link] lists multiple origins and meanings.
  • Baby Name Network [external link]: lists by popularity, ethnicity, with site search. It also lists alternatives and famous namesakes.
  • Baby Names World [external link] claims to have more than 11,000 names. Lots of ethnic origins, site search.
  • Adoption.com baby names [external link] has 5400 names, site search.
  • Baby Name Addict [external link] claims to have over 51,000 names; no search, discussion board.
  • BirthCare [external link] has over 40,000 names in a searchable database.
  • Think Baby Names [external link] search results give you nicknames, other forms, etc.
  • CocoJams [external link] lists meaning for more unusual names.
  • Baby Names Country [external link] has a large list of ethnic names with meanings.
  • Baby Names Family [external link]: you can choose to search in the following categories: girl, boy, popular, alphabetically, origin, and celebrities.

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Sources for Central Eurasian, Russian, Other Ethnic Names

The Kabalarians web site offers the following Kazak names; they don't really list a meaning of the name, but a "personality" description, similar to numerology, based upon mathematical principles. "The extent to which English has been a part of your life determines the degree of influence of the spelling of your name using the English alphabet." The names listed below have been listed on the site, and they say they have a total of 500 Kazakh name.
Male Kazakh Names [external link]: Akmetzhan, Alen, Alibek, Arman, Askar, Baltabek, Camran, Daniar, Dastan, Eric, Erkin, Erzhan, Garri, Hojanias, Jean, Kairat, Kemhebek, Marat, Mukhametkali, Nazer, Nurlan, Nursultan, Oraz, Ravil, Serik, Serikbek, Talgat, Taras, Abai, Ablai, Achmedjan, Amanet, Aniyar, Assylhan, Baurzhan, Beibitzhan, Borat, Daniyarbek, Ershat, Fauske, Fomenko, Kapan, Kenes, Khazretgali, Kholmatzhon, Kuanyshbek ,Madiyar, Magjan.
Female Kazakh Names [external link]: Aigoul, Asel, Auken, Jean, Mariam, Raikhan, Aiaulym, Aigerim, Ainagul, Ainura, Aiselu, Aizhan, Alaphia, Aquanika, Aruzhan, Assel, Assem, Ayia-Napa, Batima, Binagurung, Bota, Botagoz, Dilnara, Enlik , Gulfiya, Gulshaim
They also have listings for Russian male [external link] and Russian female [external link] names, and many other categories [external link]. This site will at least tell you the ethnic origin of a name.

From Virtual Excursion over Kazakhstan (quoted in Issue 1 [PDF link] of the Kazakh Kids newsletter).

The Kazakhs have no special made up names. All names come from the condition of their personal existence and the style of life they lead. It is not uncommon for names to be given that reflect certain events that occur at the time of the child's birth. Often the names reflect the hope of parents that the child will demonstrate certain character qualities. Women's names correspond to beauty, grace, elegance. Some names are derived from animals and their special characteristics. We can also see the geographic names. Sometimes names are given as a determination of the age of father. Oftentimes the names reflect some folk's traditions and customs. Just as many other nations, Kazakhs use a lot of different short-cut names. They are created by subtracting the ends of names and adding 'sh' or 'ken': Satuilgan = 'Satish', Auinagul = 'Auinash', and Saducas = 'Saken'. Parents, relatives and elder very often call children by diminutive names associated with the names of animal young.

Kazakhs traditionally believe that your name affects your fortune. Every name has a meaning, but modern young people don't always know the meaning of their names. Some Russified parents give their child a pretty Kazakh name without really knowing the meaning, but it is still considered shameful not to know what your name means. Traditionally there is a naming ceremony for infants. The baby is laid in his/her crib, and his mother, mother's friends, and female relatives gather around him. One woman approached the cradle and tells the baby his or her name, saying three times: "Cening ating ____" ... which means "Your name is ____" (fill in the blank)! With that, the child is properly named. In selecting a name, it's not appropriate to use ancestors' names (going back for seven generations), to use names of local holy people to whom you pray, or to use names from the Koran without the approval of local elders. My teacher said that her aunt named her cousin a name from the Koran without approval, and the cousin was very unlucky and accident-prone until the name was changed! (Thank you, Celia, for the preceding information.)

The following names with meanings comes primarily from Virtual Excursion over Kazakhstan , Issue 4 [PDF link] of the Kazakh Kids newsletter, Oriental Express Central Asia [external link] and other parents. Dictionary of Period Russian Names [external link] helped fill in some of the blanks. I make no claims to the accuracy of the spelling, origins, or meanings. In some cases, I have found very different meanings. Generally, an (R) indicates that the name is Russian. If there is nothing listed, it is either Kazakh or of unknown origin. I encourage you to research your child's name and let me know if what I have is correct. Please e-mail me [e-mail link] if your child's name is not here.

There are some basic roots of the names. These may help you figure out the meaning of the name. You could also look at the words on the Language page for parts of the name.
ai = moon
ghul, gul, goul = flower
mir = world (R)
ak = white
bota = child of camel
altyn = gold
er = brave, courageous, hero
zhan = literally: soul; precious
nur = shine
bazyl = generosity
zhas = young
bek = masculine ending; hard, tough, ruler
sh = suffix for loveable
tan = dawn, morning
dos = friend
bai = rich, used for sons, supposed to give good fortune

Kazakhs don't repeat a name in a family for 7 generations; they believe that doing so means that the relative doesn't exist any more and can cause a family feud.

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Name Origin, Meaning
Abzal noble
Aday Nestling, kid, child
Adil Arabic: just, wise, justice, justice minded; Indian: just, sincere
Ahmetzhan name of God
Aibek Kazakh, long-living, will live for many moons
Aidana moon genius, brighter and more beautiful than the moon
Aiday Moon child
Aidos moon friend
Aidyn gift from the moon; Aidan is Gaelic for fire
Aigerim, Aigarum graceful as the moon, beautiful moon splendid moon
Aigul, Aighul moon flower
Aiman beauty of the moon; famous, distinct, serene, glorious, renowned
Aimira worldwide, global
Aina mirror; clear and sincere
Ainalayin darling
Ainyr, Ainur lunar light, moonbeams, moonlight
Aisulu, Ayisulu lunar beauty
Aitkazina dear, treasure
Aitugan born under the new moon
Aizada clean moon
Aizat moon child
Aizhan soul of the moon
Akbota white child of camel
Akerke white, mischievous, naughty child; capricious-innocent girl
Akhat Arabic/Hebrew: one, alone, united in one
Akjigit Ak = white (pure, honest, decent, good nature), djigit refers to a young, athletic, brave guy.
Akhmat stupid
Akmaral white deer
Akmetzhan white __ soul
Akniet good intention
Aldiyar, Aldar "Your highness": it is how khans and sultans were addressed in medieval times. Also cunning person, clever man; hero of Kazakh tales
Alia chosen one, beauty; name of famous female Kazak warrior in the 1700's that killed thousands of Russians during battles. Also the name of a female Kazak soldier, that killed many germans, during WW2.
Alibek sultan-like, rich wise man
Alihan ? Turkish
Alisher high, elevated, lofty, superior; Ali is Arabic for elevated, ennobled, highest; Sher is Iranian for lion
Alma apple
Alnura rays of the sun, sunlight
Alosha, Alyoshenka, Alyosha, Aleksei defender of mankind
Altynay, Altynai golden moon
Amanjol, Amanzhol farewell, good-bye; "the one that will have no "obstacles" on his life-path"; also, pass in the Tien Shan Mtns.
Amanzhan live or healthy spirit
Anar pomegranate
Anara, Anargul pomegranate flower
Anastasia, Stasya, Nastya (R) arisen, resurrected, reborn
Anatoly, Anatoli east, inhabitant of "small asia"; Anatolius is ancient Greek for sunrise
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Anele (African) enough, as in "no more children"; (Hebrew) was taken up; to anoint or bless; also Chinese; friend
Anes friend
Aniyar  
Ansagan long-awaited, desired
Anton Russian/Slavic: worth of praise, inestimable, priceless. Form of Anthony. Also found in German, Swedish and Spanish.
Anuar Arabic; light, bright, clear, serene, shininig, sparkling, brillant, radiant
Anzhela (R) Angelica, Angelo; nickname for Alzhelika
Anya, Anna grace, favor
Arai dawn, new day
Arailim moonbeam
Arman dream; usually given to long-expected first born male in the family
Arsen Greek: manly, brave
Arstan, Arystan, Aruistan brave, symbol of bravery, lion
Aruzhan beautiful soul, essence of beauty
Asem, Assem beauty, beautiful, refined, graceful, elegant, excellent, splendid, magnificent
Asembala wonderful child
Asil, Assel honey, sweet in Arabic
Askar the mighty one, high-standing, tall like a mountain, brave and strong like a soldier; term for horse in epic tales; Islamic, Arabic: troop, soldiers, army camp
Ashat, Askhat Arabic: the happiest, humble
Asylkhan noble person
Auken  
Ayaulum/Ayaulym/Aiaulym/Ayaleem beloved, sweetheart, desired
Ayan almighty's gift
Ayazhan literally sorry soul
Aydana, Aidana wise moon
Azamat noble, manly, also citizen; name of political party
Baibolsin be rich, happy
Bakhyt, Bakyt happiness
Bakytgul happy flower
Baltabek  
Batirbai hero rich
Baurzhan friendly soul
Bayan Muslim = another name for the Quran, Mongolian = rich, Kurdish = dawn, Indian = left, Arabic = clearness, eloquence
Beibol big man
Bekzat ? boy child
Belek gift
Berikbol strong
Berkamal, Erkamal wish of birth of a boy, strong fortress
Bibigul nightingale, lady of flowers
Bibikhanum queen
Boolat, Bulat, Bolot strong, powerful, hardy; Persian for steel (in a sword)
Botagos, Batagoz camel's eye(s); girl with big, as camel's eyes, beautiful eyes
Botam young camel
Burkut strong as a golden eagle
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Camran  
Daniar  
Damira long live world; male version is Damir; Turkic: persistent
Dania wise, knowing
Darya (Iranian) sea, big river; (Russian) gift, something given; (Persian) preserver
Dastan "oral history" "multipart lyrical-epic style poetic work"
Deanna, Diana (Latin) goddess of the moon
Denis, Dennis follower of Dionysius, the Greek god of wine; wild, frenzied
Dima (R) people, strong fighter
Dinara (Central Asian) breath; dear, gold; golden coin in ancient Persia
Dmitrii, Dmitriy (R) name of a prince in 1200's; from Demeter, Greek goddess of the harvest
Dosym my friend
Dulat riches, state, nation; name of an ancient tribe in Kazakhstan; can also be Turkic, Arabic and Mongolian
Eldos friend of the people, friend of the homeland
Elnar El = people, nation, country, tribe and Nar = powerful, strong, big
Erbol Be a MAN! (as a prophecy)
Erkin hero __
Erzhan, Yerzhan soul of hero, strong, "manly" soul
Farhat Muslim/Arabic/Persian/Indian for joy, happiness; also cheer, pleasure
Fariza ? Arabian, popular artist in Kazakhstan
Farkhan ? Tatar or Muslim
Flora, Floridy (Latin) blooming, healthy
Galia, Alia (Arab) dear, precious, respected
Galina (R) bright one, Greek form is Helen
Garri noise, cold wind; Teutonic: spear; ? same as Harry or Gary
Gauhar precious stone, something most precious or valuable; brillant like a star
Gayaz Arabic; help, support, helper
Gulim my flower
Gulnar Iranian: flower of pomegranate
Gulnara juice of flower; ie, sweet girl
Gulsara yellow flower
Gulzhan soul of a flower, flower soul
Gulzhaina flower flourishing, pretty as a flower
Hojanias  
Igor (Scandinavian) defender, protector
Indira (Indian) beauty, splendid in Sanskrit
Irina (Greek) peaceful, pacific
Irlan, Erlan courageous man, resolute
Jibek silk
Jolay, Dgolay born during migration
Kairat  
Kanat beautiful tiny wing of bird; "wing of a bird" as in a strong, helping one
Karakoz black eyes
Karlygash, Karluigash swallow (bird), little spring bird
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Kasim "my close one", literally "eye brow"
Kemhebek  
Kerim (Kazakh) great, wonderful; Arabic: generous, gracious
Kirill (Greek) lord, master
Kosim lamb
Kristina (Greek) Christian
Ksenia from Greek, foreign, vagabond, inhospitable, hospitality (yes, exact opposites)
Larissa, Lara (R) cheerful one
Lena, Elena (Greek) sunny, bright
Lubmilla (R) loving
Luda, Ludmila, Mila (R) pleasant person, love of the people
Lunara, Gulnara pomegranate flower
Lyazzat/Liazzat pleasure, sweetness, dear, enjoyment, delight
Madi (Arabic) real, material, long-life
Madiyar name of one of the Kazakh tribes
Manas Mana is Russian for attract; hero in a traditional Kyrgyz epic poem of the same name
Marat  
Mariam Greek: wife of Herod; Arabic: Mary, mother of Jesus
Mariash variant of Maria
Marina (R) sea maiden
Marjash  
Maxim (Latin) greatest, supreme
Maydan battle-front, field of battle
Mensly beautiful birthmark
Meruert pearl
Miras good heritage
Moldir (female) innocent, clean
Mukhametkali  
Myhabat love
Nadezhda, Nadia (R) hope; variation Nadya, French equivalent is Nadine
Nagashybyuly rich relative on mother's side
Nail Arabic; gift, present, worthy of gift, successful, achiever
Nargiz, Nargiza Persian, originated from Ancient Greek Narcissus, black eyes; "a" ending is Russified version
Nayryz holiday, festival, spring, rejuvenation of nature. Nauriz is a national Kazakh holiday on March 22.
Nazer  
Nazgul delicate flower
Nazimzhan honest, incorruptible soul
Nikita, Nakita (R) unconquerable, unconquered people, victorious people
Nicolas, Nicholas, Nikolas, Nikolai victorious, hero of the people; common in many cultures
Nishan, Nyshan wise one
Nishankul, Nyshankul flower of wisdom
Nurai shining light of the moon
Nurlan  
Nursultan handsome sultan; name of current Kazakhstan president
Nursulu beautiful
Nurzhan light soul
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Oksana, Oxsana, Oxana praise be to God; Ukranina/Russian for Xenia (Greek) meaning hospitality
Oleg Scandinavian: sacred, Russian: holy, successful
Oraz  
Orman dream, reverie
Otegen, Tolemis coming back, derived
Pazylbek, Bazylbek generous
Rachman from rachmet (Kazakh) meaning thank you or from Rahman (Arabic) which is a god's name in Islam
Raikhan  
Raimbek  
Ranat, Renat revolution, science
Rauan Iranian: soul, life
Raumilya, Raumila God's pupil/student; male version is Ramil. Tatar
Ravil  
Raushan rose (flower)
Rayshan pose
Rishad clever, reasonable, wise
Ruan rainbow
Ruslan red-headed, attractive; character in a Pushkin poem: Persian: lion
Rustem Iranian: brave, strong, manly, tall
Sabir enduring, patient
Sadikovna (Arabic) daughter of Sadik; sincere, open, honest, truthful, faithful
Saken beauty
Sandugash, Sandurash nightingale
Sara (Kazakh) Yellow (represents the sun and the summer steppes)
Saule light, ray, beam; sunny or sunshine, natural light
Saya "the coolness of a breeze under a tree on a summer day"
Sergei, Sergey (Roman) high, respectable; the attendant, servant
Serioga abbreviation for Sergey
Serik support, hope; supportive life-companion, partner
Serikbek  
Sheker, Shecker sugar sand
Shokai ? moon bouquet
Sholpan Venus, early morning star; popular Kazakh name for girls
Sultanat, Saltanat Indian: realm, Persian: kingdom, monarchy; celebrations, festivities, triumph; nickname Salta
Surum, Surym, Serim riddle, secret, mystery
Svetlana, Sveta, Lana (R) star, light
Symbat beautiful
Talgat, Tolgat Turkish for rise
Taras Russian/Ukranian form of Tarasios (Greek): of Tarentum (town in Italy)
Tatyana, Tanya (R) fairy queen
Temir iron
Temirzhon iron soul
Toktar be alive
Tolganai full moon
Tursynbek long life, given to a boy in hopes for a long life
Ulbison ? may our next child be a boy
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Vadim It is a common Russian name, probably Scandanavian in origin. To accuse, to rule with greatness, a powerful ruler, ruling power
Vanya (R) gracious gift from God (F); pet form of Ivan = John: gracious (M)
Venera (R) Venus (goddess of love and beauty)
Vitalina (R) female version of Vitaly, vital
Vladmir (Slavic) prince, owner of the world
Vyacheslav, Slava (R) possesses glory, well known
Wulzhan son spirit or son person, used when parents want their next child to be a son
Yana (Slavic) charity of God
Yerbol  
Yerik (R) life-giving, appointed by God
Yerzhan brave soul
Yrymbasar has taken a name of the grandfather
Yulia (Latin) curly, fluffy
Zarina Persian: golden vessel, queen; African: golden
Zemfira (Iranian) sapphire, precious stone
Zhanna my soul, dove in ancient Hebrew
Zhanbolat brave heart or soul, man of steel
Zhanserik hope or support of soul
Zhenya nickname for Evganiy/Yevgeniy (R), noble, well-born; Eugene (Greek)
Zhumagul Friday's flower
Zhymabek Friday
Zoika, Zoia (Greek) life
Zulfia wavy and/or curly hair of a beautiful girl (Arabic)
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Page last updated on 19 December 2009.

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