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Armenian Names: From Ara to Zabelle

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A few years ago I met a couple named Anoush and Harout, (who, predictably, had a last name ending in ian, the Armenian patronymic meaning ‘son of”) and was immediately intrigued by the rich sounds of their names.  That, plus the lingering memory of the characters in William Saroyan‘s My Name is Aram–Arak, Dikran, Jorgi, Garro–piqued my interest in Armenian names.  It’s an ethnicity that has made few inroads into mainstream American nomenclature, but, while most of these names are destined to remain confined to the Armenian community, there are definitely some candidates eligible for wider circulation.

Many of these names date back to antiquity, some coming from the Bible (eg. Sahak for Isaac) or relating to nature (Shoushan, meaning lily), and there are a number that are close cousins to more familiar appellations, such as Hanna, Rouben, Ester, Yulia–variations with their own distinctive charm.  (And note that since Armenia does not use the Latin alphabet but has a 36-letter alphabet of its own, transliterations bring about wide variations in spellings.)

Here, some of the most appealing Armenian choices:

GIRLS

ANNIG, ANI

ANOUSH (means sweet)

ARAX, ARAXI, ARAXIA, ARAXIE

ASTINE

CAROUN

DALITA

LALA

LUCINE

MARAL

MARIAM

MAROUSH

NADALIA

NIKA

OHANNA

PEROUZE (means turquoise)

SHIRIN

SHOUSHAN

SILVA

SIRAN, SIROUN

SONA

SOSI

TALINE

ZABELLE, ZABEL, ZOBEL

ZIAZAN

BOYS

AKIM

ALTOUN

ARA

ARAM

ARMEN

ARNO

ARSHILE

ARTOUN

BERJ

DIKRAN

DMITRI

GARO, GARRO

HAIG

HARO

HAROUT

JIRAIR

LEVON

MARDIK

NISHAN

OHAN (=John)

RAFIK, RAFFI, RAFI

ROUBEN

SARKIS

SOUREN

VARTAN

VARAZ

ZAKO

ZEROUN

ZORI

 

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