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Gender: Male Meaning of Ivan: "God is gracious" Origin of Ivan: Russian variation of John Ivan's Popularity in 2017: #135

The name Ivan is a boy's name of Russian origin meaning "God is gracious". Ivan is ranked #135 on our popularity charts and is often added to lists like Best Boy Names Starting with Vowels and discussed in our forums with posts like "Spelling Bee Name Game".

From the experts:

Though some might find it a bit heavy-booted, Ivan is one of the few Russian boys' names to become fully accepted into the American naming pool.

Ivan is, of course, ubiquitous in Russian culture. There is one of the brothers in The Brothers Karamazov, the protagonists of Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich, and Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, and the title character in Chekhov's Uncle Vanya. Real life Ivans include writer Turgnenev, biologist Pavlov, tennis player Lendl, and rulers Ivan the Great and --oops--Ivan the Terrible. Vanya is his warm and appealing nickname.

Find other names based on Ivan using our baby name generator.

Famous People Named Ivan

Ivan I Daniilovich Kalita, Prince of Moscow
Ivan II Ivanovich the Fair, Prince of Moscow
Ivan III Vasilyevich aka Ivan the Great, Prince of Moscow
Ivan IV Vasilyevich aka Ivan the Terrible, Tsar of Russia
Ivan Alexander, Tsar of Bulgaria
Ivan Asen I and II, Tsars of Bulgaria
Ivan Khristoforovich Bagramyan, Russian WWII commander
Ivan Lendl, tennis player
Ivan Andreyevich Bukin, Russian ice dancer
Ivan Basso, Italian road bicycle racer
Ivan Aivazovsky, Russian painter
(Ivan) Nathan Followill, musician from band "Kings of Leon"
Ivan Todorovic, Serbian footballer (plays for Portugal)
Ivan "Kuki" Kukolj, Serbian singer
Ivan Sanchez, Spanish actor
Ivan Dodig, Croatian tennis player
Ivan Petrovich Pavlov, renowned Russian physiologist and Nobel Prize winner
Ivan Bunin, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature
Ivan Martinez, Spanish YouTuber; twin brother Emilio Martinez
Ivan Orkin, American chef, creator of Ivan Ramen restaurants

Pop Culture References for the name Ivan

Ivan Braginsky, personification of Russia in the manga/anime Axis Powers: Hetalia
"The One and Only Ivan", novel by Katherine Applegate
Ivan Alexeev, character in film "Tapeheads"
Ivan, character in animated series "Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends"
"Ivan the Fool," short story by Leo Tolstoy
Ivan Vanko, villain in "The Invincible Iron" comics
Ivan Denisovich Shukhov, title character in Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich"
Ivan, character in video game "Golden Sun"
Ivan Vassilevich Lomov, character in Anton Chekhov's "A Marriage Proposal"
Ivan Raidenovich Raikov, character in video game "Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater"
"The Death of Ivan Ilyich," novel by Leo Tolstoy
Ivan Karamazov, character in Fyodor Dostoevsky's "The Brothers Karamazov"
Ivan, doorman in 2006 film "Curious George"
Ivan Veen, main character in Vladimir Nabokov's "Ada or Ardor"
Ivan Drago, boxer in film "Rocky IV"
Ivan Nikolayevich Ponyryov (Bezdomny), character in Mikhail Bulgakov's "The Master and Margarita"
Ivan Shawbly, character on TV's "Mona the Vampire"
Ivan, character in Aphmau's YouTube series
Ivan Bruel, character in "Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir"


Ivan's International Variations

Vanusha, Vanya, Ioann (Russian) Eyvind, Eyvan (Irish Gaelic) Vána, Vánuska, Ivánek (Czech) Yvan (Breton) Iwan (Welsh)


oliviamcdonald Says:


I like this name but in Australia there’s an infamous serial killer with the name, so there goes that

Starelli Says:


I've never heard anyone say it ee-vahn. Maybe in Europe.

rayleemarie Says:


I know some people think this name is very masculine but, for some reason when I first heard this name I thiugth It was for girls. I was super shocked when I read The one and Only Ivan and realized that the gorilla (Ivan) was a male

ceruleanstardust Says:


Ives would make a really cool nickname.

Theodora_Phoenix Says:


Ha, I can't even remember posting that comment. I don't think I was in a good state of mind when I did it, but the fact still stands that I did. So, I'm sorry if it bothered you in any way.

eve Says:


ivan the terrific

Ruanne Says:


It's short enough it doesn't really need one. Ivey would be cute among close family for a young Ivan, though.

indiefendi2 Says:


one of the Avengers is literally a Russian...... and once they even said her whole name in a Marvel film, pitch perfectly, which Natalia Alianovna Romanova. As a matter of fact in another Marvel film they literally speak Russian (to control the Winter Soldier) and have Russian signs visible. It's just laziness not to be consistent. Yvonne and Ivan come form the same origin which is John (and via Jane). Many Russian names and nicknames sound feminine to untrained ears. Vanya is equivalent to Johnny. Mischa is equivalent to Mike. Danya is equivalent to Danny. Kolya is equivalent to Nick. etc. etc. This is the same country where Santana (Saint Anne) is more popular for boys than girls. All of these multicultural names that are the most popular such as Isabella and even Sasha (which is unisex in Russian), yet simple names like Ivan are butchered for no reason other than "Americanism". If they wanna go that route, use Evan. Straightforward, easy, same origin, no "alternative" ways to pronounce it.

ludgate Says:


I don't think it's for a lack of research, I just think if they had pronounced it the Russian way people may have thought his name was the female "Yvonne." It's an American movie with the American pronunciation of the name. I understand where you're coming from but personally I adore this name and being Canadian would pronounce it "eye-van" which I think is completely normal for North American English speakers. This is the same for a lot of names popular on multiple continents :) I don't think anyone is trying to offend.

Soruru Says:


The bad part about this name is that it doesn't have a good nickname.
'Van' sounds dumb, and 'Ivy' sounds too feminine...

QuxxnAphrosephone Says:


Unfortunately, pronounced wrong a lot! It's not eye-ven, it's ee-von!

Lou Says:


I personally can't imagine saying anything but ee-VONN. That said, it is a wonderful name with either pronunciation.

indiefendi2 Says:


Just stopping by to say it's still me indiefendi just a new account because something went wrong with my other (now I have to come up with new things to say 😭). My statements/comments about Ivan still remain the same tho. 😝

Guest Says:


I was just watching Iron Man 2 where the villains name is Ivan Vanko and the Russian dad said it the correct way but several other people kept pronouncing it the "English" way (i.e. WRONG way, there is no eye sound when there's an I in a Russian name and there is no an sound, it's ahn like in Anja). I just wanted to yank my hair out because the movie had a $200M budget yet no one told the other actors how to say the guy's name? It drove me mental! 😫

Theodora_Phoenix Says:


Umm... indiefendi, it might depend on the person's accent. Some names are pronounced different depending on the country.

Guest Says:


Sigh. I wish people would stop saying eye-van. It's ee-vahn.