By Sophie Kihm
I hate to break it to you, but Kim, Kourtney, and Khloe aren’t Armenian names. However, that’s about the breadth of most Americans’ knowledge of the subject. Let’s change that, shall we? I’ve got 20 great Armenian names to talk about today–all of them would be equally striking on an Armenian-American (or any!) baby.
Anahid– Anahid comes from the Persian mythological name Anahita–the goddess of fertility, healing, wisdom, and water. Anahid is typically used in Western Armenia, while Anahit is more common in Eastern Armenia. Both are quite common in their preferred regions.
Anoush– Anoush is an extremely charming name (and in fact means “sweet”). With the similar-sounding Anouk gaining favor among taste-makers and trendsetters, Anoush (or her alternate spelling Anush) seems like a top-notch alternative. For all you music enthusiasts, Anoush is the name of a 1912 opera by Armen Tigranian.
Arda– Arda is a Hebrew-Armenian unisex name, although, if you’re going to use it on an American baby, it might be best on a daughter. It’s also used in Turkey, but as a strictly male name. One famous historical namesake is Arda of Armenia, Queen of Jerusalem.
Lusine– Lusine is a distinctive name that would be a very creative way to get to the every-girl nickname Lucy–much more unexpected than Lucille and Lucia. Lusine means “moon,” and can also be spelled Lucine.
Siran– Siran is a diminutive of Siranush–both great names, but the slimmer Siran strikes me as more American-friendly. This Armenian beauty’s meaning is one of my favorite words–“lovely!” Obviously, that makes me a big fan of Siran.
Zabel– In these days of Isabella and Isabel, why not pick something a little different? Zabel is the Armenian form of Isabel, but stands well on her own (however, if you prefer her as a nickname, how about Elizabeth or Jezebel as the full form?). The zippy Z beginning is lively and fun, and for a fashionable variation, she can be spelled Zabelle. Ziazan is another Zname, meaning rainbow.
Armen– Armen is a handsome name that has roots in both Armenia and Russia. In Russia he is a variant of the names Armand and Herman, but in Armenia, he comes from the name of the country. Aram is another option, associated with writer William Saroyan and Russian composer Aram Khachaturian. Ara was a legendary Armenian king.
Haro– Haro is a multicultural surname name that’s more popular in Armenia as a first. Not much information is known about the Armenian form, but he may come from Harout, which in turn is derived from Harutyun. Haig is a popular Armenian name.
Levon– Impeccably stylish Levon should be all the rage right now, but instead he’s an under-the-radar choice. Blogger Petite Biet has a son named Levon. If you name your son Levon, he will share his name with Armenian royalty, an Elton John song and The Band musician Levon Helm.
Narek- Narek comes from the name of an Armenian town which nowadays falls in modern Turkey. The name is sometimes translated as Nareg in Western Armenia, but I think most American parents would prefer the former.
Ohan– Ohan is the Armenian form of John. He’d be the perfect choice for an Armenian-American boy–Ohan has a modern sound and is fresh to American ears, yet has old-world Armenian roots. Ohanna is the female version.
Sahak– Do you love Isaac? He’s an indisputably great name, but that leads to high rankings (Isaac is at #31). However, Sahak—Isaac‘s Armenian variation–is practically unheard of in the US. He shares all the same sounds with his Hebrew cousin, but not the popularity, making Sahak an A+ choice.
Sourin– Although the two are unrelated, Armenian Sourin is very similar to Scandinavian Soren. The latter is quite trendy right now, making Sourin a good alternative. Unlike Soren, Sourin’s pronunciation puts the stress on the second syllable.
Sufjan– You may have heard of Sufjan Stevens, the American folk hipster rocker, but you might not have known that his name is Armenian. Sufjan is actually a variant of Sufyan, which is also used in Arabic culture. Either spelling is usable for a baby boy.
Toros– Toros is the Armenian form of Theodore, although it may be too reminiscent of the Spanish word for bull, “toro.” And also may be confused with Taurus (the constellation of the bull). If you prefer classic names with unusual nicknames, you can call your little Theodore–or Thelonious–Toros.
Zako– Zack may be out of fashion, but Zako feels energetic and fresh. He’s an Armenian name, as well as a Hungarian version of Zachariah. Zako works as both a full name and a nickname, so take your pick! Zeroun mean wise and respected old man—a name to grow into.