Armenian Names: From Ara to Zabelle

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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14 Responses to “Armenian Names: From Ara to Zabelle”

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Kem Says:

August 17th, 2009 at 12:35 am

A friend of mine’s husband comes from an Armenian background. When they had a baby, they gave him a very popular, common first name to counter-balance the complexity of their last name, but used the family name ‘Hratch’ in the middle spot.

Eva Says:

August 17th, 2009 at 9:03 am

I was so excited to see this because I’m Armenian!

Ani is SO popular in the Armenian community. I know so many. Taline is also popular, but not as popular as Ani. It’s also spelled Taleen often. Lucine is popular among older people too.

Ara, Aram, and Armen are also VERY popular in the Armenian community. Raffi and Haig are also more popular among older people.

The only name I can picture becoming popular outside of the Armenian community is Zabel, as a susbstitute for Isabelle. I think Zori could be come popular too. It sounds light and happy. It could even be used for a girl. I see Dmitri as more of a Russian name, and I can also see that being used.

Emz Says:

August 17th, 2009 at 6:49 pm

I really love a few of these. I’ve been a big fan of Anoush for ages – it’s great fun to say.

From the list, I also really like Araxie, Nika and Silva. Levon, Zori, Zako and Raffi are my faves for boys.

Zabelle is lovely – is it pronounced za-BELL or ZA-bell? Anyone know?

Jo Says:

August 18th, 2009 at 12:55 pm

It’s ZA-bell. My husband is Armenian and his mother turned me on to this name. I LOVE it.

His name is Zareh. I think it’s sexy.

Karin Marie Says:

August 20th, 2009 at 12:15 am

I’m liking a lot of names but is how do you say Zobel? Like Zoe-bell? or Z-oh-bell?

Sophia Corinne Says:

August 24th, 2009 at 2:42 pm

I’m good friends with an Armenian family of several kids. The boys all have common biblical names (either in or around the top 10) but the girl has a gorgeous Armenian name not on the list- Sarine, pronounced with a rolled R. It means “from the mountains”.

Victoria Says:

September 30th, 2009 at 4:27 pm

How do you say Araxia? I really like the way it looks

Zabelle Says:

October 13th, 2009 at 7:01 pm

Hello my name is Zabelle and I came on this site to find the meaning of my name, and this has been very helpful.
My grandmother is half armenian and my moms middle name is zabelle . I love my name but whenever I get asked what my name is people always think i said isabel,so i have to like say no Zabelle with a Z.lol!!!

Kevorkian Says:

October 28th, 2009 at 4:52 pm

My husband is half Armenian. We named our son Levon. I love it but Americans can not say it. They say LaVon. Any suggestions?

Andrea Says:

November 23rd, 2010 at 12:59 pm

I am Canadian, my husband is Armenian & I am really trying hard to find traditional Armenian names I like. One: I need to be able to pronounce it (easy to pronounce for child’s sake too, when s/he goes to school). Two: I really want it to be a pretty name to hear, not only in Armenian, but English. So far I’ve found only 2 boys & 2 girls names. Boys: Ari (I believe it means brave) & Sevan which is said to be unisex (name of a lake in Armenia). Girls: Siran (“lovely” in Armenian) & Zabelle. My husband is not fond of any 🙁 I’m desperate, please help.

Zobel Says:

March 29th, 2011 at 1:02 am

Yey! Glad to find this site. My name is Zobel and I like it to be pronounced as Zu-bel instead of Zoe-Bell. Some people get confused and call me Isobel, but I don’t mind better than Zoe-Bell hehe!!

Gender: F
Origin of Isabel: Spanish variation of ELIZABETH, “pledged to God”

I’m very pleased about that!!!

TamaraL Says:

October 23rd, 2012 at 3:05 pm

I have really gotten into Armenian names lately. I am armenian and named after my grandmother, Tamara. It is an alternate form of the Armenian name Tamar. I grew up not liking it that much but have recently come to really appreciate it. The name actually has a cool story:

According to the Armenian legend, an Armenian princess named Tamar lived on an island and was in love with a commoner. Every night she would hold out a light for her love to swim across and reach the island. When her father found out he was upset, so he smashed her lantern. That night her love didnt see a light, and so he didnt know where to swim to. He drowned 🙁 According to legend, his last words were “Akh Tamar” (Oh Tamar)

The island was named Akhtamar after this legend

pretty sad but a cool story nonetheless 🙂

amavanesyan Says:

August 6th, 2013 at 10:53 pm

Oh…I feel like I am commenting a bit late….however…My daughter is Zabelle Nina 🙂 Queen Zabel I of Armenia was a queen of Cilicilian Armenia from 1219-1252; there is also a book about a woman who survived the Armenian Genocide, “Zabelle” by Nancy Kricorian. I wanted to give my daughter a name that was distinctly Armenian…and it was also my Godmother/Aunties name…and I love it. I have gotten many compliments on her name…and we call her Zabellina as a nn. My son is Murad Zak and I am looking for a distinctly Armenian name that will match the two…

http://armenianwomen.wordpress.com/2012/03/10/queen-zabel-%D5%A6%D5%A1%D5%A2%D5%A5%D5%AC-%D5%A9%D5%A1%D5%A3%D5%B8%D6%82%D5%B0%D5%AB-1219-1252-10/

Westfall620 Says:

October 5th, 2013 at 10:55 pm

Another very pretty name has a common sister. Zhozefin is the Armenian version on Josephine

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