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100 Popular Bulgarian Names For Boys And Girls

Like in any unique culture, some names within the Bulgarian society are more common than others. If you're familiar with the people of Bulgaria, you will discover how names like Ivan, Stefan, and Nikolay are very popular among males. At the same time, Elena, Ivanka, and Maria are also some of the most famous female names in Bulgaria. Let's take a closer look and see the full list of some common Bulgarian names.

 

History Of Bulgarian Names

In general, Bulgaria has been a melting pot as its citizens are descended from people of multiple ethnicities and origins.

Today, most modern Bulgarian people are successors of the ancient Bulgars, Thracians, and Slavs origin. The culture is also heavily revolved around Greek, Persian, and Ottoman influences.

bulgarian names

Bulgaria is an East European country surrounded by Turkey, Romania, Serbia, North Macedonia, and Greece. The people of Bulgaria speak the South Slavic language, which is said to be mutually intelligible with the Macedonian language.

 

Bulgarian Naming System

The are several layers to explore when it comes to Bulgarian names.

Of course, the naming conventions among Bulgarians today have changed from the ways of the old days. Fundamentally, Bulgarian names are gender-based. You'll see later in the examples that it's pretty easy to distinguish between a male and a female name.

Traditionally, there were a few traditions that the ancient civilization of Bulgaria practiced:


1. Naming A Male Newborn After His Father's Father

Up until today, this tradition is quite common among Bulgarians (though it might not necessarily be practiced). This is definitely the traditional way a child is named in Bulgaria. Some people may follow this custom, while some may not.

To be specific, Bulgarians name their male newborn after the father's father, the grandfather. What if the newborn is a girl? Yes, she is named after the grandmother.

Correspondingly, the second child will be usually named after the mother's parents. What's the logic behind this tradition? It's to display how a child belongs to his father and how his father belongs to his father (the grandfather). This, in a way, entails how the Bulgarian community traces its legacy. Beautiful, isn't it?

Here's How This Naming Tradition Works:

In Bulgarian names, there is a particular suffix at the end, signifying possession (like the English 's). Let's see these suffixes and how they work.

Most Bulgarian male surnames have an -ov suffix, a tradition practiced mostly by Eastern Slavic societies, particularly those from Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus.

  • -ov and -ev are both masculine suffixes
    e.g.: Apostol => Apostolov Vladimir => Vladimirov
  • It's a gender-agreeing suffix
  • It indicates possession
  • Apostolov can be literally translated as Apostol's

Alternatively, the feminine form of -ov suffix is -ova:

  • -ova and -eva are feminine suffixes
    e.g.: Apostol => Apostolova Vladimir => Vladimirova

Clearly, this is how a part of the Bulgarian legacy is built - by adding the suffixes at the back of the newborns' names. This indicates how the child belongs to the father and family.
Then again, traditions could vary according to the region, and they're often not followed anymore.


2. Naming A Newborn After Its Parents

I've also discovered the fact that some Bulgarian parents name their children after themselves, which is quite unique and interesting.
As a matter of fact, this is an uncommon practice (unlike the first one). Typically, the custom is to name the firstborn after the father's parents, not after the father himself.
However, these methods are not fixed as each region may exercise different naming standards and conventions. It all depends on one's geography or cultural background.


3. Naming A Newborn After The Nearest Holiday To Its Birthdate

This is another distinctive custom in naming children in Bulgaria. In general, some people are named after the nearest holiday to his birthdate, so you will see many Bulgarian names that sound like a festivity.

For example, if someone was born prior to (or closely after) St. George's Day, there's a really high chance that the newborn will be named Georgi (for male) or Gergana (for female).

Alternatively, Bulgarian parents may be inspired by wishful names. These names hold positive connotations such as good health and life (like Zdravko or Stoyan). Still, although this tradition is particularly unique, only a few people would actually consider and stick to it.

 


50 Male Bulgarian Names And Meanings

Let's see some most popular Bulgarian names for boys.

NAMEMEANING
IvanGod's gift. Also, the name of six Russian rulers (the first Russian Tsar is called Ivan the Terrible)
VasilThe Bulgarian form of Basil, which means king
StefanCrown
GeorgiFarmer or husbandman
NikolaVictorious people
HaralambiTo shine with happiness
ApostolApostle or messenger
Dimitar/DemeterA variant for Demetrius, meaning earth
HristoA Bulgarian form of Christopher, meaning carrier of Christ
EmilMasculine form of Emilia, meaning to strive, excel or work hard
PetarInspired from old Greek word, meaning a rock or stone
AlexanderDefender of man
MartinDerived from the Romanian form of Mars/Martis; the Roman god
ViktorA masculine form, meaning victory
VladimirRuling the world
DragomirFrom the word dragu, meaning precious
ChavdarPersian word meaning leader, dignitary
StankoDerived from Stanislav, meaning to stand with glory
BozhidarBulgarian form of Bozidar, meaning divine gift
BojidarA variant transcription of Bozhidar, which also means divine gift
DesislavMeans finding glory or searching for glory
AsenThe name of a Bulgarian king
MomchilDerived from the Bulgarian word momche, which refers to boy or youth
AtanasAn immortal man
DonchoBulgarian form of Andon, which means priceless
AndreyA born warrior, manly and courageous
TodorA beautiful and pleasant gift from God
TsvetanFrom the Bulgarian word tsvetan, meaning flower; blossom
KrastioA Bulgarian form of Krastyo, referring to a cross
BlagunOriginated from a Slavic word: blag, meaning sweet, pleasant, and good
RadoslavEager glory
GrozdanA shiny star
KrasimirBeautiful peace
LyubenFrom the Slavic lyuby, meaning love
IvayloMeaning wolf
RadimirJoy and peace
BorkaA good fighter boy
SpasFrom Bulgarian term: spasen, meaning saved
BoyanSimilar to Borka; a warrior or fighter
KaloyanFrom a Greek phrase kalos Ioannes; handsome John (the nickname of the Bulgarian 13th emperor)
MitreShort form of Dimitar, which means earth
TomislavProbably from Slavic tomiti (torture) and slava (glory), the name of the first Croatian king
BogdanFrom the Slavic elements bogu (god) and dan (given), meaning given by God
SlavkoOriginally from Slavic slava, meaning glory
StoyanFrom Bulgarian stoya; to stand, to stay
TihomirDerived from the Slavic tikhu (quiet) and miru (peace)
GavrailBulgarian version of Gabriel, meaning God is my strength
KostaBulgarian diminutive of Constantine, meaning constant
RumenRuddy and red-cheeked
DamyanBulgarian form of Famian, meaning to tame

 



50 Female Bulgarian Names And Meanings

NAMEMEANING
SonyaA Russian diminutive of Sophia, meaning wisdom
MichaelaFeminine version of Michael, from Hebrew which means the leader of heaven, a saint
TsvetoslavaDerived from Bulgarian Tsveta, meaning flower and glory
IrinaDerived from Irene, which means peace
DesislavaA female version of Desislav, meaning glory
Boryana/BorianaOriginally from Bulgarian, meaning glorious in battle
Tatyana/TatianaFeminine form of the Roman tatianus, referring to a saint who martyred in Rome in the 3rd century
SvetlanaFrom the Russian svet, meaning light and world
KristinaEnglish variant of Christina and Bulgarian variant of Hristina, referring to the 17th century Swedish queen
MihaelaFeminine form of Mihael, derived from Michael. Refers to a saint
LiliyaBulgarian version of Lily, refers to the flower; a symbol of purity
PolinaA feminine version of paulina, referring to Paul, a famous nobleman in the 5th century
EvaDerived from Eve, meaning to breathe and to live
DobromiraOf Slavic origin, which indicates good peace
StanimiraOf Slavic elements stani (stand) and miru (peace, world)
MariaLatin form of the Hebrew Mary, referring to the mother of Jesus
IvankaThis Means God is gracious
ElenaFrom a Greek name that means bright, shining light
YordankaFeminine Bulgarian form of Jordan, which means to descend
ViktoriaVictory
AnaIndicates compassion and grace
BoykaMeans fighter or warrior
Raina/RaynaMeans queen
BlagorodnaA noblewoman
SimonaMeaning the one who hears
OgnyanaOriginated from the Bulgarian word "ognen" , which means fiery
BilyanaIn South Slavic languages, which means fair
BorislavaThe feminine form of Borislav, meaning famous battle
DarinaFrom a Slavic term, which means gift
BiseraFrom South Slavic word: Biser pearl
GalyaOf Greek origin which means serenity
BilyanaA Bulgarian form of Biljana, meaning herb
DonkaA female variant of Andon, meaning priceless
DianaRefers to the Roman goddess
VioletaFrom Eastern Europe, meaning violet, the purple flower
MarinaDerived from a Roman family name: Marinus, meaning 'of the sea'
KrasimiraA female version of beautiful peace
BozhidaraA feminine version of Bozhidar, meaning divine gift
SimonaFemale form of Simon, meaning obedient
Roza/RosaMeans rose in some Slavic dialects
VeraMeans faith in Russian and true in Latin, from the word verus
NadejdaHope
VasilkaQueenly
AneliaBulgarian adaptation of Angela, which means angel
BranimiraPeaceful world
Emiliya/EmiliaTo work hard
EvdokiyaGood glory
MalynaSweet as raspberry
ZhivkaA feminine version of Zhivko, meaning living
NadyaBulgarian form of Nadezhda, which means hope

 


Names Of Notable Bulgarians

NameProfession
Emil AndreevBulgarian writer
Jules PascinBulgarian artist
Georgi TsonovBulgarian athlete
Ralitsa VassilevaBulgarian journalist
Grigor DimitrovBulgarian tennis player
Binka ZhelyazkovaBulgarian film director
Todor KolevBulgarian film actor
Hristo ShopovBulgarian actor
Ivan VladislavFormer Tsar of Bulgaria
Gloria IvanovaBulgarian singer
Stanislav IanevskiBulgarian actor
Kiril GospodinovBulgarian theater actor
Yana MarinovaBulgarian actress
Elena YonchevaBulgarian politician
Edvin SugarevBulgarian poet
Neva KrystevaBulgarian organist
Vesselina KasarovaBulgarian operatic mezzo-soprano
Ljubomir ChakalovBulgarian mathematician
Elka TodorovaResearcher at the Institute of Sociology at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
Nikolay NenovskyBulgarian economist

 


How Bulgarians Today Name Their Children?

All in all, although some very unique naming conventions exist within the Bulgarian community and culture, not everyone decides to stick to the old-fashioned way. To certain extents, the customs and traditions may only apply to certain Bulgarians.

Like anywhere else in the world, we do have a modern take on Bulgarian naming conventions. Rather than naming the child after the grandparent's full given name, the child only inherits the first letter. It's called the first-letter rule.

Hence, the granddaughter of Petya might become Poli or Polina. Clearly, the first letter P from the grandparent is maintained. Another contemporary way of naming children in Bulgaria is by adopting any popular Western-sounding names, such as Martin, Alexander, Victor, Maria, and Sofia.

 

Learn Bulgarian Today!

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From some of the most famous Bulgarian names today, we can see how the culture of Bulgaria is deeply interlaced with the rich culture of its neighboring countries. This blog can also be the perfect list of baby names, which can be what you're looking for.

It's also very interesting to see how Bulgarians really want to preserve their cultural heritage. This intention then translates into their unique naming convention. It's beautiful and inspiring.

Always want to learn Bulgarian? Start now. It is truly simple - start with saying hello and thank you. Then enrich your vocabulary and speech with Ling, which is free for everyone.

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