When you travel in Serbian, besides learning how to say hello and thank you in Serbian, calling a Serbian name correctly is also very important to help you make friends with people there. Do you know any common Serbian names?
These common Serbian names are extremely popular today, not only in Serbia but also many other countries. Serbia is a small country located in south-eastern Europe. When you talk to someone from Serbia, you will most probably hear about their diverse country and rich traditions. Serbian names also exhibit this diversity as they sound unique. Let’s learn more about Serbian names today.
Did you know that all srpska imena (Serbian first names) can be divided into three categories? These are hrišćanska imena (Christian names), Slovenska imena (Slavic names), and so-called „ostala imena (other names)“.
As the name suggests, Christian names are mostly the names of Christ’s apostles, great martyrs, and benefactors. Their origin is mainly from Greek and Hebrew.
Slavic names originated from Slavic elements and various suffixes. So, these are all those names where for the meaning you do not need an interpreter. They mostly start with –drag, -mio, -rad like Dragan (drah-gahn), Dragomir (drah-goh-mIihr), Miodrag (me-oh-drawg), Milorad (mih-loh-raht), Milan (mih-luhn)…
Other names in Serbian are all those that are “borrowed” from foreign languages, and which are not in Christian form. Serbian first names most often came from Hungarian, Turkish, Latin, and Greek languages.
Here is our list of some of the most meaningful and exotic Serbian male and female names:
Luka is a male name of Greek origin derived from the word “lux” (Λουκάς) meaning “light” and “shining”. This name was also often used to denote a resident of Lucania, an area in Italy. Luka is at the top of the list of most frequently given names to boys born in Serbia in the past 10 years. The name is very popular in various European countries, including Austria and Germany, for example.
This Slavic male name is derived from the word “mil, mio, mili”, which is very common in many Slavic names and means “darling”. The name also exists in other regions, so depending on where it comes from, it can be interpreted differently. In Italian, Milan is a unisex name and means a person from the city of Milan. There is also an interpretation that this name originally came from the Latin name Aemilianus which was used in ancient Rome, and maybe the nickname of the name Emiliano. The non-European origins of Milan derive from Sanskrit and mean “eager”, “diligent” or “competitor”. In Hindi, it means “together, community, union.” Milan is a popular name in several countries around the world like the United States, Belgium, Germany, and Sweden.
This is an old Slavic male name derived from the noun “wolf”. In the past, when the word was still believed to have a magical effect, it was worn on a male child in order to intimidate evil spirits that shun dangerous beasts. The name was usually given to a male child in a family where deadly diseases reigned so that the disease would escape from the fear of the “wolf”. Vuk Karadžić in his “Dictionary” emphasizes the protective character of this name, writing: “When a woman is not given children to live long, then she gives the child the name Vuk because they think that their children are eaten by witches and that the wolf will not allow that.” Vuk is one of the most common Serbian names.
Dušan comes from old Serbian and is a pretty desired male name. It derives from the basis of the same root which is in the nouns “spirit” and “soul” or from the name of the holiday Pentecost. It is synonymous with goodness and beauty. In the past, it expressed the parent’s desire and interest for the child to live long. One of the first, or perhaps the first bearer of the name was Tsar Dušan, from the lineage of Nemanjić. His real name was Dušan, which was shortened during his reign, as it seemed with other names. In the folk tradition, it has long been considered a ruler’s name, so in the past, it was avoided by ordinary people. The names Duja, Dule, Dušanka, Dušica, Duška, and Duško are derived from this name. This name is among the top 5 names on the list of most common Serbian names.
Marko is the Serbian variant of the name Markus or Marcus, which is derived from the famous Latin surname Marcus. The surname is derived from “mart-kos” which means “dedicated to Mars, the Roman god of war”. The name was mostly given to people who were born in the month of March, because this month was also named after the Roman god of war, Mars.
According to one interpretation, this female name is derived from the word “mil, mio, mili”, which is very common in many Slavic names meaning “dear”. At the other end, the name is derived from “mil”, abbreviated from the Greek word “mil-es” meaning “soldier”. Also, the meaning can be interpreted as “ruler” or “law”. (hence the name “milic-ij-a.”) The name Milica is one of the oldest female Serbian names that was widespread even before Empress Milica, the wife of Emperor Lazar Hrebeljanovic, but thanks to her it became very popular. On the list of most common Serbian names, the name Milica has been continuously at the very top of the hot list.
This female name comes from the Hebrew “Hannah”, ie. “Hanna” from the root h-n-n, meaning “mercy, gratitude”. This was later adapted by Latin and pronounced “Anna”. It is the name of the Mother of God Mary, so it has become popular in various forms throughout the Christian world from the earliest times until today. The names Aneta, Anita, Anica, Anka, Ankica, and Anja are derived from this name. In the last few decades, this name has remained at the very top of the list of most commonly given names to girls in Serbia.
The feminine form of the male name Theodore. The name Theodore comes from the Greek “Theodoros” (Θεόδωρος) derived from theos (God) + doron (gift) meaning “gift of God”. According to folk tradition, it was given to a child when their parents had been waiting for it for a long time, so God finally gave it to them.
A female name of Hebrew origin derived from the word Sarai (Hebrew: שָׂרַי). The meaning of the name is princess, ruler, or high-ranking woman. In the Bible, Sarah is the wife of Abraham (Abraham) and is also mentioned in the Qur’an. In Arabic (سَارَة) the name means “one who brings happiness to the spectators, cheerful and joyful. “ Sarah was also the name of the wife of Hadhrat Ibrahim, or the mother of Hadhrat Ishaq. The name is very popular with Christians and Muslims in various forms and is one of the most common Serbian names.
The female name Nina is a calendar name and has its significance in the Christian tradition through Saint Nina (Georgian). Although it is often interpreted as an abbreviation of many names, Nina is an independent name and originates from the Greek “ninos” (Νίνος). Ninos was the king of Assyria. As an abbreviation of other names, there can be a variant of the name Angelina, Ninoslava. In Europe, Nina is an abbreviation of names ending in “-ina”, such as Katharina, Alina, Antonina. In Quechua, “Nina” means “fire”.
Once upon a time, children will get their names given by ancestors, by saints who were close to the birth of a child, or by purpose. So in Serbs history, you would often come across Serbian names like Stanko (staen-koh) – those baby names were given to stop giving birth in families with many children or stop children from dying), Jovana ( ihoh-vah-nah) and Stevana (steh-vah-nah) – these names were given after the nearest saint) , as well as, as we have already said, almost forgotten names.
In the fifties of the last century, baby names were still given after their grandparents. That is why in that Serbian generation we had a lot of names like Milica (mih-lee-tsah), Marija (mah-ree-yah), Danica (dah-nee-tsah), Milka (mihl-kah), and Radomir (rah-doh-mihr). Basically, all the names with -rad and -mio endings were “welcome” at the time. But, we should not forget that the fifties were the year when freedom was celebrated, so it is not surprising that the Serbian names like Slobodana (Slo-buh-daw-na) and in feminine form Slobodanka (slo-buh-dawn-kah) Velimir (veh-lih-mihr), Budimir (boo-dih-mihr), Mira (mih-rah) and a similar “team” containing “peace” appeared in that generation. Ljiljana (lihl-ah-nah), Jasmina (yuhs-mee-nah), and Nada (Nah-dah) were a little less popular girl names, but there were still some girls with beautiful names. Over time, these same Serbian names became very popular, so before the end of the fifties and the beginning of the sixties, you could find at least one person with a beautiful Serbia name Ljiljana on every street.
In the 1960s, literature and TV propaganda took their toll on Serbian culture. The expansion of foreign, especially Russian, names started here, so you can come across a thousand and one Saša (saa-shaa), a sea of
During the wonderful seventies, when brotherhood and unity were all around us, you could come across many people with the Serbian names Jugoslav (ihoog-oh-slahf) and Jadranka ( ihahd-rahn-kah). In the seventies, for some reason, the expansion of Dragan (drah-gahn), Ivan (ee-van), Jelena (yeh-leh-nuh), and Ana (ah-nah) started. Yes … you wouldn’t believe it, but in the seventies, it didn’t matter what your name was, but where you were from. In the seventies, the only thing that mattered was that you were from a country that has a “red passport” (Yugoslavia).
The eighties of the last century abounded with Serbian names like Dunja (doon-ihah), Maja (ma-ya), Zoran (zoh-rahn), Tijana ( tih-ah-nah), and Dušan (doo-shaan). Names such as Marko (mahr-koh), Bogdan (bawg-dahn), and Petar (p-eh-t-uh-r) were often given Serbian names. As you can see, in the eighties there was a slight struggle between the “modern” and Serbian baby names with “tradition.” This is not strange at all if you look into the Serbian past – namely, in the eighties, the so-called patriotic spirit began to awaken, while on the other hand, many tried to stay out of it and give a child as common name as possible.
In the dark nineties (in Serbia history), patriotism came to the maximum and a kid began to hope for the name that their ancestors bore, they began to be given so-called “Serbian” names. In that period, Milica (mih-lee-tsah) came to the forem, followed bravely by Stefan (steh-fahn), Nemanja (neh-mahn-yah), Dejan (dai-ahn), and Uroš (oo-rohsh).
The shorter, the more unusual name – the better! This is the slogan of the new century in Serbian culture. There was a list of names in short form Iva (ee-vuh), Mia (mee-uh), Lea (lee-uh), Tea (tai-uh), Tara (teh-ruh), Lana (Law-nuh), Elena (ell-al-nuh), Una (oo-nah), and other names in the feminine form on all sides. That’s the way it is with girl names. When it comes to men, it should be said that the old inherited names are still in circulation, so we still have a lot of David (day-vid), Luka (loo-kah), Vuk (Vook), and Matej (mae-tehj).
Common Serbian names and language exhibit the diversity of Serbia. If you want to learn more Serbian names or other words for that matter, you can use language learning apps like Ling App.