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150+ Popular Names In Thai You Need To Know

Here is a bit of an interesting topic: how do names work in Thai? As odd as this may seem, Thai naming conventions actually have quite a unique and interesting history. Beyond that, the idea of nicknames also offers a different perspective on Thai culture. For the purposes of learning Thai, having some idea of how names in Thai work can be helpful in understanding how communication works and how to address people correctly. We have talked previously about how to be polite in Thai, and this topic can play a part in that. So, for today, let’s have a glimpse at names in Thai.

Popular Names In Thai

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A Quick History Of Names In Thai

As you would expect, people have been given names pretty much since we have been able to talk. The same is true in Thailand, as people have had names for most if not all of its history. However, the idea of surnames or family names in Thai is relatively new in the kingdom. Only since the 20th century has Thai people used surnames for themselves. 

Previously, Thai people were referred to by their first name or given name, or possibly some information such as where they are from. Middle names were not and are still not used. It wasn’t until around 1913 that the King declared that surnames be given and recorded across the kingdom, for the purposes of a new registration system. Interestingly, this followed the Western name convention where the first name is written before the surname. This differs from some neighboring countries like China where the surname comes first.

The introduction of these naming conventions led to some interesting situations. As people were not supposed to share a surname if they are not related, people had to go to great lengths (literally) to make sure their surname was unique. This meant that surnames were made to be longer and more complex, closer to phrases than words. Ultimately, this ensured that no two names were the same. This is how nicknames became common for referring to people, as it is much easier.

What Are Some Thai Nicknames?

Due to the nature and length of Thai names, it is not uncommon for people to have their own nicknames. Thai nicknames are shorter names for people used more often than their real names. You may even find that people don’t know their friends’ or coworkers’ ‘real’ names.

Nicknames are given at birth by the parents and may not necessarily relate to their real name in any way, instead of relating to their physical features, behavior, or desirable things. Sometimes, they can be completely random choices but have a particular symbolism like wealth or knowledge. You may find people with interesting nicknames that are not traditionally used as names for this reason. 

Also, when speaking with foreigners, Thai people may choose an alternative, English name to save the difficulty of pronunciation with their Thai name. However, Thai nicknames are often English words or are Thai words that are short enough and easy to pronounce.

Honorifics For Thai Names

Honorifics refer to the titles placed before the name of a person and generally denote the relationship with the person. In English, we use mister (Mr) and miss (Ms), for example. These also exist in Thai, though they behave slightly differently. An equivalent for mister or miss would be ‘khun’ (คุณ). This is often used for official purposes and for politeness.

Thai honorifics can be quite complex, especially when it comes to pronouns. These are affected by things such as age, gender, relationship, politeness, and more. This of course makes choosing the right word difficult. However, kinship terms are slightly easier to understand.

Kinship terms are words used to show your relationship with another person. They go before the person’s name. These include words like older brother/sister, known as ‘pii’ (พี่) in Thai. It doesn’t necessarily have to be used in a literal sense, as people also use these words for people they are close with.

There are also some other titles that are placed before the first name/nickname of a person when you talk to them. These include things like a teacher, known as ‘kruu’ (ครู), or doctor, known as ‘mor’ (หมอ).

What Are The Most Common Thai Names For Males? 

Names in Thai thai boy names male thai names thai male names

Starting with male names in Thai, there are a few that are quite popular.

1. Somchai (สมชาย)  – Real Man Or Man Of Worth

If you look up any list of common Thai names for males, you will come across this one. That is because this is by far one of the most popular names for males in Thailand. You can see the prefix ‘som’ (สม) that we mentioned earlier here – in this case together with the word ‘chai’ (ชาย) meaning male.

2. Somsak (สมศักดิ์) – Worthy Of Honor

The name Somsak is another of the more popular Thai names for males. As you can probably see, it is very similar to the name above. It once again reflects that the bearer of the name if worthy of something – honor or prestige in this case.

3. Arthit (อาทิตย์) – Sun

Those of you who are familiar with the names of the planets in Thai will know that Arthit means Sun (yes, I realize that the Sun is not a planet). While that would be a deep enough meaning alone, the name for the Sun in Thai is itself derived from the name of a Hindu god (and the word for Sunday).

4. Kittisak (กิตติศักดิ์) – Renowned, Powerful

As with most Thai names, this one shows that you have high hopes for your child. The two parts of the name together mean something like renowned power, which would mean they are particularly strong. I would imagine a lot of guys would like this to be their name.

What Are The Most Common Thai Names For Females?

Girl Names Thai  names for girls in thai thai female names

Just as there are many common Thai names for males, there are many common names specifically for females too.

1. Malee (มะลิ) – Flower/Jasmine

Flowers and beauty are concepts often associated with femininity, so it shouldn’t be surprising that the word for flower is a common Thai name for girls. Specifically, it refers to Jasmine, grown throughout Thailand for tea and rice.

2. Anong (อนงค์) – Beautiful

This is a nice name as it means beautiful. They say that children grow into their names to reflect its meaning and the supposed traits it conveys, so choosing a name with this meaning should be easy to understand. It is used as a female name due to some connotations for the meaning.

3. Pornthip (พรทิพย์) – Divine Blessing

If it wasn’t obvious yet, the meaning of this common Thai name should make it so. Thai names often have really intense meanings. This one is even a bit religious. But yes, this is where the porn prefix comes into play. Together with the word ‘thip’ (ทิพย์), which means divine or divinity, you get a really beautiful name.

4. Praew (แพรว) – Shining

The name Praew is another that is meant to convey beauty. It can be understood as shining or gleaming, which I believe to be signs of beauty. The pronunciation is a bit unique in that English speakers may not be able to say it correctly right away, but you will get used to it over time. 

Popular Baby Names In Thai 

Popular Thai Names For Baby Girls With Meanings!

ThaiPronunciation GuideMeaning
องุ่น A-ngungrape
อัจฉรา Atcharapretty angel
อรจิรา Ornchirabeatiful
อัมพร Ampornsky
อัญชลี Anchaligreeting
เบญจกัลยาณี Benjakalayani5th girl
บุปผา Bupphaflower
บุษบา Busabafloral/flower
ดาว Daostar
ดารา Darastar
ดาหลา Darhaflower
ดุษฎี Dussadicompliments
ฟ้า Fahsky
ฝัน Fandream
ฝน Fonrain
แก้ว Kaewglass
กัลญา Kanlayagood lady
กมลา Kamalaof the heart
กาญจณา Kanchanagold
กัณณิกา Kannikaflower
กนก Kanokdesign
กัญญา Kanyagirl
กานติมา Kantimabeautiful girl
เกตุ Kategood thing
ลัดดาวรรณ Laddawanglorious
มะลิ Malijasmin
มาลี Maleeflower
มนตรา Montraspell caster
งามจิตร Ngam-Chitgood heart
นิล Ninsapphire
นงค์เยาว์ Nong Yaoa young lady
น้ำทิพย์ Nam thipnectar
อรอนงค์ Orn-a-nongbeautiful lady
อรชร Orachondelicate
อรญา Orrayaintelligent lady
อรอินท์ On-inbeautiful like the moon
เพ็ญ Pen-Chanfull moon
เพ็ญศรี Pensrithe beauty of the moon
พัชรี Patchareediamond
ไพลิน Phailinsapphire
ปริศนา Prisanamystery
รัตนา Ratanacrystal
รุ้ง Rungrainbow
รุ่งนภา Rungnapasky
แสงดาว Saengdaostarlight
สุภาวดี Suphawadeebeautiful girl
สิริณัฏฐ์ Sirinatscholar
สุจิรา Sujiragoodness
ส้ม Somorange (the fruit)
สุดา Sudadaughter or girl
สุกัญญา Suganyagood lady
สุณี Suneegood thing
ทรัพย์ Suptreasure
แตง Taengmelon
ตวงรัตน์ Tuangratfull of gem
ทยิดา Tayidabeloved one
ทิพย์กมล Tipkamolbeautiful heart
ทิพย์ประภา TippraphaPerfect girl
ทักษอร Taksa-ornclever girl
ทัศนีย์ Tassaneebeautiful view
ธยาดา Tayadathink of
ธีรตา Teeratascholar
ญาธิดา Yathidaintelligent daugther
หยาดทิพย์ Yadthipbeautiful
หญิง Yingwoman

Popular Baby Boy Names In Thai + Their Meanings

ThaiPronunciation GuideMeaning
อาวุธ A-wutweapon
อนันดา Anandaprosperous
อาทิตย์ Athitthe sun
อธิชาติ A-thichartThe greatest one
อิทธิพงศ It-thipongsuccessor
ไอศูรย์ AisoonThe greatest one
บริบูรณ์ Boribuncomplete
บดินทร์ Badinking
บวรสิทธิ Borwornsitsuccessor
ชัยเจริญ Chaicharoentriumphant
ไชยา Chaiyavictory
ชยพล Chayaphongreat fighter
ไชยเชษฐ์ Chaiyachetthe great and prosperous one
เกษม Kasaemhappiness
เกษมชัย Kasaemchaivictorious celebration
กิตติชัย Kittichaifamous victory
กิตติชาติ Kittichatfamous clan
กิตติพงศ์ Kittiponghonorable clan
กล้า Klabrave
กล้าหาญ Klaharnvery brave
ก้องภพ Kongphopfamous one
กันต์ธีร์ Kanteegracious scholar
เล็ก Leksmall
เลิศพงศ์ Lertponggreat clan
เงิน Ngoensilver
นิรันด์ Niraneternal
ไพทูล / ไพทูรย์ Paitoonmoonstone
ไพบูลย์ Phaibunto prosper
ภาณุมาศ Phanumassun
ภาสกร Phassakornsun
เพชร Phetdiamond
พิชัย Phichaitriumphant
ประยุทร Prayutto fight
ปัญญา Panyawisdom
ปิยพนธ์ Piyaponbeloved one
ปิยวัฒน์ Piyawatprosperous
เรืองฤทธิ์ Ruangritmighty
เรืองศักดิ์ Ruangsakmighty; powerful
รัชชนันท์ Ratchanangreat happiness
รัชธนน Ratthanonwealthy
รพีพงศ์ Rapeepongclan of the sun
สัจจะ Satjatruth
ศักดิ์ดา Sakdapower
ศีกดิ์สิทธิ์ Saksitsacred
ศรุต Sarutfamous one
ศุภณัฐ Suppanatgracious scholar
ศุภเดช Suppadetpowerful
ธนชาติ Thanachartwealthy family
ธาวิน TawinInnocent
ธีรภพ Theeraphopsmart

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So, while this seems like a pretty long topic, it does end up being quite useful and ultimately important for learning Thai. There are several things to be mindful of when speaking and addressing other people, such as honorifics. Altogether, it makes for an interesting glimpse into the culture of Thailand, its history, and how people communicate. It is better to start learning Thai naming conventions now so you are ready when it comes to talking with others.

Learn many more topics relating to Thai with the Ling app. Make language learning interesting by taking on challenges and tests to help you improve your skills. Download Ling on your iOS or Android phone and take that first step in learning Thai today!

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