Why learning some common Vietnamese names is worth your time? When talking or writing an email to a Vietnamese person, it is essential to pronounce and spell their name correctly because no one likes their name to be misspelled.
How you call other people, friends, or colleagues is essential to build a respectful bond. If you pronounce it correctly, Vietnamese people will feel much more appreciated.
In addition, knowing the meaning of some Vietnamese names, Vietnamese nicknames or the way a Vietnamese name should be written may help you learn more about Vietnamese culture. Let’s get started!
What Is A Common Vietnamese Name?
- Anh An
These are the most common Vietnamese names for both genders. The most common Vietnamese middle names are Thị for females and Văn for males.
What Is The Structure Of Vietnamese Names?
Compared to most Western names such as English or Serbian, Vietnamese names have the opposite order of given, middle, and family names. A Vietnamese name has three parts, in the following order:
FAMILY NAME + MIDDLE NAME + GIVEN NAME
For example, “Hồ Chí Minh” (written in English as “Ho Chi Minh”) is a full Vietnamese name. “Hồ” is the family name or surname, “Chí” is the middle name, and “Minh” is the given name or first name.
A Vietnamese name is usually 3-word long but it could have 2, 4, or even more words. For example:
- Nguyễn Kim (2 words)
- Phan Văn Trường (3 words, popular)
- Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai (4 words)
- Lê Hoàng Hiếu Nghĩa Đệ Nhất Thương Tâm Nhân (9 words, aka the longest Vietnamese name so far).
How To Use Vietnamese Names?
Now that you know some of the most common names in Vietnam, you should learn how to address someone in different situations. It is always good to learn about this before engaging in conversations with foreigners.
A Vietnamese person will use their first name in casual conversations rather than their family name. However, when it comes to formal situations, such as a conference, a full name will be used and pronounced after a job title. For example:
- “Chào mừng Ngài Giám Đốc Điều Hành Nguyễn Văn A!”
(“Welcome the CEO Nguyen Van A!”)
So, if you talk to a Vietnamese friend, call him or her with the first name which is actually written at the last of a Vietnamese name!
The Most Common Vietnamese Given Names
Since first names (personal names) are usually used in the daily language in Vietnam, we will start first with some common Vietnamese given names and their meaning.
Follow the examples below:
What Are Some Vietnamese Female Names?
These are the most popular Vietnamese names for women or females in general:
- An – peace
- Anh – peace, safety
- Ánh (high tone) – light
- Bích /beek/ – jade, jewelry
- Châu /chou/ – pearls
- Chi /chee/- a tree branch
- Cúc /cook/- chrysanthemum
- Dương /dzuang/ – the ocean
- Dung /dzoong/ – generous
- Đào /down/ – pink or red cherry blossoms
- Hồng – roses
- Hà – river
- Hoa /hwa/- flowers
- Hằng /hung/ – the moon
- Hạnh – beautiful and moral
- Hiền /hian/ – gentle; quiet
- Huyền /hwian/- dark
- Huệ /hwe/ – lily
- Hường /huang/ – pink rose
- Kim – metal
- Lan – orchids
- Ly /lee/ – lily
- Linh – bell
- Lê – pear
- Liên /lian/ – lotus
- Mai /my/ – yellow cherry blossoms
- My /me/ – Nightingale
- Mỹ /me/ (high broken tone) – beauty
- Ngọc – jade
- Nguyệt /ngwiat/ – the moon
- Nga – the princess from the moon
- Nhung /nhoong/ – velvet
- Phương /fuang/ – destiny
- Quý /kwee/ (high tone) – precious
- Tâm – heart
- Thuỷ /twee/ – water
- Thanh – bright blue
- Thảo – respectful of parents
- Thi /tee/ – poem
- Thu /too/ – autumn, fall
- Trúc /trook/- bamboo
- Tú /too/ – stars
- Vân – cloud
- Xuân – spring
- Yến – Swifts
- Yên – peaceful
What Are The Most Popular Male Names In Vietnam?
The following are the most common Vietnamese names for males:
- An – peace
- Anh – peace, safety
- Bảo – protection
- Bình – peaceful
- Cường /kuang/- strength
- Chiến /chian/- fighter, warrior
- Chính – righteousness
- Đại /di/ (heavy tone) – great, big
- Danh /dzanh/- famous, prestigious
- Đỉnh – summit
- Đông – the East
- Đức – moral, good
- Dũng /dzoong/ – brave; heroic
- Dương /dzuang/ – the ocean
- Duy /dzee/ – moral, only one
- Gia /dzaa/ – family
- Hải /hi/ – the sea
- Hiếu /hiaw/- respectful
- Hoàng /hwang/ – royal
- Hùng /hoong/ – spirit of hero; brave
- Huy /hwee/ – glorious
- Lâm – full understanding; knowledge
- Lập – independent
- Long – dragon
- Minh – transparent, bright
- Nam – the south
- Nghĩa /ngia/ – forever
- Phong /fong/ – wind
- Phúc /fook/ – blessings; luck
- Phước /fuak/ – good luck
- Quân /kwan/ – soldier; warrior
- Quang /kwang/ – clear
- Quốc /kwuak/ – nation
- Quý /kwee/ – precious
- Sơn /sern/ – mountain
- Tài – prosperous; talented
- Tân – new
- Thái – many, multiple
- Thắng /tung/ – victorious
- Thành – finished
- Thịnh – prosperous
- Tiến – move forwards
- Toàn – complete; secure
- Trọng – respected
- Trung /troong/ – middle; central
- Việt – from Vietnam
- Vinh – glory
Which Are The Most Used Vietnamese Middle Names?
We have learned a lot of first names in Vietnamese. How about middle names in the Vietnamese language? As introduced earlier, Vietnamese is usually 3-word long, which means that it has a one-word middle name. However, sometimes you can find a Vietnamese that doesn’t have a middle name or have more than one word-long middle name.
The most common Vietnamese middle names are Thị /tee/ (heavy tone) for females and Văn for males.
Nowadays, Vietnamese people prefer to not use Thị or Văn to name their girls or boys, respectively. Instead, they use other different middle names to make a beautiful and meaningful Vietnamese name. For example, Khánh – a bell, Minh – transparent/bright, and Ngọc – jade.
First names or Last names can be used as middle names as well. For example, Đặng Lê Nguyên Vũ is a name that actually is a combination of four Vietnamese family names (Đặng, Lê, Nguyên, and Vũ).
Most Common Vietnamese Family Names
It is estimated that about 100 Vietnamese family names are commonly used. Among them, Nguyễn is the most common surname with about 40% of the population of Vietnam having this name. That’s why you should not call someone with their surname in Vietnam, such as Mr. Nguyen because many people will be confused if you are calling them.
There are about 14 family names accounting for 90% of the Vietnamese population.
- Nguyễn 阮 (43.5%)
- Trần 陳 (12.3%)
- Lê 黎 (10.6%)
- Phạm 范 (7.9%)
- Huỳnh-Hoàng 黃 (5.7%)
- Phan 潘 (5%)
- Vũ-Võ 武 (4.3%)
- Đặng 鄧(2.4%)
- Bùi 裴 (2.2%)
- Đỗ 杜 (1.7%)
- Hồ 胡 (1.4%)
- Ngô 吳 (1.4%)
- Dương 楊 (1%)
- Lý 李 (0.6%)
In Vietnamese culture, the family name of the father will be used to name his children. Sometimes, the parents will put their surnames in their children’s names, but the father’s surname is still considered the main family name of the children. For example, Nguyễn Lê Ngọc Hà has Nguyễn as the family name from the father’s side, and Lê as the family name from the mother’s side.
In addition, it is important to reiterate, that a Vietnamese woman still keeps her family name when she marries.
Do Vietnamese People Use Nicknames?
In Vietnam, nicknames are commonly used for boys and girls. Nicknames are usually cute names such as Mèo (a cat), Tít (small eyes), Heo (a pig in the Southern Vietnamese dialect), Tí (little, tiny), and Bô Bô (the sound when a baby starts to speak).
Vietnamese people also add an adjective after a first name to make a nickname. The adjective usually describes something about the name’s owner, but sometimes it is used just because the first consonant of the adjective matches the first consonant of the name.
For example, Trang trọc, Trang is a girl’s name, and trọc means not much hair. The girl whose name is Trang might not have had a lot of hair when she was a baby.
Here are some other nicknames that include an adjective: Cường béo (a chubby guy named Cường), Nga Ngố (the consonant Ng is used in both the name and the adjective).
In modern life, many people also use English words as a nickname for their kids, such as Tôm (Tom), Cupid, Min (mint), and Bin (Bill).
Do Vietnamese adults use their nicknames? Yes but only in informal cases and when you know them well.
Learn Vietnamese With Ling
We have learned many Vietnamese first names, family names, middle names, and nicknames. Which names do you like the most and why? Imagine if you will travel to Vietnam, would you like to get a Vietnamese name? And if so, what Vietnamese name do you want people to call you? Don’t forget to learn how to greet people in Vietnamese or learn more Vietnamese today with the Ling app.
Download the Ling app today at the Play Store or App Store and enjoy your Vietnamese lessons. You’ll not only find 200+ lessons for Vietnamese there, you’ll even enjoy short conversations. Practice speaking Vietnamese daily with the Ling app and you’ll never have a hard time being a master of Vietnamese!