100+ Popular Vietnamese Names And Nicknames

January 10, 2021

When talking or writing an email to a Vietnamese person, it is important to pronounce and spell his or her name correctly because no one likes their name to be misspelled. That is why learning some common Vietnamese names is worth your time.

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 the Vietnamese culture. Let's get started! 

 

The Structure Of Vietnamese Names

Compared to most Western names such as English names or Serbian names, Vietnamese names have an opposite order of given name, middle name, and family name. A Vietnamese name has three parts put 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).

Vietnamese people use their first name in daily conversation, not their family name. When it comes to formal situations, such as a conference, a full name will be used and pronounced after a job title. For instance:

"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 🙂

 

Common Vietnamese Given Names

Because 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. The names are listed in two separate sections below but kindly note that some names can be used for both genders such as "Minh", "Ninh" and "Quý".

Vietnamese Names For Females (Women, girls, etc.)

Below are some 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

 

Vietnamese Names For Males (Men, boys, etc.)

Vietnamese names for males are listed below:

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

 

Popular Vietnamese Middle Names

We have learned a lot of first names in Vietnamese. How about middle names in the Vietnamese language? As introduced earlier, a 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, "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 has 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, according to Wikipedia.org

Vietnamese Names

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 dad's and "Lê" as the family name from mom's.

A Vietnamese woman still keeps her family name when she marries.

 

Do Vietnamese 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 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, "trọc" means not much hair. The girl whose name is Trang might not have 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 an English word 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.

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 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 Ling App.

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