The Ses of Slavic names


Sanja means “dream” in Serbian and Croatian.

Senka means “shadow” in Serbian and Croatian. The male form is Senko.

Simonida is the Serbian feminine form of the Greek name Simonides (son of the flat-nosed one). I have a character by this name. This was also the name of King Milutin’s fourth wife. At age five, she was married to the almost-50-year-old King Milutin, who had adult kids. Some sources say Milutin consummated the marriage (i.e., raped Simonida) before she was an adult, causing permanent uterine damage and infertility. After her husband’s death, she realised her longtime dream of becoming a nun.

Sirma means “golden thread” or “silver thread” in Bulgarian.

Snezhana (Russian, Bulgarian, Macedonian), Snyazhana (Belarusian), Snežana (Serbian), Snježana (Serbian, Croatian), Snizhana (Ukrainian) means “snowy.”

Stoyanka (Bulgarian), Stoja (Croatian) means “to stay, to stand.” The male forms are Stoyan (Bulgarian) and Stojan (Macedonian, Serbian, Slovenian, Croatian).


Sambor means “to fight alone” or “alone in battle” in Polish.

Savva (Russian), Sava (Bulgarian, Serbian) derives from the Greek name Sabas, and ultimately from the Hebrew word sava (old man). Serbia’s patron saint is named Sava. Many Serbian churches bear his name.

Sieciech roughly means “he who enjoys the universe” in Polish.

Spartak is the Russian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Armenian, Georgian, and Albanian form of the Latin name Spatacus (from Sparta).

Sulirad means “better care” or “to promise care” in Polish.

Svyatopolk is a rare Russian name meaning “blessed people.” This was the name of two grand princes of Kyivan Rus, part of the Ryurikovich Dynasty.


The Rs of Slavic names


Radivoj means “happy/willing soldier” in Serbian and Croatian.

Radovan is a Montenegrin, Serbian, Czech, Slovak, and Croatian name which may roughly translate as “one who brings joy.” The Serbian and Slovenian feminine form is Radana.

Radúz is a rare Czech name derived from the word rád (happy, glad). It was invented by writer Julius Zeyer for his 1898 play Radúz and Mahulena.

Rajko means “paradise” in Croatian.

Razvigor is a vernacular Bulgarian and Macedonian word for a warm wind.

Rumen means “red-cheeked, ruddy” in Bulgarian and Macedonian. The Bulgarian feminine form is Rumyana.


Radojka means “willing, happy” in Serbian and Croatian. The male form is Radojko.

Radosveta roughly means “happy light” in Bulgarian.

Ralitsa is the Bulgarian word for larkspur, and the popular folk name for the Orion constellation. This name became popular because of Pencho Slaveykov’s 1903 poem by the same name.

Roksolana means “Ruthenian” in Russian and Ukrainian.

Rusalka is a water nymph in Slavic mythology. This is also the name of a Dvořák opera. The Sorbian form is Ruzalka.

Ruzha means “hollyhock” in Bulgarian and Macedonian. Hollyhock isn’t to be confused with holly berries.

The Qs of (non-native) Slavic names


Quieta is a rare Italian, Romanian, German, English, and Latin name which I could see very unusual Czech or Slovak parents choosing. It derives from the Latin word quietus (quiet). This was the name of a saint.


Quentin is a French and English name which is also, rarely, used in Czech and Slovak. The nicknames include Quentinek and Tino. It derives from the Latin name Quintinus, and ultimately Quintus (fifth). Quintus was much more popular than any other Latin birth order name.

The Ps of Slavic names


Parvan means “first” in Bulgarian.

Pedrag is a Serbian and Croatian name formed by the element dragu (precious) and a superlative prefix.

Plamen means “flame” in Serbian and Bulgarian. I have a Serbian character by this name, who survived WWII with the partisans in the forest with his younger brother and oldest sister’s boyfriend (later husband). Feminine forms are Plamena and Plamenka.

Pravdan means “justice” in Serbian and Croatian. This name was traditionally given in the hopes of the boy being just throughout his life.

Prawomysł roughly means “righteous thought” in Polish, from roots prawy (right, righteous, upright) and myśl (thought).

Přemysl (Czech) and Przemysł (Polish) derive from an Old Slavic name meaning “stratagem, trick,” derived from roots pre (over) and mysli (idea, thought). This was the name of the co-founder of the Czech Přemyslid Dynasty, who ruled from the ninth to fourteenth centuries. The Czech diminutive is Přemek, and Polish diminutives include Przemek, Przemo, and Przemko.


Pemba is the Bosnian form of the Turkish name Pembe, which means “pink.”

Persida is the Serbian, Slovenian, Romanian, and Croatian form of the Greek name Persis (Persian woman). I have a character by this name, a Serbian surgeon who survived WWII in the forest with the partisans, while her Croatian husband was in Jasenovac and their two children were hidden by a Bosnian Muslim family.

Persida Nenadović (1813–73) was Princess Consort of Serbia from 1842–58, as wife of Prince Aleksandar Karađorđević. Like my fictional Dr. Persida Kolarov, Princess Persida also had a daughter named Kleopatra.

Perunika is the name for the iris flower in the South Slavic languages (Serbian, Macedonian, Bulgarian, Croatian), though it’s rare.

Platonida is a Russian feminine form of Plato, which ultimately comes from the Greek name Platon (which is also the male Russian form). I have two characters with this name, who go by Platosha. I discovered the name in Turgenev’s short story “Klara Milich,” his swan song.

Plava means “blue” in Serbian, though is more typically used to refer to a blonde. The word plav used to mean “bright, shining,” which blonde hair was considered. Only later did it come to mean “blue.”

Pomněnka is a rare Czech name derived from the Old Czech word pomníti (memorable). This is also the Czech word for the forget-me-not flower.

The Os of Slavic names


Odarka is a Belarusian and Ukrainian alternate form of Darya, a feminine form of Darius, ultimately the Persian name Dārayavahush (to possess good). It also coincides with the Slavic word dar (gift).

Okeana is a rare Russian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, and Kyrgyz form of Ocean. The male form is Okean.

Oldřiška is the Czech form of Ulrika, which derives from the Ancient Germanic name Oldaric (heritage and power). The male form is Oldřich.

Olimpiada is a rare Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, and Georgian form of Olympias (Alexander the Great’s mother). It obviously derives from Olympos, whose etymology is unknown. An elaborated form is Olimpiodora. The male form is Olimpiodor (gift of Olympus), which is also Serbian and Croatian.

Ondyna is a rare Polish form of the invented Latin name Undine (wave).

Osvita means “dawn” in Serbian.


Obrad is a Serbian name possibly derived from the verb obradovati (to make happy).

Ognyan (Bulgarian), Ognjen (Serbian, Croatian), Ognen (Macedonian), and Ognjan (Serbian, Croatian) means “fiery.” The Bulgarian feminine form is Ognyana, Ognena is Macedonian, and Ognjenka is Croatian.

Ostap is the Ukrainian form of the Greek name Eustathios (well-built, stable, to stand up well, to set up well).

Ostrogniew means “sharp anger” in Polish.

Otakar, Otokar is the Czech form of the Ancient Germanic name Odovacar, which derives from Audovacar (wealthy and vigilant).

Ozren is a Serbian and Croatian name derived from the passive form of the older verb ozreti se (to glance, to look) and the modern Serbian verb ozariti (to make radiant). There are two mountains by this name in Serbia, and one in Bosnia. The feminine forms are Ozrenka and Ozara.