Zan, Zendegi, Azadi! زن ز​ن​د​گ​ی آ​ز​ا​د​ی! Women, life, freedom!

For the third year, my A to Z themes on both of my blogs are paired. My main blog will be devoted to Iranian history and culture, while my names blog will be all about Persian names. As most people can probably guess, this was inspired by the ongoing uprisings in Iran.

After over forty years of living under a brutal theocracy repressing basic human rights and making women second-class citizens, the Iranian people are standing up en masse and fighting to return to the modern, free society they enjoyed until 1979, and women are going out in public unveiled. Many people have been beaten, arrested, tortured, and murdered by the thuggish mullahs, but their bravery continues despite everything.

Freedom is never free, and change never happened because people just obediently sat down and unquestioningly accepted the status quo.

You’ll learn about names including:


As I always do, I’ll feature both male and female names, and try to have the same number of both in each post. Also, in the interest of fairness, I’ll alternate which sex is featured first. E.g., starting with female names and then listing male names, and then in the next day’s post, beginning with male names and then listing female names. I only diverge from this pattern when I genuinely am unable to locate names for a certain sex.

Many Persian names are also unisex, so I’ll feature that third category as many days as possible.

Because Persian doesn’t have all the same letters as the Roman alphabet, W and X will be wildcard days, with names from other languages. Behind the Name lists a few X names in the submitted section (e.g., Xorshid instead of Khorshid), but I’m excluding them because they don’t seem like common or mainstream transliterations.

Also because it’s different from the Roman alphabet, some names will have multiple transliterations. It all depends on the style you learnt or find most aesthetically pleasing.

And as always, I welcome any respectful corrections and additions from readers. Just so long as they’re not rude and trollish like that one persistently chutzpahdik commenter I finally had to blacklist some years back. Every single comment she ever made was rude, telling me I shouldn’t dislike a certain name or hold a certain opinion. The entire purpose of a blog is to express one’s own opinions!

If I get anything wrong, please understand it wasn’t deliberate or done out of ignorance. I recently had a rude comment on my pronunciation guide from someone who acted like 100% of my information about Latvian letters was ignorant and wrong, and talking to me like I’m some hack who just spent five minutes Googling. I get all of my information from serious, reputable sources which I have no reason to doubt.

If you’d like to help the Iranian people in their brave struggle, I urge you to do at least a few of the things discussed here. Call your representatives, follow Iranian activists online, speak out for the Iranian people, tell the stories of those unjustly arrested and killed, donate to organisations like the Center for Human Rights in Iran and the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center, attend solidarity protests.

May this reign of terror be brought to an end speedily within our days.

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