The Bs of Ukrainian names

Because I couldn’t find a whole lot of Ukrainian names starting with B, which seems to be a less common letter for Slavic names in general, all of today’s names overlap with other languages.

Male names:

Bohdan is the Ukrainian, Czech, and Slovak form of Bogdan (given by God). This was the name of one of Ukraine’s great national heroes, Cossack leader Bohdan Khmelnytskyy, though I can’t see him as heroic on account of his role in many pogroms.

Bohuslav is the Ukrainian, Slovak, and Czech form of the Polish name Bogusław (glory of God, God’s glory).

Borys is the Ukrainian and Polish form of Boris, which comes from a Bulgar Turkic name also written as Bogoris. It possibly means “wolf,” “snow leopard,” or “short.”

Female names:

Bohdana is the female form of Bohdan.

Bohuslava is the female form of Bohuslav.


The Bs of Medieval Tuscan and Italian names

Male names:

Belfante (I) means “fair child.”

Benasuto (T). This name, which I can’t find the etymology of, was also Venetian.

Berlinghiero (T) is a form of Ancient Germanic name Berengar, from roots bern (bear) and ger (spear).

Bindo (T, I) was particularly popular in Florence (Firenze). The etymology is unknown.

Blasio (T) is a form of Blaise, ultimately from Latin name Blasius and in turn Latin word blaesus (lisping). This was also a Venetian name. The feminine form is Blasia.

Bonanno (I) means “good year.”

Brancaleone (I) either means “lion’s paw,” from roots branca (paw, claw) and leone (lion), or “he who captures a lion,” from roots brancare (to seize, to grasp) and leone.

Buonamico (I) means “good friend.”

Buonfiglio (I) means “good child.”

Female names:

Baccia (T) is the feminine form of Baccio, a diminutive of names starting with B and ending in -accio/-accia.

Bellaflore (I) means “beautiful flower.”

Bellavita (I) means “beautiful life.”

Benetta (T) is the feminine form of Benetto, a diminutive of Benedetto (blessed). This was also a Venetian name.

Benevenuto (T) is the feminine form of Benevenuto.

Bonafemina (I) means “good woman.”

Bonizella (T, I)

Brisca (T)

Brunisenda (I) derives from Brunissenda, the Medieval French form of an Ancient Germanic name with the roots brun (“brown” or “protection, armour”) and swinth (strong).

The many forms of Sebastian

Italian explorer Sebastiano Caboto (ca. 1474–ca. December 1557), engraved 1824 by Samuel Rawle

Sebastian is an English, German, Scandinavian, Romanian, Polish, and Finnish name descended from the Latin Sebastianus (from Sebastia). A town in Asia Minor, Sebastia (now Sivas, Turkey) took its name from the Greek word sebastos (venerable). In turn, sebastos derives from sebas (dread, awe, reverence), and sebas comes from the verb sebomai (to feel awe, to be ashamed, to feel scruples).

As a title, Sebastos became the Greek form of Augustus, the Romans’ name for their emperors.

The name Sebastian, in all its many forms, became very popular in Medieval Europe on account of Saint Sebastian, a third century martyr. The name was particularly popular in France and Spain.

In recent years, Sebastian has become quite popular again. It’s been in the U.S. Top 100 since 2000, when it entered at #81, and it was #18, its highest rank to date, in 2018 and 2019. The name is also #22 in Austria, #34 in England and Wales, #34 in Norway, #51 in Poland, #70 in New Zealand, and #79 in Italy.

The alternate form Sebastián is Spanish and Czech, and Sebastían is Icelandic.

French military engineer Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban (1633–1707), painted 1834 by Charles-Philippe Larivière

Other forms of the name include:

1. Sebastiano is Italian.

2. Sebastião is Portuguese.

3. Sébastien is French.

4. Sebastiaan is Dutch.

5. Sebestyén is Hungarian.

6. Szebasztián is an alternate Hungarian form.

7. Sebastià is Catalan.

8. Sebastianu is Corsican and Sicilian.

9. Sebastión is Kashubian.

10. Sebastijonas is Lithuanian.

Portuguese politican and diplomat Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, 1st Marquis of Pombal (1699–1782)

11. Sebastijan is Slovenian and Croatian.

12. Sebastiaen is an older Dutch form.

13. Sebustianu is Sardinian.

14. Sevastianos is modern Greek.

15. Sibistianu is Sicilian.

16. Sipastiât is Greenlandic.

17. Sevastyan is Russian.

18. Subustianu is Sardinian.

19. Savas’jan is Veps, a Finnic language spoken in Russia.

20. Savaş is Chuvash, a Turkic language spoken in Russia.

Flemish artist Sebastiaen Vrancx (1573–1647)

21. Sebastiani is Swahili.

22. Siöeba is Vilamovian, an endangered Germanic language spoken by about twenty people in Poland.

23. Sivaslı is Turkish.

24. Bościj is Sorbian.

25. Bas’cian is Istriot, an endangered Romance language spoken in Croatia.

26. Baścik is Silesian.

27. Bastjan is Maltese.

Female forms:

1. Sebastiana is Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Galician, Catalan, Polish, Kashubian, and Slovenian.

2. Sébastienne is French. The alternate form Sebastiënne is Dutch (and quite rare).

3. Sebastiane is a rare Brazilian–Portuguese, German, and English form.

4. Sevastiana is modern Greek, Russian, Bulgarian, and Romanian.

5. Sibastjana is Albanian.

6. Sebastianna is a rare English and Italian form.

7. Austitza is a Basque name which many believe to be their form of Sebastiana.

All about Bogdan and Bogdana

Romanian writer, philologist, historian, and politician Bogdan Petriceicu Hașdeu (1838–1907)

Bogdan is a Russian, Bulgarian, Slovenian, Serbian, Polish, Macedonian, Romanian, and Croatian name meaning “given by God.” It derives from Slavic roots Bogu (God) and dan (given), and is believed to be an early Slavic translation of the Greek name Theodoros.

As one of very few Slavic names with the root dan, some scholars believe it was adopted from the Scythians (a people of probable Iranian origin), since the Scythian name Bagadata has the same meaning.

Other forms of this name include:

1. Bagdan is Belarusian.

2. Bohdan is Ukrainian, Slovak, and Czech, as well as a Polish variation. The letter G morphed into H in some Slavic languages, but it can go either way in Polish.

3. Bogdanas is Lithuanian.

4. Bogdanǔ is Medieval Russian.

5. Bògdón is Kashubian.

6. Pukhtǎn is Chuvash.

7. Božidar is a Serbian, Slovenian, Sorbian, and Croatian variation.

8. Bozhidar is Bulgarian.

9. Bożydar is Polish.

Female forms:

1. Bogdana is Russian, Bulgarian, Slovenian, Serbian, Romanian, Polish, and Croatian. I have a Russian–American character by this name. Her nickname is Bogusya. This is also the name of my character Cinnimin’s beloved prababcia (great-grandma), who goes by Bogda.

Variations include Bogdána (Hungarian) and Bògdana (Kashubian).

2. Bagdana is Belarusian.

3. Bohdana is Ukrainian, Czech, and Slovak.

4. Bogna is Polish, Sorbian, and Romanian. I really don’t like the look or sound of this name!

5. Božidarka is Serbian

6. Bozhidara is Bulgarian.

Fighting Slavic names

While not seen nearly as frequently as roots like miru (world, peace) and slava (glory), there are nevertheless a number of Slavic names with the root borti (to fight). Though contrary to what it might look like, the name Boris has zero etymological connection. It’s not even Slavic in origin, but Turkic.

The root boji, boj also means “fight; battle,” but isn’t seen nearly that often in names. Like the almost exclusively Polish group of names with the root gniew, gnyevu (anger), I suspect these originated in an era when the Slavs were warlike tribes who took pride in their battle prowess.

These names include:

Blizbor (Polish; archaic): To fight nearby.

Bojislav(a) (Czech, Serbian, Croatian): Glorious battle.

Bojomir(a) (Polish): Battle peace; fighting for peace.

Borimir(a) (Bulgarian, Serbian, Croatian): Battle peace.

Boriša (Vlach, unisex): Fighter.

Borisav (Vlach): Person who fights.

Borislav(a) (Russian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Slovenian, Croatian): Battle glory.

Borivoj (Serbian, Croatian), Bořivoj (Czech), Borivoje (Serbian): Battle soldier.

Borjan (Macedonian, Serbian, Croatian): Battle; fight.

Borko (Macedonian, Serbian, Croatian): Battle; fight.

Borna (Croatian, unisex): Battle; fight.

Bożebor (Medieval Polish): To fight for God.

Borzygniew (Polish): To fight in anger.

Chociebor (Polish): To want to fight.

Czcibor (Polish), Cibor (Czech), Ctibor (Polish; rare): Battle honour.

Czȩstobor (Polish): To fight often.

Dalibor (Serbian, Macedonian, Slovenian, Czech, Slovak, Croatian), Dalebor (Polish), Daliborka (Serbian, Slovenian, Croatian): To fight far away. I have two characters named Dalibor, one Serbian and one Macedonian.

Domabor (Polish): Battle in the house.

Lutobor (Polish): Fierce battle.

Miłobor (Polish): Gracious battle.

Mścibor (Polish): Revenge battle.

Myślibor (Polish): To think of a battle; thought of a battle.

Pomścibor (Polish): To avenge battle; to wreak battle.

Preben (Danish, Norwegian): First battle; descended from Wendish Pridbor, which in turn gave rise to Medieval Scandinavian name Pridbjørn.

Przedbor (Polish): Before battle; in front of a battle.

Ratibor (Polish): To battle in a war.

Samboja (Polish, female): To battle alone.

Sambor (Polish; archaic): To fight alone; alone in battle.

Sobiebor (Polish): To usurp battle. I personally would refrain from using this in any language, due to how it’s only one letter away from the name of the infamous camp Sóbibor!

Strogobor (Polish): Harsh battle; strict battle; severe battle.

Sulibor (Polish): Battle promise; mightier battle. I really like this name.

Svetibor (Serbian; rare): Holy battle; world battle.

Velibor (Serbian, Croatian): Great battle. I have a Russian–American character by this name, the runt of triplets. His parents originally planned to name another boy Volimir, but when he came out detached from his cord, not breathing, and only one pound, seven ounces, his father felt Velibor had a better meaning for that tiny fighter.

Wszebor(a) (Polish): Always fighting. I have a secondary character named Wszebora, who takes perverse pride in how the meaning of her name perfectly fits her cruel nature.

Żelibor (Polish): To want battle.

Zlatibor (Serbian, Croatian): Golden battle.

Żyborka (Polish): Battle prey.