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.

Glorious Slavic names

Slava is a common root in Slavic names, and means “glory, fame.” It appears fairly evenly among East, West, and South Slavic names. A few of these names are so popular, they also have equivalents in non-Slavic languages.

Some sources believe the name Gustave, with its many variants, also comes from the slava root. Though a possible etymology is “staff of the Geats,” from Old Norse gautr (Goth, Geat) and stafr (staff), the name Gautstafr isn’t well-documented in any evidence from that time and place. It may have truly come from Medieval Slavic name Gostislav (glorious guest).

As expected, the common nickname for both sexes is Slava or Sława.

Berislav(a) (Croatian): To gather glory, to take glory

Blahoslav(a) (Czech, Slovak): Pleasant glory

Bogoslav(a) (Croatian), Bohuslav(a) (Czech, Slovak, Ukrainian), Bogusław(a) (Polish): Glory of God

Bojislav(a) (Czech, Croatian): Battle glory

Boleslav(a) (Russian, Czech, Slovak, Bulgarian, Serbian), Bolesław(a) (Polish): Greater glory; more glory

Borislav(a) (Serbian, Russian, Bulgarian): Glorious battle

Branislav(a) (Serbian, Czech, Slovak, Macedonian, Slovenian, Croatian), Bronisław(a) (Polish), Bronislav(a) (Russian, Czech, Slovak), Bronislovas (Lithuanian): Protection and glory

Břetislav(a) (Czech), Bryachislav(a) (Russian), Bretislav(a) (Slovak, Slovenian): To cry glory

Budislav(a) (Czech, Serbian, Croatian): To wake up glory

Czesław(a) (Polish): Honour and glory

Desislav(a) (Bulgarian): Tenfold glory

Dobroslav(a) (Czech, Slovak, Serbian, Croatian), Dobrosław(a) (Polish): Good glory

Domaslav(a) (Medieval Russian): Home glory

Dragoslav(a) (Serbian, Slovenian, Croatian), Drahoslav(a) (Czech, Slovak): Precious glory

Drenislav(a) (Croatian): European cornel (a type of dogwood) glory

Fiebrosław(a) (Medieval Polish): February glory

Goroslav(a) (Croatian): Mountain glory

Hranislav(a) (Serbian, Macedonian, Croatian): To protect glory; to defend glory

Hrvoslav(a) (Croatian): Croatian glory

Jugoslav(a) (Serbian, Macedonian, Croatian): Southern glory

Krumislav(a) (Macedonian): Possibly “rock glory”

Krunoslav(a) (Croatian): Glorious crown

Květoslav(a) (Czech), Kvetoslav(a) (Slovak), Cvjetislav(a) (Croatian): Flower of glory

Lechosław(a) (Polish): Glory of Lech (legendary founder of Poland)

Levoslav(a) (Slovak): Glorious lion

Ľuboslav(a) (Slovak): Glorious love

Mieczysław(a) (Polish), Mechislav(a) (Russian): Sword of glory

Miloslav(a) (Czech, Slovak), Miłosław(a) (Polish): Gracious glory; dear glory

Miroslav(a) (Russian, Serbian, Czech, Slovak, Bulgarian, Slovenian, Macedonian, Croatian), Mirosław(a) (Polish), Myroslav(a) (Ukrainian): Peaceful glory; world glory

Mislav(a) (Croatian): “My glory” or “thought of glory”

Mstislav(a) (Russian, Czech), Mścisław(a) (Polish): Vengeance and glory

Nadislav(a) (Serbian, Croatian): Hope and glory

Ninoslav(a) (Serbian, Croatian): Now glory

Novislav(a) (Bulgarian, Bosnian, Serbian, Croatian): New glory

Pomnislav(a) (Medieval Slavic): To think of glory

Pravoslav(a) (Czech, Slovak): Justice and glory

Prvoslav(a) (Serbian): First glory

Radoslav(a) (Serbian, Czech, Slovak, Macedonian, Bulgarian, Croatian), Radosław(a) (Polish): Happy glory

Ratislav(a) (Serbian): Glorious war

Rostislav(a) (Russian, Czech), Rastislav(a) (Slovak): Growth of glory

Slavěna (Czech): Glory

Slaveya (Bulgarian): Glory

Slavogost (Medieval Slavic): Glorious guest

Slavoj (Slovenian, Czech, Slovak): Soldier of glory

Slavomir(a) (Serbian, Croatian), Slavomír(a) (Czech, Slovak), Sławomir(a) (Polish), Sławòmir(a) (Kashubian): Great glory; famous glory; glorious peace; glorious world

Sobiesław(a) (Polish), Soběslav(a) (Czech): Glory for oneself

Stanislav(a) (Russian, Ukrainian, Czech, Slovak, Bulgarian, Slovenian, Serbian, Croatian), Stanisław(a) (Polish), Stanislaǔ (Belarusian), Staņislavs (Latvian), Stanislovas (Lithuanian, male), Stanislova (Lithuanian, female): To stand in glory; to become glory

Svyatoslav(a) (Russian, Ukrainian), Svetoslav(a) (Bulgarian), Svatoslav(a) (Czech, Slovak), Świętosław(a) (Polish): Holy glory, blessed glory

Tomislav(a) (Serbian, Slovenian, Croatian): Glorious torture

Velislav(a) (Bulgarian): Great glory

Věroslav(a) (Czech), Vieroslav(a) (Slovak): Faith and glory

Víťazoslav(a) (Slovak): Glorious winner; glorious champion; glorious conqueror

Vítězslav(a) (Czech): Master of glory; lord of glory

Vjekoslav(a) (Croatian): Age of glory

Vladislav(a) (Russian, Bulgarian, Slovenian, Czech, Slovak, Serbian, Croatian), Ladislav(a) (Czech, Slovak, Slovenian, Croatian), Vladyslav(a) (Ukrainian), Władysław(a) (Polish), Włodzisław(a) (Polish), Ladislao (Italian), László (Hungarian): To rule in glory

Vlastislav(a) (Czech, Slovak, Serbian): To rule in glory

Vl’koslav(a) (Russian): Great glory

Voyslav(a) (Russian): Glorious war

Vratislav(a) (Czech, Slovak), Warcisław(a) (Polish): To return in glory

Vyacheslav(a) (Russian, Ukrainian), Václav(a) (Czech, Slovak), Vyachaslaǔ (Belarusian), Ventseslav(a) (Bulgarian), Višeslav(a) (Serbian, Croatian), Vjenceslav(a) (Croatian), Vecéslav(a) (Croatian), Věnceslav(a) (Czech), Więcesław(a) (Polish), Wacław(a) (Polish), Vencel (Hungarian), Veaceslav (Romanian), Wenzel (German), Wenzeslaus (German), Venceslás (Spanish): More glory

Witoslav(a) (Medieval Czech): To rule in glory

Yanislav(a) (Bulgarian), Janislav(a) (Slovenian, Croatian): John’s glory

Yaroslav(a) (Russian, Ukrainian), Jaroslav(a) (Czech, Slovak), Jaroslavas (Lithuanian), Jarosław(a) (Polish): Fierce and glorious

Zbysław(a) (Polish): To dispel glory

Zdislav(a) (Czech), Zdzisław(a) (Polish), Zdeslav(a) (Croatian): To build glory

Zmagoslav(a) (Slovenian): Victory and glory

The Ls of Estonian names

Male:

Leemet means “broth.”

Leino, of unknown etymology, comes from the pseudonym of Eino Leino (né Armas Einar Leopold Lönnbohm), a Finnish poet and journalist.

Lembit means “beloved.” Lembitu was the name of a heroic king who bravely fought against the conquest of his proud homeland. He was sadly killed in battle in September 1217.

Leonti is adopted from the Russian name Leontiy (lion).

Loit may mean “to cast a spell.”

Lukjan is adopted from the Russian name Lukyan (i.e., Lucian), which means “light.” This also happens to be the Estonian word for “reader.”

Female:

Lagle means “goose.”

Laine, or Laina, means “wave.”

Lauli means “song, melody.”

Leegi means “flame.”

Leelo means “folk song.”

Lehte, or Lehti, means “leaf.” The male form is Leho.

Leida means “to discover, to find.” My character Katrin changes her middle name to this, replacing Kaarelovna, the patronymic she’s carried around her entire life. Real Estonians don’t have patronymics, and there’s no love lost between her and her self-hating father.

Leija means “kite.”

Liivika means “sand.”

Luige means “cygnet.”

Lumme means “waterlily.”

Luule means “poetry.” This is the name of my character Vahur Lindmaa’s first wife, who was killed in the final bombing of Tallinn, 24 September 1944, when she was seven months pregnant with her second child. Meri was delivered in a posthumous C-section.

Bright names

Though the vast majority of such names have sharply plummeted in popularity, there’s a large quantity of Germanic-origin names formed from the root beraht (bright). Robert is far and away the best-known, with other well-known (albeit not nearly as popular) names including Albert, Gilbert, Herbert, and Hubert. Let’s take a look at this category of names.

Albert (English, French, Dutch, German, Scandinavian, Catalan, Romanian, Hungarian, Icelandic, Slavic), Albèrt (Jèrriais), Alberto (Spanish, Italian, Portuguese), Alberte (Galician), Adalbert (German, Hungarian), Adalberto (Spanish, Italian, Portuguese), Albaer (Limburgish), Alpertti (Finnish), Aubert (French), Adelbert (German, Dutch), Albertas (Lithuanian), Albrecht (German), Ailbeart (Scottish), Alberts (Latvian), Albertu (Corsican), Alberzh (Breton), Alberta (English, Spanish, Italian, Catalan, Hungarian, Polish, Galician, Kashubian, Portuguese), Albertyna (Polish), Albertina (Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Kashubian, Galician), Alberte (French), Albertine (French): Noble and bright.

Bertha (English, German), Berta (Slavic, Hungarian, German, Spanish, Catalan, Italian), Berthe (French): Bright. This was my paternal grandma’s name, and she knew it was too unfashionable to merit a namesake. However, I’d love to use her middle name Violet as a middle name for a potential daughter.

Berthold, Bertold (German), Bertoldo (Italian), Bertil (Scandinavian): Bright ruler.

Bertram (English, German), Bertrand (English, French), Bertrando (Italian): Bright raven. I love this name!

Egbert (English, Dutch), Eckbert (German): Bright edge. Not a fan of this name!

Fulbert (French, German): Bright people.

Gaubert (French), Gualberto (Portuguese, Italian): Bright rule.

Gilbert (English, French, Dutch, German), Gilberto (Spanish, Portuguese, Italian), Gisbert (German), Gijsbert (Dutch): Bright pledge.

Herbert (English, French, Dutch, German, Swedish), Herberto (Spanish, Portuguese), Heribert (German): Bright army.

Hilbert, Hildebert (German): Bright battle.

Hubert (English, Dutch, German, French, Polish), Uberto (Italian), Hoebaer (Limburgish): Bright mind; bright heart.

Humbert (English, German, French), Umberto (Italian), Humberto (Portuguese, Spanish): Bright warrior.

Kunibert (German): Bright family.

Lambert (English, German, Dutch, French), Lammert (Dutch), Lambaer (Limburgish), Lamberto (Italian): Bright land.

Norbert (English, German, Dutch, French, Hungarian, Polish, Slovak), Norberto (Italian, Portuguese, Spanish), Norbaer (Limburgish): Bright north.

Osbert (English): Bright and good.

Philibert, Philbert (French), Filibert (German), Filiberto (Italian), Filbert (East African): Much brightness.

Rambert (German): Bright raven.

Siegbert (German): Bright victory.

Wilbert (Dutch): Bright will.

Wybert (Middle English): Bright battle.

Slavic names of love

Though Slavic names formed from the root lyuby, “love,” aren’t as common as names formed from the roots milu (dear, gracious), miru (world, peace), or slava (glory), there are more than just a few of them. Though there are exceptions, like the almost exclusively Polish names formed from the root gnyevu/gnev (anger), many Slavic names have meanings invoking happy, beautiful concepts. This stands in stark contrast to how many names of Germanic and Old Norse origin invoke war and fighting.

These names include:

Female:

Liběna is Czech. The first root, libý, means “pleasant.”

Libuše is also Czech, and formed from the same roots. This was the name of the legendary founder of Prague.

Ljuba means “love” in Serbian, Macedonian, Slovenian, Czech, and Croatian.

Ljubina is Serbian.

Ljubomira means “love of peace/the world” in Serbian and Croatian. Other forms include Ľubomíra (Slovak), Lubomíra (Czech), and Lyubomira (Bulgarian)

Lubina is Sorbian.

Lubosława means “love of glory” in Polish.

Lyuboǔ is Belarusian.

Lyubava is Russian, Belarusian, and Ukrainian.

Lyubov is Russian, Bulgarian, and Ukrainian. This is the name of the female protagonist of my Russian historical novels. Though most of the main characters move to America halfway through the first book, I call them my Russian novels because that’s where most of my very large ensemble cast originated. Lyuba’s name was originally Amy, and I obviously needed to change it to a real, equivalent Russian name.

Male:

Bogoljub means “love of God” in Serbian and Croatian.

Bratoljub means “love of brother” in Serbian and Croatian.

Dragoljub means “precious love” in Serbian, Slovenian, and Croatian. This is also their name for the nasturtium flower.

Lubomír is Czech, and means “love of peace/the world.” Other forms include Ľubomír (Slovak), Ljubomir (Serbian, Macedonian, Croatian), Lyubomir (Bulgarian), Lubomierz (Polish), and Lyubomyr (Ukrainian).

Ľubomír means “to think of love” or “thoughts of love” in Polish.

Ľuboslav is a newer Slovak name meaning “love of glory.” The Polish form is Lubosław, and the Bulgarian and Russian form is Lyuboslav.

Lyuben is Bulgarian.

Lyublen means “Love Lenin!” in Russian. This is one of the invented names which were rather popular in the early decades of the USSR.

Slavoljub means “love of glory” or “glory of love” in Serbian and Croatian.

Srboljub means “to love a Serb” in Serbian, and seems like a rather rare name.

Veroljub means “lover of faith” in Serbian.

Živoljub means “living/vivacious love” in Serbian.