A to Z reflections 2023

This was my tenth year doing the A to Z Challenge with this blog, and my twelfth with two blogs. For the sixth year in a row, I had a fairly simple theme instead of a research-heavy one like I used to, and I only began researching, writing, and editing my posts in March. Not only that, I waited until the second half of March to begin. However, this year’s theme was too important and timely for me to feel disappointed; on the contrary, doing anything other than Persian names would’ve felt wrong.

One of the gifts for winning NaNo 2022 was a free title setup from IngramSpark, and though I knew I had no chance of coming anywhere close to finishing my radical rewrite of my WIP by 15 March, I just had to see how much I could accomplish by the deadline.

In years prior, I put my posts together many months in advance, sometimes as early as July and August. My initial plan was to research, write, and edit my posts in December 2022, due to the promised threat of the classic WordPress editor being retired on the last day of that year. However, to everyone’s great relief, the classic editor will be retained through at least 2024. Thus, I was able to push off my posts for a few more months.

Someday I do hope to resume my former habit of putting my posts together many months in advance, and returning to more research-heavy themes on my names blog. There’s just such a theme I’ve been wanting to do here since 2017, and I’ve not forgotten about it. Until such time, it’ll remain a secret.

As always, I featured both female and male names on each day, except when I could find zero Persian names for one of those categories, and alternated which sex each post started with. I also featured many unisex names, which are common in Persian. Though I used to feature six each when I did names from a particular language or era, I’ve now abandoned that habit. If I find more than six great, interesting, or noteworthy names, why not include them all? And there are also some days where I unfortunately just couldn’t find more than a few, or could only find one.

Since Persian doesn’t have a W or X, those had to be wildcard days. Though Dari Persian, spoken in Afghanistan, does have a W, there are no names starting with that letter. In the interests of staying as close to my theme as possible, I chose names from Arabic and Azeri. The cultural osmosis between those peoples goes back over a thousand years.

I initially hoped to feature Persian-specific names only, but that soon proved very difficult to adhere to. Because of so much cultural osmosis, primarily via the Islamic conquest, many Persian names are shared in common with Arabic. Oftentimes, the thing that makes a name of Arabic origin specifically Persian is the spelling. E.g., W becomes V, and Q becomes GH or K.

Post recap:

The As of Persian names
The Bs of Persian names
The Cs of Persian names
The Ds of Persian names
The Es of Persian names
The Fs of Persian names
The Gs of Persian names
The Hs of Persian names
The Is of Persian names
The Js of Persian names
The Ks of Persian names
The Ls of Persian names
The Ms of Persian names
The Ns of Persian names
The Os of Persian names
The Ps of Persian names
The Qs of Persian names
The Rs of Persian names
The Ses of Persian names
The Ts of Persian names
The Us of Persian names
The Vs of Persian names
The Ws of Arabic names
The Xes of Azeri names
The Ys of Persian names
The Zs of Persian names


The Zs of Persian names

Female names:

Zabana means “flame” (from a candle).

Zahra means “bright, shining, brilliant” in Arabic.

Zakieh is the Persian form of the Arabic name Zakiyya, which means “pure.”

Zana means “woman.”

Zanera means “wise, intelligent, sensible.”

Zarnish means “flower.”

Zarsa means “like gold.”

Zeinab/Zeynab is the Persian form of the Arabic name Zaynab, which is of uncertain etymology. It may mean “beauty,” from the word zayn, or derive from the name of a fragrant, flowering tree. This name also might derive from the Greek name Zenobia (life of Zeus).

Zhaleh/Zhala/Zheela means “dew,” “hail,” or “hoarfrost.”

Ziba means “beautiful.”

Zinat means “ornament.”

Zohreh means Venus (the planet), and derives from the Arabic root zahara (to shine).

Male names:

Zahir means “helper, supporter” in Arabic.

Zaran means “golden.”

Zaroun/Zaroon means “victor.”

Unisex names:

Zamindar means “landowner.”

The Ys of Persian names

Male names:

Yaghoub is the Persian form of Jakob, which derives from the Hebrew name Ya’akov. Though traditional etymology claims this name means “heel” and “supplanter,” many modern Biblical scholars believe it comes from Semitic roots meaning “may God protect.”

Yahya is the Persian, Arabic, and Turkish form of John, which derives from the Hebrew name Yochanan and means “God is gracious.”

Yazdan means “angel” or “divinity.”

Yousef is the Persian form of Joseph, which derives from the Hebrew name Yosef and means “he will add.”

Female names:

Yagana/Yeganeh means “unique.”

Yakhan may mean “ruby.”

Yana means “doer of good deeds” and derives from Avestan, Persia’s ancient language.

Yasamin/Yasaman means “jasmine.”

The Vs of Persian names

Female names:

Vafa is the Persian form of the Arabic name Wafa, which means “loyalty, faithfulness.”

Vahideh is the Persian form of the Arabic name Wahida, which means “peerless, unique.”

Varesh means “rainfall.”

Veesta means “knowledge.” This is a rare name.

Vida means “visible.”

Viyana means “sensibility, wisdom.”

Male names:

Vahid is the Persian form of the Arabic name Wahid, which means “unique, peerless.” This name is also Azeri.

Varqa means “dove.”

Vashan means “mighty king.” This is a rare name.