20 Common Ukrainian Names and Their Origins

Ukrainian names

Names can tell you a lot about the culture, history, and the world’s view of the nation. In this post, we will show you 20 popular Ukrainian names and their meanings.

The oldest names have Slavic origin, and very often, they have similar forms in Russian and Belarus languages. Pagans gave their kids names of the gods and goddesses or made names from words with a positive meaning. People believed in the magic power of the names.

Святосла́в (Sviatoslav)

Origin: Old East Slavic: Свѧтославь, Свѧтославль; свята слава – holy glory.

Famous person with this name: Grand Prince of Kyiv Sviatoslav. Approximate years of life:938 – 972. Painter A. Shtanko.

Вячесла́в (Viacheslav)

Origin: Old East Slavic: вяче слава – more glory, the most glorified.

Famous person with this name: В’ячеслав Чорновіл (Viacheslav Chornovil). The Ukrainian politician, dissident in the Soviet Union. (Years of life: 1937-1999).

Photo: zbruc.eu

Миросла́в (m)/ Миросла́ва (f) (Myroslav/Myroslava)

Origin: Old East Slavic: мир і слава – peace and glory.

Famous person with this name: Мирослава Барчук (Myroslava Barchuk) – contemporary Ukrainian journalist and television presenter at the national broadcast “Suspilne”.

Photo: detector. media

Яросла́в (m)/Яросла́ва (f) (Yaroslav/Yaroslava)

Origin: Old East Slavic: ярий і слава – bright, ardent, and glory.

Famous person with this name: Ярослава Кравченко (Yaroslava Kravchenko) – contemporary journalist and television presenter at “Television Toronto”.

Photo: unian.ua

Note: Short variant of the names like Ярослав(a), В’ячеслав, Святослав etc. is Слава for both feminine and masculine genders.

There are Scandinavian origin names; mostly, these were the names of the first rulers who established Rus.

І́гор (Ihor)

Origin: derived from the Old Norse name Ingvarr (god of fertility and solicitous, warlike).

Famous person with this name: Ігор Рюрикович Ihor the Old (died 945) was a Varangian ruler of Rus from 912 to 945.

Picture: mosaic in the Kyiv metro station “Golden Cate”.

О́льга (Olha) (f)/ Олег (Oleh) (m)

Short form of Ольга – Оля

Origin: both of the names came from Old Norse Helga, Hælga, Hælgha (masculine form – Helgi), helgi – dedicated, saint, holy.

Famous person with this name: Княгиня Ольга Olha of Kyiv (died – 969) was a regent of Rus for her son Sviatoslav from 945 until 960.

Picture: St. Olha by Mykhailo Nesterov

The majority of Ukrainian names originate from Biblical characters or saints. The names came from Hebrew, Greek or Latin. The most popular are:

Марі́я (Mariia)

Origin: Hebrew מרים Mariam – the mother of Jesus Christ. Марія to the Ukrainian language came from the Greek name Μαρία.

Famous person with this name: Марія Примаченко Mariia Prymachenko (1908–1997) was a Ukrainian village folk art painter, representative of naïve art.

Photo: pmu.in.ua/museum_pedagogics

Eared beast grasped a Crustacean. 1983 Mariia Prymachenko

Forms of the name: Марічка, Маруся, Марійка, Маша.

Іва́н (Ivan)

Origin: Hebrew:יוֹחָנָן‎, Yôḥanan – God is gracious; to the Ukrainian language came from Greek Ἰωάννης, Iōannēs; lat. Ioannes, Iohannes.

Famous person with this name: Іван Франко Ivan Franko (1856 – 1916) was a Ukrainian poet, writer, journalist, interpreter, political activist, the author of the first detective novels, and modern poetry in the Ukrainian language.

Forms of the name: Іва, Івасик, Іванчик.

Тара́с (Taras)

Origin: Greek Ταράσιος – restless, rebel.

Famous person with this name: Тарас Шевченко Taras Shevchenko – (1814 – 1861) was a Ukrainian poet, writer, artist, public, and political figure. His literary heritage is the foundation of modern Ukrainian literature and language. He is called the father of the Ukrainian nation.

Selfportrait 1840

Катери́на (Kateryna)

Origin: Old Greek: Αικατερίνη – perfect, innocent, pure.

Famous person with this name: Катерина Білокур Kateryna Bilokur (1900 – 1961) was a Ukrainian folk artist, representative of naïve art, folk decorative painting.

Picture: Still life Breakfast by Kateryna Bilokur 1950. Photo: uatv.ua

Forms of the name: Катя, Катеринка, Катруся, Катря.

The most popular names in 2021:

Boys:

1. Матві́й (Matvii) – from Old Hebrew “Gift of Yahweh.”

2. Макси́м (Maksym) from Latin Maximus “the biggest”, “the greatest”.     

3. Дави́д (Davyd) – from Old Hebrew “beloved”.

4. Дани́ло (Danylo) from Hebrew “God is my judge”.      

5. Марко́ (Marko)         – from Latin name Markus, there from the name of the god Mars.

Girls:

1. А́нна (Anna) – came from Greek Αννα, there from Hebrew Hannah (“grace”, “favour”).

2. Марі́я (Maria) –  explained earlier.

3. Анастасі́я (Anastasia) from Greek ἀνάστασις, meaning “resurrection”.

4. Міла́на (Milana) – from Slavic “мил” – “nice”, “favoured”.

5. Я́на (Yana) – from Hebrew “God is gracious”.

Now you know a lot of Ukrainian names. What is your favourite? Maybe we haven’t mentioned it? Tell us in the comments. And what is the meaning of your name?

1 Comment
  1. luifa.luifa 24 Березня, 2021

    I love this post, i enjoy to read about this things.
    Anna is the female Name that most of the women i know have. I am pretty sure it must be because of Anna Jaroslawna.
    From men i hear very oft Volodymyr (of course because of Volodymyr the Great), i think there is a short neame for that, something lik “Boba”.

    My favourite ukrainian famous persons are Olha of Kyiv, Леся Українка, Катерина Білокур and Ярослав the Wise, so if I have to chose a favourite name, it would be one of those.

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