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Vietnamese names: Naming traditions and 200+ common names for boys & girls

01/01/2024 7.147

Vietnamese names are a reflection of cultural diversity. These names often carry deep meanings and significance in Vietnamese society, shaping personal identities and family connections.

Vietnamese names

Vietnamese names are an integral part of Vietnamese people's identity, which are rooted in rich naming traditions. We will uncover 200 common names for boys and girls in Vietnam and their meanings, which not only distinguish individuals but also reflect the local cultural values and family ties. Read on to check out some interesting facts about Vietnamese names, too!

1. A glance at the naming tradition in Vietnam

Vietnam boasts 54 ethnic groups, each with their unique cultural, historical, and social background. This diversity is reflected in the variations of people's names, contributing to the rich culture of Vietnam

Names serve several important purposes in Vietnam. They help distinguish one's lineage, providing insights into one's ancestral roots. Furthermore, Vietnamese names are used to differentiate individuals from one another and to indicate gender (male or female). Additionally, names often carry aesthetic significance, typically associated with positive meanings and aspirations.

Naming is a solemn tradition within Vietnamese families, following certain principles:

  • Conciseness: Vietnamese names are kept short and memorable.
  • Uniqueness: Avoiding duplication ensures that each person's identity remains distinct.
  • Gender specificity: Vietnamese names clearly denote whether an individual is male or female.
  • Aesthetic appeal: Vietnamese names are chosen for their tonal beauty.
Vietnamese names

Throughout Vietnamese history, the practice of giving middle names has endured. For instance, "Van" is often added to common Vietnamese male names, as it signifies a person with knowledge, education, and virtue. Thus, the inclusion of "Van" in Vietnamese names for boys reflects the parents' aspirations for their sons to achieve success. On the other hand, "Thi” is added to common Vietnamese female names. It has traditionally been used to indicate women and was also a term women used to refer to themselves in the past.

2. Structure & order of Vietnamese names

Vietnamese full names traditionally comprise three components: surname, middle name, and given name.

Vietnamese surnames are passed down through generations.

Middle names, often a common word like "Thi" or "Van", serve as an indicator of the person's gender. However, these were the traditional middle names used by our ancestors. Nowadays, there are many contemporary Vietnamese names for both boys and girls. These middle names can be the mother's surname or other meaningful words that complement the given name. 

Given names, on the other hand, are selected by the parents and may carry various meanings, including qualities, virtues, or aspirations.

Vietnamese names

The Vietnamese name order differs from that of Western names in that Vietnamese last names are placed first, followed by middle names and given names. For example, Trinh Van B would be addressed as Mr. Trinh.

In Vietnamese culture, titles play a crucial role in addressing individuals, besides their Vietnamese names. Some common titles and their meanings include "Anh" for "Older brother", "Chi" for "Older sister", "Co" for "Aunt", and "Bac" for "Uncle". These titles are placed before Vietnamese full names.

3. Popular Vietnamese names for boys & girls

After learning about the Vietnamese tradition of naming and the order of Vietnamese names, let's explore some common Vietnamese female names and Vietnamese male names.

3.1. Top 100+ common Vietnamese male names and their meanings

Here is a list of Vietnamese male names from A to X, each with its own unique meaning and symbolic representation:

Anh: Intelligent
An: Peaceful
Ái: Affection
Ân: Precious
Bảo: Protection
Bửu: Virtuous
Bình: Calm
Bá: Talented
Ba: Strong
Bảy: Born in July
Bính: Crucial
Bắc: North
Bạc: Silver
Cao: Tall
Cường: Powerful
Chí: Intelligent
Chiến: Victory
Cung: Respectful
Công: Success
Cả: Eldest
Cẩn: Fine jade
Châu: Pearl
Cát: Lucky
Chính: Integrity
Đại: Great
Dương: Ocean
Danh: Famous
Đức: Moral
Dũng: Brave
Duy: Clever
Du: Optimistic
Đạt: Achievement
Đăng: Luminous
Đông: East, winter
Dĩnh: Skillful

Giang: River
Gia: Family
Giáp: Friendly
Hà: River
Hải: Sea
Hào: Generous
Hiên: Brave
Hiệp: Strong
Hùng: Courage
Hiếu: Respectful
Hoàng: Gold
Học: Studious
Huy: Glorious
Hy: Hopeful
Hảo: Good
Hòa: Peaceful
Huân: Successful
Khải: Victory
Khanh: Leader
Khánh: Clever
Khôi: Handsome
Kim: Gold
Khắc: Win
Kiêt: Hero
Khiêm: Humble
Kỳ: Good fortune
Long: Dragon
Lâm: Forest
Lợi: Benefit
Lực: Strength
Linh: Spirit
Lập: Independent
Lộc: Precious
Liêm: Pure
Luân: Clever
Luật: Polite

 

Minh: Bright
Mạnh: Strength
Mậu: Talented
Mong: Hope
Nhẫn: Patient
Nam: Manly
Nghĩa: Meaningful
Nguyên: Peace
Nhân: Good
Nhất: Important
Ngôn: Talkative
Nghị: Determined
Nghiêm: Serious
Phong: Wind
Phương: Determined
Phúc: Happy
Phú: Rich
Phước: Luck
Quân: Manly
Quang: Bright
Quy: Precious
Quý: Beloved
Quốc: Patriot
Quyết: Resolute
Quyền: Powerful
Sang: Noble
Sinh: Blooming
Sơn: Mountain
Sung: Wealthy
Sáng: Bright
Sỹ: Expert

Tài: Talented
Tâm: Softhearted
Tân: Creative
Thái: Intelligent
Thanh: Pure
Thành: Successful
Thao: Courteous
Thịnh: Prosperous
Thọ: A long life
Toàn: Safe
Tin: Great thinker
Tín: Trustworthy
Tú: Star
Trung: Loyal
Tùng: Dignified
Thắng: Victorious
Thiện: Mindful
Thiên: Powerful
Thức: Knowledgeable
Thăng: Rise
Trường: Leader
Tiến: Advance
Tuân: Obedient
Vũ: Confident
Vĩnh: Eternal
Vương: King
Vân: Sky
Xương: Flourish
Vinh: Glory
 
Vietnamese names

3.2. Top 100 common Vietnamese female names and their meanings

For females, names in Vietnam not only serve as identifiers but also reflect historical, social, and cultural values. Here is a list of common Vietnamese names for females and their meanings:

Ái: Beloved
An: Peaceful
Anh: Intelligent
Ánh: Sparkling
Bích: Jade
Bình: Calm
Châu: Pearl
Chi: A tree
Chinh: Determined
Cúc: Daisy
Đan: Sincere
Đào: Peach
Diệp: Leaf
Điệp: Butterfly
Diệu: Beautiful
Dịu: Gentle
Dương: Sea
Dung: Generous
Duyên: Graceful
Giang: River
Hà: River
Hạ: Summer
Hân: Joyful, jubilant
Hằng: Moon
Hạnh: Moral
Hiền: Gentle
Hoa: Flower
Hòa: Nice, calm
Hoài: Wait
Hồng: Rose
Huệ: Lily
Hương: Scent
Hường: Pink
Khánh: Cheerful
Khuyên: Elegant
Kiều: Graceful
Kim: Metal
Lam: Blue
Lan: Orchid
Lành: Safe
Liên: Lotus
Liễu: Waxflower
Linh: Little bell (which brings luck and fortune)
Loan: Phoenix
Ly: Lily
Mai: Yellow apricot
Mây: Cloud
Minh: Smart
Mỹ: Beautiful
Na: Girly
Như: Tender
Nhung: Velvet
Nga: Beautiful, kind
Ngân: Money
Ngọc: Jade
Nguyệt: Moon
Oanh: Lovely
Phụng: Phoenix
Phương: Direction
Phượng: Phoenix
Quý: Precious
Quyên: A precious bird in Asian culture
Quỳnh: Night-blooming cereus flower
Sen: Lotus
Tâm: Heart
Thắm: Charming, full of love
Thanh: Bright blue
Thảo: Respectful to parents
Thi: Poem
Thơ: Poem
Thơm: Fragrant
Thu: Autumn
Thương: Love
Thúy: Beautiful, noble
Thùy: Loving, gentle
Tiên: Angel
Trà: Tea
Trang: Gracious
Trinh: Virgin
Trúc: Bamboo
Tú: Star, outstanding
Tuyền: River
Tuyết: Snow
Uyên: Smart, beautiful
Vân: Cloud
Vinh: Magnificent, glory
Vy: Lovely, cute
Xuân: Spring
Yên: Peaceful, tranquil
Yến: Canary
 
Vietnamese names

4. Interesting facts about Vietnamese names

There are some fascinating facts about Vietnamese full names or Vietnamese name order that you should not miss.

4.1. The most popular surnames in Vietnam

Vietnam, with its 54 ethnic groups, possesses around 1,023 surnames. Despite that, only 14 Vietnamese last names are the most common, including: Nguyen (38.4%), Tran (12.1%), Le (9.5%), Pham (7%), Hoang/Huynh (5.1%), Phan (4.5%), Vu/Vo (3.9%), Dang (2.1%), Bui (2%), Do (1.4%), Ho (1.3%), Ngo (1.3%), Duong (1%), Ly (0.5%).

4.2. The rarest surnames in Vietnam

In contrast to the 14 most common Vietnamese surnames, which make up 90%, the remaining 10% consists of rare surnames. Some of these surnames are so rare that it is very hard to come across those with those same surnames (except for those with the same bloodline), and most people have never even heard of them. Examples of these rare surnames in Vietnamese names include Thach, Vi, Nong, Xa, Uong, and Khau, which have origins in China, and other Vietnamese surnames like Luong, Bang, Doan, Trieu, and Ha, etc.

Vietnamese names

4.3. Weird naming traditions in some regions of Vietnam

In addition to the common naming practices mentioned above, in some regions of Vietnam, there are some interesting and somewhat peculiar naming customs that might leave you astonished:

  • Cong Hoa Commune, Quoc Oai District, Hanoi: Normally, Vietnamese names begin with the surname, then the middle and given name. However, in this commune, the surname is placed in the middle. This practice is only applicable to male names, while female names are structured in the conventional way. This unique tradition has been maintained here for over 400 years.
  • The Bahnar ethnic minority: The Bahnar people typically name their children using the initial sounds from the Vietnamese names of their grandparents, parents, or relatives to maintain familial connections. They also have a custom of naming children based on unusual events during birth, physical characteristics, sometimes even dream interpretations.
  • The Jrai ethnic minority: The Jrai people have a rich variety of surnames, each connected to a legendary story about their ancestors, particularly a figure named Ho Bia. Depending on where Ho Bia gave birth to her children, the surname would be derived from that place, leading to surnames like Rahlan and Hiao (along the road), K’sor (in abandoned fields), Nay (in lowlands), R’mah (on the mango tree), and so on.
  • The H’mong ethnic minority: In H’mong tradition, men are typically given Vietnamese names with a common middle name starting with 'A', similar to the popular 'Van' middle name. However, when they reach adulthood, they will have a naming ceremony to change their middle name which signifies respect within the community. This procedure is determined by the bride's parents and it signifies that the groom is a good person.
Vietnamese names

After exploring these fascinating aspects of Vietnamese names, it is time to plan your Vietnam travel to outstanding tourist destinations such as Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Da Nang, and Ha Long. To enhance your vacation experience in these destinations, consider staying at Vinpearl’s hotels and resorts. As the number one hospitality brand in Vietnam, Vinpearl has branches located throughout the country, offering top-notch amenities including restaurants, pools, shopping areas, recreational zones, conference centers, spas, and golf courses.

Moreover, don't forget to visit VinWonders, the most dynamic entertainment complexes in Vietnam. At VinWonders, you can have a blast with friends and family, enjoying a wide range of thrilling games, cultural activities, and vibrant festivals.

Vietnamese names

>>> Book rooms in Vinpearl Phu Quoc, Vinpearl Nha Trang, Vinpearl Resort & Golf Nam Hoi An, Vinpearl Resort & Spa Ha Long to explore Vietnam in your unique way!

Vietnamese names encapsulate the essence of a vibrant culture, connecting individuals to their heritage. These names carry deep meanings, embodying the identity of the Vietnamese people. Whether it is popular names or unique ones, Vietnamese names hold a special place in the hearts of those who bear them and offer a glimpse into the rich tapestry of Vietnamese culture.

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