Persian name

A Persian name consists of a given name, sometimes more than one, and a surname.

Given names

Since the Islamic conquest of Persia, some names in Iran have been derived from Arabic although the majority are Persian in origin. Persian Christians have Arabic names indistinguishable from their Muslim neighbors. They can also use Arabic derivations of Christian names (such as saints' names), or Greek, Assyrian, or especially Armenian names. After all, most Christian Iranians are Armenian Iranians.

Many Persian names come from the great Persian literature book, Shahnameh (The Epic of Kings). It was composed in the 10th century by Ferdowsi and is considered by many the masterpiece of the Persian literature and is treasured by all Iranians. Approximately 10%-15% of all Persian names are from Shahnameh. A few examples are Abtin, Ardeshir, Armeen, Arzhang, Babak (Papak), Bijan, Bizhan, Bozorgmehr, Darab, Dariush (Darius), Esfandiar, Esfandyar, Javad, Faramarz, Farhad, Fariborz, Farshid and Farzad, Yazdan.


See also: Category:Persian-language surnames, Category:Iranian-language surnames, and Surname law

Prior to 1919, the people of Persia (Iran) did not use surnames. An act of the Vosough od-Dowleh government in 1919 introduced the use of surnames,[1] and the practice expanded during the reign of Reza Shah (r. 1925–1941). Prior to that, a person was often distinguished from others by a combination of prefixes and suffixes attached to his name. If it was omitted, that person might be taken for someone else.[2] Since the adoption of surnames, Ahmadi has become the most popular surname in Iran.[3]

In many cases individuals were known by the name of the district, city, town, or even the village from which they came by using the locality's name as a suffix, for example: Nuri, Khorasani, Mazandarani, Kordestani, Tehrani, Esfahani, Gilani, Hamedani, and Shirazi. The same rule is followed for the many millions of Iranians who have surnames of regions or cities of the Caucasus region. The latter was forcefully ceded in the course of the 19th century to Imperial Russia through the Treaty of Gulistan (1813) and Treaty of Turkmenchay (1828). Examples of common Iranian surnames in this regard are Dagestani, Gharabaghi, Shirvani, Iravani, Lankarani.

Among many other secularization and modernization reforms, surnames were required by Reza Shah, following similar contemporary patterns in Turkey under Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, and later in Egypt under Gamal Abdel Nasser.[4]

Most common names

Common male given names

Common female given names

Common surnames

Name terminology




See also


  1. احمد کسروی، تاریخ 18 سالۀ آذربایجان
  2. Salmani, Ustad Muhammad-`Aliy-i, the Barber (1982). My Memories of Bahá'u'lláh. Gail, Marizieh (trans.). Los Angeles, USA: Kalimát Press. p. 123. ISBN 0-933770-21-9.
  3. Surnames Found in Iran
  4. Tehranian, Majid (August 1–5, 2000). "Disenchanted Worlds: Secularization and Democratization in the Middle East". Paper for Presentation at the World Congress of International Political Science Association. Archived from the original on 2006-09-12. Retrieved 2006-09-28.

External links

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