Romanian male baby names are diverse and reflect the rich cultural and spiritual heritage of the country and its language. Throughout history, several civilizations have left their mark on the modern Romanian society – going way back to the Roman Empire and the Greeks, later from Slavic populations passing through, and more recent influences including French, German and Italian, only to name a few.
And these interactions can also be observed in the wide pool of names today. Even more, the Christian Orthodox Church has added its own spiritual component as many Romanian males are named after various saints of the Christian Orthodox Church.
Keeping all this in mind, here are some ideas to consider when choosing a traditional Romanian male name for your baby.
1. The family tree
What do you think about your name? Would you like your boy to have the same one as you? What about the names of close relatives?
If none of them appeal to you, but still want to keep the search within the family group, maybe talk to your grandparents and ask them about the names your ancestors had. Many of those popular 100 years ago have become fashionable again, such as old Romanian names, biblical, or royalty sounding ones.
2. People who inspire you
Many parents want to choose a strong name for their boys, something resounding that will make you think of impressive people. Who are your Romanian heroes? Think of family friends, teachers, mentors, individuals who have left a lasting impression on you. Giving the name of a real person to your son can be a great honor for both parties.
3. The names of his brothers and sisters
Families often think about the names of older children when choosing one for the younger offspring. If the firstborn was christened Alexandra, the second child might be called Alexandru (the Romanian variant of Alexander). Or if the first child is called Robert, the second may be called Radu, the connection being their initial. If the older child was given the name of the maternal grandfather, the second may bear the name of the paternal grandfather. And so on.
4. Your favorite characters
What are your favorite books, movies, or TV shows? Let the names of those characters inspire you when choosing one for your boy. Of course, you’ll have to take into account the type of individual and his role in the story, but naming a child after a beloved fictional person might be a good idea.
The following list contains some of the most popular Romanian male baby names. Many of them are traditional and go back hundreds of years.
The name Andrei (Andrew) comes from the Greek word “Andros”, meaning “man” (historic connotations going as far as “brave”, “strong”, “courageous”). It is very popular in Romania, Austria, Greece, Cyprus, Denmark, Armenia, Finland, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Italy, the Netherlands, and Indonesia.
Sfântul Andrei (Saint Andrew)
In the Orthodox Christian calendar, St. Andrew the Apostle is celebrated on November 30th. He was one of the 4 initial apostles of Jesus Christ, after leaving his life as a fisherman from Galilee. Saint Andrew became a disciple of Christ after he was a disciple of St. John the Baptist. According to the Bible, the desire to follow Christ appears when St. John utters the words: “Behold the Lamb of God, the One who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1: 29).
For Romanians, the name Andrei is related to wolves. Derived from the old name of the Dacians (natives of the land Romania now occupies) for wolves, “daoi”, which was also the Dacian national symbol. This is even a sign for Dacia’s sanctuaries. Legend says that wolves were present alongside the Dacians at the fall of the capital city of Sarmizegetusa. Furthermore, the chief in charge of the animals would have watched over the Apostle Andrei through the wilderness of Dobrogea to the cave that was offered to him as shelter.
The name Bogdan is derived from the Slavic words “Bog” or “Boh”, meaning “God” and “Dan” meaning “given”. The name “Bogdan” is widespread in Romania and the Slavic countries (less often Russia).
Casian is a name rarely used today in Romania and is mostly seen as a last name. The female variant is Casiana. Its basis can be traced to the Latin personal name Cassianus, Cassiana, which attested to the value of cognomen (the third name of a citizen of ancient Rome) from the imperial era. “Kass”, the root in all of these instances, translates as “of noble lineage”.
On July 23, the Orthodox Christian calendar celebrates Ioan Casian (Ioannis Cassianus or Kassianos, b. around 360 AC, in Dobruja). He was one of the most important representatives of Christian literature and monasticism in the 4th and 5th centuries, honored as the holy father of the Christian Church, both Orthodox and Catholic.
The name Cătălin might come, according to some experts, from “aikaterine”, a Greek word meaning “pure”. Others believe it derives from the Greek “katharos” (“purified”). Another variant might be that it comes from the name of Hecate, the Greek goddess of magic.
Based on the Greek word “Kyriakos” which translates to “Lord”. Nowadays, it is used as a surname, but in the past, it was often chosen to baptize boys, even from noble families.
The Orthodox Church celebrates Saint Chiriac the Hermit on September 29 and also mentions him as one of the old saints. He was of Corinth descent, the son of John, the presbyter of the holy Catholic Church, and Evdochia. He was born and lived during the kingdom of Theodosius.
Much speculation has been done regarding the origin of the name Codrin. One explanation is that it draws from Latin, a variant of Codrat (as in “square”—quadratus, in Latin). Another possibility would be that it comes from the Romanian word “codru” ([large, dense]”forest”).
The name Călin, with the female variant Călina, is very popular and widespread in all regions of Romania. It remained fashionable thanks to the Mihai Eminescu’s poem “Călin – file de poveste”. In Slavic languages, it can appear as Ealin or Kalina. There is also a shrub which produces white flowers and red fruit, called “călin”.
A Romanian name created from the word “dor”, which translates as “longing”. However, in some areas, it is short for other forms, either Theodore or Dorel/Dorin, for example. Most of the time, it is used as a pet name (as endearment, not the name for a pet).
Linguists argue that Dragoș is the short form of Dragomir. However, some historians say that it was introduced by Slavic languages, from the word “drag” (dear). Since ancient times, it was used by populations of Romanians. In the 14th century, Dragoș Vodă set the foundation and became the first ruler of the Principality of Moldavia. In later years, it became more prominent as a name in Transylvania. Nowadays, it’s popular in all Romanian regions.
A name closely linked to the old native civilization that inhabited a great part of Romania’s current territory, calling it Dacia. The Dacians were a Getic tribe known to have occupied these lands from around the 7th century B.C. until the first century AC, after which they were partly conquered by the Roman Empire. Dacia and Daciana are feminine variants. The meaning of the name Dacian is “from Dacia” and shows the local provenance.
The name Florin has its origin in the word “flower” (“floare” in Romanian), and is also celebrated in the Orthodox calendar on Palm Sunday (“Duminica de Florii”), a week before Easter. It is mostly used as a baptismal name in Romania, but there are also boys in France, for example, who bear this first name.
Saint Florence was a martyr from Thessalonica. In the first Christian centuries, during the persecutions, he not only confessed and maintained his faith in Christ but also tried to promote it to non-Christians. He believed the true faith is that in Christ—the religion of love and hope. Eventually, he was sanctified and the Orthodox Church celebrates him on October 13.
Gruia is another Romanian name with a disputed origin. One of the explanations indicates that it stems from the regionalism “gruie” which translates to “crane” (the bird). Another version of how the name was created links it to the Thracian language, a word translated as “hill”.
Iancu is one of the Romanian variants of the name Ioan (John), which origines in the Greek name Ioannes, itself derived from the Hebrew first name Yochanan, which translates as “graceful”. The Hebrew form also appears in the Old Testament as Johanan, and in the New Testament, where John the Baptist is mentioned. Some sources say that the translation of John is “Gift from God” or “God beholds all our sins.”
Saint John the Baptist
Those who bear the name Ioan celebrate their nameday on January 7th when St. John the Baptist is commemorated. He is one of the central figures of Christianity and Islam, revered for the time spent preaching on the banks of the Jordan River. Other monikers have been bestowed onto him, Forerunner, Herald, and Baptist of Jesus, who called him “the greatest of those born of women”. The Christian Church honors him as the greatest of the saints, having no less than three holidays dedicated to him. In the Orthodox calendar, his days of remembrance are: June 24, his birth (the feast called Drăgaica or Sânzienele), January 7, St. John’s Day as the baptist of the Lord, and August 29, the beheading of St. John – a day of fasting and prayer.
Each year, on June 24, the birth of St. John the Baptist is celebrated in the Christian world. A great exception was made for him, as saints and martyrs are commemorated on the day of their death, as the day of their birth in the Kingdom of Heaven.
The name Iorgu is a derivation from the name George that has its origin in the Greek word Georgios, which translates to “worker” or “worker of the earth”.
The name gained its popularity thanks to St. George, one of the eminent saints of Christianity. He was a Roman general of Greek origin and an officer in the Guard of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. George was sentenced to death for not relinquishing his Christian faith. As a Christian martyr, he later became one of the most revered holy names of Christianity and was especially venerated by crusaders. Saint George is commemorated by almost all traditional Churches, usually on April 23, and is considered a patron of many countries, regions, and cities.
In Romanian culture, St. George (Sf. Gheorghe) is one of the most present saints, with many churches bearing his patronage. A number Romanian cities bear the name of Saint George, and even one of the three branches of the Danube (second-largest river in Europe) is named after him. The image of St. George slaying a dragon is also present on the flag of medieval Moldavia, one sent by Ștefan cel Mare (Voivode of Moldavia) to the Zografu Monastery on Mount Athos. Sf. Gheorghe is also the protector of the Romanian Army.
The name Laurențiu traces back to the Greek word Laurentius, translated as “man of Laurentum”. In antiquity, this was a city in the Roman Empire, southwest of Rome. Laurentum likely came from “laurus”, meaning “laurel leaves”. The name Laurențiu is used only in Romania.
Saint Laurentius was a deacon from the third century. According to chronicles, he was burned alive because he defied the order to hand over all the possessions of the church. He instead offered them to the sick and poor. August 10th is the day he is honored.
Mihnea is a Romanian version of Mihai (Michael). One of the first mentions of this name was Mihnea, first son of Vlad the Impaler from an unnamed wife. During his life, he was known as “The Evil one” because of his cruel and rather evil personality. A short rule of Wallachia (less than a year) at the end of the XVI century was followed by a swift death, killed on the steps of a church in Sibiu, Transylvania, Romania in 1510.
From the word “mir”, which translates as “peace”, comes the name Mircea. This version is used only in Romania, though other forms, like Miro and Miran, are common in most other Slavic-speaking countries. Many Romanian rulers were named Mircea, such as: Mircea cel Bătrân, Mircea Dracul, Alexandru Mircea, Prince Mircea of Romania.
Myron was the name of a Greek sculptor from the 5th BC and means “sweet oil” or “perfume”. Several holy men were called Myron, among them a bishop of Crete in the third century and a fourth-century martyr from Cyzicus, killed by a mob. The name has generally been more common among Eastern Christians.
Miron can be heard as a name in Israel, from Mount Meron, one of their highest mountains, and also a village on its slopes. There is considered to be the actual place of the old Canaanite town of Merom.
Mădălin and Mădălina are the male and female variations of the same name. It comes from the Hebrew language and translates as “originally from Magdala”, the biblical village on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. That is believed to be the place where Mary Magdalene was born.
The name Octavian carries noble connotations, as it was a Roman surname derived from the Latin “octavus”, which means “eighth”. Many illustrious men bore this name, none as famous as emperor Augustus (born Gaius Octavius).
Radu is a common variation of the Slavonic names that begin with “rad”, being considered a diminutive, and translates as “happy.” Radu is the name of several Romanian rulers: Radu Negru, Radu I of Wallachia, ruler of the Principality of Wallachia, (1377 – 1383), Radu II Chelul, ruler of the Principality of Wallachia in the 15th century, Radu cel Frumos (1437/1439 – 1475), Radu cel Mare, and Radu de la Afumaţi.
There is still some uncertainty regarding the creation of this name, but some linguists believe it was formed from the adverb “rar”, meaning “seldom”. One of the most prominent personalities who bore the name Rares was a Moldavia ruler, who held the throne twice. First, between January 20, 1527, and September 18, 1538, and the second time between February 19, 1541, and September 3, 1546. He was the son of Ștefan cel Mare. It was suggested that it derived from his mother’s, a woman whose historical existence was never documented. A very beloved leader (just like his father) he was the reason for which Rareș became a popular name in Romania.
There are two linguistic sources for the name Răzvan: the Russian name Radovan, or through the Gypsy chain of Indians who migrated to Europe. In the Romani language, the source-word of the name translates to “bringer of good news”. The name is popular in the entire Balkan area, but most people named Răzvan are in Romania.
Sorin is a Romanian name that most likely has its origin in the word “sun”.
The name Ștefan comes from the Greek name Stephanos which means “crown”, more precisely “that which surrounds”. Saint Stephen was a deacon who was killed, being accused of blasphemy, as we learn from the New Testament. He is considered the first Christian martyr. Thanks to him, the name became common in the Christian world.
The Romanian name Tudor likely appeared as a form of Theodor, initially a Greek name “Theodoros”. It translates as “the gift of God” and combines the Greek particle “theos”, which means “God”, and “doron” which means “gift”. Another possible source is the old name Tudur, from old Welsh “tutir”. The Tudor dynasty ruled England for over a century.
Latin is again responsible for another Romanian name, Valeriu, from the word “valere” which translates as “to be strong”. It is especially common in Romania, alongside its female version, Valeria.
Vlad, the short form of the Slavic name Władysław, which is composed of “vladeti” (“to rule”) and “slava” (which means “glory”). Another etymological path finds Vlad as the abbreviation of Vladimir, a rather modern form of the old Russian name Volodymer. The name Vlad is mainly found in Romania, and its most famous bearer is Vlad Țepeș (Vlad the Impaler).
“Vioreaua”, a flower that only blooms in spring is considered the explanation for this Romanian name. Those who bear the name Viorel celebrate their birthday on Palm Sunday.
Initially a first name, Voinea gradually lost much of its popularity and remained only a surname in use. A likely explanation for it’s origin could be the Russian language and where it translates to “travel”.
If you still need more choices, we got you covered. Here’s our extended list of Romanian male names which contains no less than 127 names. Enjoy!
- Adam (it’s also a quite common Romanian last name)
- Adrian (this is one of the most popular Romanian names, with Adi commonly used as the short version of Adrian).
- Gabriel/ Gavril
- Matei (very fashionable name over the past five years amongst Romanian parents)
- Petru or Petre
- Sandu (quite a popular Romanian male name in the past)
- Stefan (very trendy name in Romania right now)
- Tudor (together with Matei and Luca, it’s one of the most popular names in the past decade in Romania)
- Valeriu (Valer is the shorten, more modern version of the name)
- Vasile (very popular Romanian surname among the older generations, though it has fallen out of fashion these days)
- Victor (very trendy name in Romania right now)