A primer on Romanian names

The Kland-Maniu family of my Atlantic City books are from Târgu-Mureș, Romania. Near the very end of summer vacation 1942, Cinnimin, Violet, and their sitting charges, the three Valli kids, find what they believe to be a dead man along the rocks near a lighthouse, in a small rowboat. They drag him back to shore and sneak him into Violet’s mansion, and soon enough, it becomes clear he was just unconscious, not dead. He says his name is Ivor Kland (which I originally spelt Iver), and he’s escaped from the Nazis.

Very soon, the rest of Ivor’s family shows up—wife Constantina; her parents Clara and Carol Maniu; Ivor’s parents Alexandra and Ferdinand; and Ivor’s children, 13-year-old Michael and 3-year-old Florence. (I know, not very original, or even fully Romanian, but I was going off a 1965 encyclopedia, and was only 15.) When Violet’s parents return from their summer-long vacation, they’re compelled into keeping the Kland-Manius as houseguests, until they find their own home.

In 1956, Michael marries Maria Roblenska, three years his junior, and they have six children, five boys followed many years later by a surprise late-life daughter, Raina. Raina becomes a main character in Saga VI (the Nineties) of Cinnimin, and her favorite brother Shimon (Shimmy), the one she’s relatively closest in age to, also becomes a secondary character.

Romanian language:

Romanian has been called the dark horse of the Romance languages, since it’s so geographically distant from the other major members of the family, and there are also many Slavic influences. It also has some letters not found in other Romance languages—Ă, Ț (like the ZZ in “pizza,” with emphasis on the SS), and Ș (SH). Another uncommon letter is the Î, also found in French but pronounced differently.

Romanian surnames:

Like most people can quickly figure out, many Romanian surnames end in -escu. Other common suffixes include -ăscu, -eanu, -aru, -anu, -atu, -oiu, and -an. When surname reform began in the 19th century, it was common practice to create patronymical surnames, such as Ionescu and Petrescu. Many surnames were also created in reference to geographical origin, as well as professions, plants, animals, and nicknames.

Common Romanian names and their nickname forms:

Male:

Adam
Adrian
Aleodor
Alexandru (Sandu, Alexe)
Alin
Ambroziu
Andrei
Anton, Anatolie, Antoniu
Artur
Augustin
Aurel, Aurelian
Bănel
Barbu
Basarab
Beniamin
Bogdan
Brăduț
Bucur (Bucharest’s legendary founder)
Cantemir
Carol
Cătălin (a masculine form of Katherine)
Cezar
Ciprian
Claudiu
Codrin, Codrut (Of the forest)
Constantin, Costache (Costel, Costin, Costică, Dinu)
Corneliu, Cornel
Cosmin
Cotiso
Cristian (Cristi)
Dacian
Daniel (Dan, Dănuț)
Darius
David
Decebal (Brave; Powerful)
Dezideriu
Dionisie
Dorin, Doru, Dorel (Dorinel) (Longing)
Dragomir, Dragovic (Dragoș)
Dumitru (Mitica, Mitruţ)
Eduard
Emanuel, Emanuil, Emanoil
Emil, Emilian
Enricu
Eugen, Eugeniu
Faremont
Felix
Filip
Flaviu
Florin
Francisc
Gabriel, Gavril (Gabi, Gavra)
Ghenadie
Gheorghe (Ghiţă)
Grigore
Haralamb, Haralambie
Horațiu
Horia, Horea
Iacob, Iacov
Ignatie
Ilie (Elijah)
Ioan, Ion (Iancu, Ionel, Ionuț, Ionică, Nelu)
Iosif
Isac
Iulian, Iuliu
Kastren
Laurențiu
Leontin
Liviu
Luca
Lucian
Marcel
Marian, Marin, Marius
Martin
Matei (Matthew)
Mihail, Mihai (Mihăiță)
Mihnea
Minodor (Moon’s gift)
Mircea
Miron
Nicolae, Neculai, Nicoara (Nicu, Nicușor)
Octavian (Octav)
Odiseu
Olimpiu
Ovidiu
Paul
Petre, Petru, Pătru (Petrica)
Pompiliu
Radamant (Radu, Răducu)
Răzvan (Radu)
Sebastian
Serafim
Serban
Serghei, Sergiu
Silviu
Simion
Sorin (Sun)
Ștefan (Fane, Fănel)
Stelian
Stere (Solid)
Teodor, Theodor, Tudor (Dorin, Tudorică)
Tiberiu
Timotei
Toamna (Autumn)
Toma
Traian
Valentin (Vali)
Valerian, Valeriu (Vali)
Vasaru
Vasile (Vasilica)
Veaceslav
Victor
Viorel (Bluebell)
Virgil, Virgiliu
Voicu
Zamfir (Sapphire)
Zeferin

Female:

Adela (Adelina, Alina)
Adriana
Afina (Bilberry)
Alexandra (Sanda)
Amalia
Andrada
Andreea
Anna (Anca, Ancuța, Anuța)
Antoaneta
Antonia
Aristița
Artemisa
Aurelia (Aurica)
Aurora
Bianca
Blanduzia
Bogdana
Brăndușa (Crocus)
Camelia
Casiana
Cătălina, Ecaterina (Catina, Catrinel)
Clara
Claudia
Codrina
Constanța (Costina)
Corina
Cornelia (Coca)
Cosmina
Cregnuța
Crina (Lily)
Cristina
Daciana
Daniela
Daria
Denisa
Doina (Folk song)
Dorina
Dumitra
Elena (Lenuța)
Elisabeta
Emilia
Eugenia
Felicia, Felicea
Flavia
Floare, Florina, Floarea, Florica, Florența
Fulga (Snowflake)
Gabriela (Gabi, Gavra)
Galatia (Laughing girl)
Genovieva
Georgeta
Gheata (Ice)
Gherghina (Georgia)
Grațiela
Hariclea
Iarna (Winter)
Ileana (Ilinca)
Ioana, Ionela (Oana, Ionica)
Iolanda
Irina
Irisa
Isabela
Iulia, Iuliana
Jenica (White)
Lacrima (Tear)
Lacrimioara (Little tear)
Laura
Lavinia
Lidia
Liliana
Livia
Loredana
Lucia
Luiza
Luminița (Little light)
Mădălina (Magdalena)
Măine (Tomorrow)
Marcela
Margareta
Maria (Marioara, Măriuța, Mioara)
Marina
Marta
Mihaela
Minodora (Gift of the Moon)
Mirela
Miruna (Peace)
Monica
Narcisa
Natalia
Nicoleta
Octavia (Tăvuța)
Olga
Olimpia
Paula
Petronela (Petruța)
Rahela (Rachel)
Raluca (Plow)
Ramona
Reveka (Rebecca)
Rodica (Fertile)
Roxana, Ruxandra
Rozalia
Sabina
Sănziana (A type of fairy)
Silvia, Silviana
Simona, Simina
Smaranda (Emerald)
Sofia (Sofica)
Sorina (Sun)
Ștefania
Stela (Star)
Tatiana
Teodora
Tereza
Toamna (Autumn)
Tudorița (Theodora)
Valentina
Valeria
Vara (Summer)
Vasilica (Ica)
Veronica
Victoria
Violeta
Viorica, Viorea (Bluebell)
Viochița
Virginia
Zanovia

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3 comments on “A primer on Romanian names

  1. Chrys Fey says:

    I like a lot of those Romanian names. Thanks for this! Whenever you post a list of names, I pick out a few for future characters. 😉

    Like

  2. I love reading through names. They always inspire a character or two. 🙂

    Like

  3. I really like the names you listed. I’d like to use them for future projects.

    Like

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