A primer on Uzbek names

The Uzbeks are the largest Turkic people in Central Asia, and their language (on the Karluk sub-branch of the Turkic language family) has 27 million native speakers. Due to where Uzbekistan is geographically situated, and given the history of the area, the language has a number of Persian, Arabic, and Russian influences.

Outside of Uzbekistan, there are large diaspora communities in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, Australia, Pakistan, the U.S., Turkey, Ukraine, and China. Mongolia also has a small Uzbek community.

A number of the children at Mrs. Brezhneva’s Kyiv orphanage in my first three Russian historicals are Uzbek, orphaned or kidnapped during the Civil War and early years of the Soviet Union. When the orphanage partially, surreptitiously relocates to Isfahan, Iran, during the Great Terror in 1937, five of the children chosen are Uzbek.

Alphabet:

Like all the other Turkic languages, Uzbek too was historically written in Arabic script. Since nationalism was encouraged during the early years of the USSR, there was a comprehensive program to teach the people how to read and write. In 1924, a proposal for the Romanization of the Arabic Uzbek alphabet was developed, and from 1928–30, Uzbek switched to the Latin alphabet. In 1940, Stalin forced Cyrillic upon them.

In 1992, after Uzbekistan gained her independence, Latin returned, though Cyrillic is still widely used. The deadline for making the transition back to Latin only keeps getting pushed off, though the usage of the Roman alphabet has become more and more widespread.

The modern Uzbek Latin alphabet has 29 letters. Unfamiliar letters are Oʻ, Gʻ, SH, CH, and NG, and missing letters are C and W. When written in Cyrillic, it contains the additional letters Ҳ (H), Қ (Q), and НГ (NG), and transliterates Ж as J instead of ZH, and X as X instead of KH. Some of their letters also come much later in the alphabet than they do in Russian.

Surnames:

Due to so many years of Russification, many Uzbek names still bear endings like -ov(a), -in(a), and -(y)ev(a). They also have Turkic, Persian, and Arabic twists. Sample surnames include Karimov, Nabiyev, Abdulin, Abdulayev, Burkhanov, Azmatov, Choriyev, Islambekov, Ravshanov, and Rakhimov.

Sample names:

Female:

Adolat
Akgul (White flower)
Amina (Truthful)
Andisha (Wisdom)
Anisa (Friend, friendly)
Anora (Pomegranate)
Azaliya (Everlasting, eternal)

Binafsha (Violet)
Chinara (Platanus [a type of tree])
Dilkash (Eloquent)
Dilnoza
Durdona (Pearl)

Elnura (The light)
Farangiz
Fazilat (Value, worth)
Firuza, Feruza (Turquoise)

Gülayim (Gulya)
Gulbahor (Gulya) (Spring flower)
Gulchekhra, Gulchexra (Gulya) (Flower flower)
Guldasta (Gulya) (Flower bouquet)
Guli (Gulya) (Flower)
Gulnora (Gulya) (Pomegranate flower)

Hilola
Himoya (Protection)
Indira (After Indira Gandhi, and currently extremely popular)
Inju (Pearl)
Inoyat (Grace)
Iroda

Jamola
Jilmay (Smile)
Jiyan (Life)
Jonona (Belovèd)
Lola (Tulip)

Malika (Queen)
Marvarid (Pearl, Margaret)
Mavluda
Mehri, Mexri (Love)
Mehribon, Mexribon
Mehriniso, Mexriniso
Milana
Munisa

Namunali (Exemplary)
Nargiza (Daffodil)
Nigora (Hope)
Nilufar (Lotus)
Nozanin (Beautiful)

Olma (Apple)
Oltingul (Golden flower)
Orzu (Wish)
Ozoda (Clean)
Parizoda (Fairy face)

Ravshana (Bright, light)
Rozi (Pleased)
Ruhshana (Roxana)
Ruhsora

Sakina
Samimiy (Sincere)
Sanobar (Juniper)
Sayora
Setora
Sevara
Sevinch
Shahlo (Blue dye)
Shahnoza (Pride of the Shah)
Shirin (Sweet)
Shohruh
Sitora

Tahmina
Tantana (Celebration)
Tomyris
Umida (Hope)
Usta (Expert)
Vorisa (Heiress)

Xadya, Hadya (Gift)
Yaltira (Glitter, shine)
Yulduz, Yulduza (Star)

Zafara (Victory)
Zara, Zuhro (Bright, brilliant)
Zarina (Golden)
Zeb (Beauty)
Ziyoda
Ziyoli (Intelligent)
Zulfiya

Male:

Abbos (Austere)
Abdug’ani
Abdulla (Servant of Allah)
Abdurahim (Servant of the compassionate)
Abdurahmon (Servant of the merciful)
Abdurashid (Servant of the rightly-guided)
Abdusalom (Servant of the peace)
Alisher (Lofty/sublime lion)
Anvar (Brighter, more luminous)
Arslon (Lion)
Asal (Honey)
Aziz (Powerful, belovèd, respected)
Azizbek (Powerful chieftain)

Baxretdin, Baxriddin, Bakhretdin, Bakhriddin (Sea of religion)
Baxtiyor, Bakhtiyor
Baymirza
Bekzod, Behzod, Bexod
Bo’ri (Wolf)
Botir (Brave, hero)

Daler
Dilshod (Happy heart, cheerful)
Elihan
Elshod (Glad country/society)
Ergash
Erkin

Farhod (Elation, happiness)
Farrukh, Farrux (Person who can tell right from wrong)
Fathullo, Fatxullo (Victory of Allah)
G’afur
Hamza

Ibrohim
Ilhom
Ishoq (Isaac)
Islam
Ismoil (Ishmael)
Isroil (Israel)

Jafar, Jәgfar
Jahangir
Jahon (World)
Jamoliddin
Jamshid
Jasur
Jo’ra
Juma

Malik (King)
Mamur (Judge, officer, magistrate)
Mansur
Marsel (After French politician Marcel Cachin)
Maxmud, Makhmud (Praiseworthy)
Melis
Mirtemir
Murod (Desire, wish)
Mutabar

Nuriddin, Nuritdin (Light of religion)
Odil
O’rmon (Forest)
Otabek
Parviz (Happy, fortunate)

Rahmatillo, Raxmatillo, Rahmatullo, Raxmatullo (Mercy of Allah)
Ravshan (Bright, light)
Ravshanbek (Chieftain of light)
Rishod (Rightly-guided)
Ruslan
Rustam (A great hero in Persian folklore)

Sa’dulla
Salim (Safe)
Sayfuddin (Sword of the faith)
Server
Shamshod
Shavkat (Good)
Sherali
Sherzod
Shuhrat (Fame)
Shukur
Sobir
Suhrob (Red water or Illustrious, shining)

Timur (Iron)
Tohir (Chaste, virtuous, pure)
Turab
Tursunmurod
Ulug’bek (Great chieftain)
Umid (Hope)
Umurbek, Umarbek
Utkirbek

Xabibullo, Khabibullo
Yo’ldosh
Yoqub (Jakob)

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