In this guide to Lithuanian names, we will cover names inspired by Lithuanian history, literature, and mythology. We will also see some nature-inspired names.
The table below contains some of the most common names found in Lithuania. Not all of these names are of Lithuanian origin. (This table is continued at the end of the article)
|female names||male names|
Lithuanian names can often be distinguished as male or female based on their endings. Masculine names typically end in (-as, -is, -us), while female names usually end in vowels.
While most Lithuanian names follow this pattern, one well-known exception is the male name Jogaila which ends with a vowel. Jogaila was a Grand Duke and the last pagan ruler of medieval Lithuania. This name which means “strong and determined” remained popular over the centuries.
Many ancient Lithuanian male names of pre-Christian origin — such as Algirdas, Gediminas, Kęstutis, and Vytautas — are still widely used in Lithuania. These are the names of the most admired historical leaders of Lithuania. When the country regained its independence in 1918 — after 100 years of Russian occupation — these names came back in use and they remain popular to this day.
Gediminas, for instance, is the name of the knight who founded Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, in the 14th century. The central square of Vilnius has a statue of Gediminas on his horse, and the main avenue of the city is named after him.
Mindaugas is another typical Lithuanian name associated with a historical figure. Mindaugas was a Grand Duke and the only King of Lithuania. He is considered the founder of the Lithuanian state. Being an honored historical figure, Mindaugas and his name remain popular in Lithuania.
Fewer female Lithuanian names from pre-Christian times are still in use. But those that are — such as Birutė, Aldona, and Ona — are widely used. These were the names of the wives and daughters of Lithuanian Dukes.
During the Soviet era, Lithuanian pre-Christian names continued to be given to children as a form of anti-Soviet statement and an attempt to preserve the Lithuanian heritage.
During the pagan era, it was common to use nature-related words as names, and this practice is the origin of several Lithuanian names.
In recent times, nature-inspired names have become very popular in Lithuania. For instance, the name Liepa, meaning “linden tree,” has consistently ranked among the most popular female names over the past decade. Other Lithuanian names derived from tree names include Ąžuolas, meaning “oak,” and Eglė, meaning “spruce.”
It is fascinating how some traditional names undergo changes over time. For example, the boy's name Ąžuolas has recently started to be used in the form Ąžuolė as a girl's name.
Flowers are the origin of some Lithuanian names, such as Ramunė (meaning “chamomile”) and Mėta (meaning “mint”).
Other Lithuanian names derived from natural elements include Audra (meaning “storm”) Rasa (meaning “dew”), Saulė (meaning “sun”), and Gintaras (meaning “amber”).
These names came back to popularity at the beginning of the 20th century and are widely used due to their simplicity and uniqueness.
During the 20th century, there has been a tendency in Lithuania to give children two names: a Christian name and a Lithuanian name. For example, Jonas Vytautas, or Marija Birutė.
In this way, parents could honor their national identity and their religion. Although this tradition declined for a period, it resurfaced at the beginning of the 21st century.
An example of a famous Lithuanian individual with a double name is Algirdas Mykolas Brazauskas, the first president of the newly independent post-Soviet Lithuania.
Lithuanian double names which are common nowadays include Ana Marija, Vytautas Antanas, and Milda Kotryna. Double names don’t necessarily have to be a combination Christian and a traditional Lithuanian name: parents are free to choose the names they prefer and the combination of which sounds good.
Literature has also had an impact on Lithuanian names: some popular names such as Jūratė, Kąstytis, and Žilvinas are the characters of famous novels.
For instance, the name Jūratė, derived from a mythological goddess, gained popularity through the novel “Jūratė and Kąstytis” by the renowned Lithuanian author Maironis. Similarly, the name Šarūnas became popular thanks to the novelist Vincas Krevė.
Lithuanian mythology is the source of several beautiful names. When Lithuania converted to Christianity in 1387, the mythology survived thanks to preserved written sources. The pagan gods were transformed into folklore which is a part of Lithuania’s cultural heritage.
Lithuanian names originating from mythology include:
The Lithuanian forms of Biblical names are also extremely common, for example Marija (St. Mary), Jekaterina (St. Catherine), Jurgis (St. George), Jonas (St. John), and Paulius (St. Paul). The popularity of these names is easily explained by the fact that they can be easily adapted abroad when traveling or moving to other countries.
However, more and more names that do not follow the Lithuanian language system appear lately, especially within Lithuanian families that live in other countries. Also, families living abroad tend to choose names without Lithuanian vowels to make it simple for their children and the society they live in. Such names include Markas, Lukas, Matas, Kristina, Monika, Julija.
Also, these names can be easily adapted into English or certain other foreign languages. These names are not of Lithuanian origin, e.g. Matas is “a God’s gift” in Hebrew and Kristina stands for “follower of Christ” and originates in Scandinavia. One of the most popular boy names in the USA has been Jacob, while the Lithuanian version of it, Jokūbas, is also widely used in Lithuania for the last couple of years. Such common Lithuanian names as Mija and Benas are also often used in Germany (Mia and Ben).
Some Lithuanized German names are used in modern Lithuania as well. The reason behind it is the fact that German names were common in the region of Lithuania minor (part of East Prussia). Those names include Vilius (Wilhelm in German), Grėtė or Greta (Gretchen), Lukas (Lucas), Laura (Laura).
When it comes to the circle of relatives or close friends, it is not unusual to use diminutives where it is possible to create one by adding a suffix. For example, Kristina can be turned into Kristė, Kęstutis into Kęstas, Gediminas into Gedas, Jurgita - Jurga.
Our conversation style shows what we mean and explains our attitude, so these forms of address should only be used in informal situations to express tenderness to an adult or when talking to children.
Lithuanians place great importance on addressing people correctly, depending on the level of social closeness. Also, diminutives are not restricted to names and can also be used with numerous subjects or abstract entities.
Other currently popular names of Lithuanian origin are Aistė, Auksė, Goda, Miglė, Skaistė, Aurimas, Giedrius, Mantvydas, Naglis, Žygimantas and they always make it into the top of the most common names. Most of the popular names can have diminutives created from them.
Lithuanian is the oldest surviving Indo-European language written in a Latin script and has remained mostly unchanged due to insignificant outside influence.
That is also the reason the Lithuanian language seems to be very complex: it has not been simplified over centuries and its Proto-Indo-European features are not impaired.
The Lithuanian language is related to Ancient Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit. It is interesting to note that “God” is translated as “Dievas” in Lithuanian and “Deva” in Sanskrit.
As can be seen in some of the names appearing in this article, the Lithuanian language has additional vowels and decorated consonants such as letters ą, ė, ę, į, ų, ū, č, š, ž.
Surprisingly, these letters are easily recognized by people who speak Esperanto. However, the pronunciation of some Lithuanian letters differs significantly from the English ones:
Lithuanian has eleven different vowels which are separated into two types, one is a “short” one and the other one is a “long” vowel. “Short” ones are pronounced short (for example, letters “i” and “u”) and “long” ones are pronounced longer (“ū”, “ę”, etc).
Because of that rule, the name Šarūnas is pronounced as [:sharoonas]. It is important to mention that palatalization is also often used in the Lithuanian language and is its essential component.The bottom line
There are a wide variety of Lithuanian names, some of them are inspired by the history of Lithuania, while others are inspired by elements of nature, mythology, or religion.
Some names contain special letters which are specific to the Lithuanian language, while others have a spelling that does not include such letters.
Below is the 2nd half of the table from the beginning of the article containing some of the most common Lithuanian names:
|female names||male names|