Serbian Girl Names: a comprehensive guide

Serbian girl names are beautiful and deep in symbolism. As you uncover their roots and meanings, you’ll realize the different views and positions of individuals in the past and nowadays.

Serbian is a Slavic language, so many Serbian girl names are derived from Slavic words.

In the 9th century, with the arrival of Christianity, the Serbian language adopted and adapted several Biblical names which originate from languages such as Latin, Greek and Hebrew.

Finally, in the modern era, some international names have entered the Serbian language.

The Most Popular Serbian Girl Names

The most popular Serbian girl names include names which have Slavic roots, as well as names adapted from other languages such as ancient Greek and Hebrew.

Below is a list of some of the most popular Serbian girl names, with some linguistic explanations of their origins and meanings.

Sofija

Sofija is a popular Serbian girl name derived from the Greek name Sophia (Σοφία) which means “wisdom”.

It is also the name of Saint Sophia or Sophia the Martyr who had three daughters named after the three great virtues: Faith (Vera), Hope (Nada), and Love (Ljubav). In Greek, they are Pistis, Elpis, and Agape.

Dunja

Dunja is another popular Serbian girl name which can be traced back to the Greek language. This name went through various changes from Ancient Greek κυδῶνια μῆλα, then Κυδωνία, and Latin: Cydonia mala.

Later on, in Slavic versions, it refers to the quince tree and fruit. The meaning is the same today as it was in the past.

Mila

In addition to being a girl's name, Mila is in an adjective in Serbian which means “dear”, “sweet”, or “gracious”.

The Slavic root mil- can show the relations with the world and characteristics of individuals who have this element in their names.

For example, with the given name parents would express their wishes for their daughter to be dear, gracious, and similar.

Mila can also be the short form derived from these names: Milosava, Milka, etc.

Milica

Milica is a popular feminine name in Serbian. It can also be the expression of endearment if someone’s name is Mila or similar. Milica is one of the most common girl names in Serbia.

This name is formed from the Slavic root word « mil- » (meaning “kind”, “dear”) and the suffix « –ica ».

The bearer of this name is a person surrounded by grace, kindness, or sweetness. Another possible meaning points to the mentioned qualities within the one who bears this name.

Tara

The melodic name Tara with various meanings can be found in many Indo-European languages and folklore. One of the meanings is to “be solid, firm, steadfast”.

It has become popular among the top Serbian baby girl names in recent years. It likely owes its origin to Tara Mountain which is part of the Dinaric Alps in western Serbia. Also, there’s the Tara River in Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Una

The feminine name Una comes from the border River Una between Serbia’s neighboring countries, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. In Latin, “Una” means “the unique one” or “the one”.

Nađa

The English version of Nađa would be Nadia or Nadya. In Serbia, this name comes from Russian (Надя). It can also be a diminutive form of Nadežda meaning “hope”.

Nikolina

Nikolina is a popular Serbian girl name which is derived from the male name Nikola by adding the suffix –ina.

The name Nikola is related to the Greek St. Nicholas, Nikolaos (Νιðόλαος), the patron saint of sailors and travelers.

This compound name consists of the parts "victory" (nikē; νίκη;) and "people" (laos; λαός). The meaning is “a victory of the people“.

Sara

The famous name Sara comes from Hebrew (Sara) and means “princess”. She’s a biblical character, the wife of Abraham and mother of Isaac.

Going further back, “Sarah” or “Sarai” is related to Akkadian Sharratu "the Queen." Akkadian was the Eastern Semitic language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia.

Teodora

Teodora is a popular girl name in Serbian which is derived from the Greek male name Teodor ( Theódoros, Θεόδωρος). Etymologically, this compound name comes from two Greek words “theos” (θεός) + “doron” (δῶρον).

In other words, it’s the following formation: “God” + “gift”. It means “God’s gift”. Saint Theodora was the powerful 6th-century Byzantine Empress who was married to Emperor Justinian I.

Throughout history, there are many women with the name Theodora who are also Christian saints.

Flower Names for Girls in Serbian

Floral girl names are popular in many languages. For example, in the English language we find names such as Daisy, Iris, and Lily.

The Serbian language has its own collection of pretty flower-based girl names such as Ljiljana, Nevena and Dalija.

Nevena

Nevena is a derivative of the male name Neven meaning “marigold”. Another variant is Nevenka (Neven + the suffix "-ka").

Jasmina

The Serbian girl name Jasmina comes from Turkish yasemin and Persian yasaman. The meaning is “jasmine”. Another derivative is Jasminka (Jasmin + the suffix “–ka”).

Ljiljana

The elegant name Ljiljana comes from the Latin lilium meaning “lily”. The short form is Ljilja. Other variants with the same meaning are Ljiljanka and Lilijana. The short form of Lilijana is Lilka.

Ruža

The meaning of Ruža is the flower rose. The common diminutive forms that can also be proper names are Ružica and Ruška.

Georgina (Dalija)

Georgina is one of the rarest Serbian girl names. The flower georgina (German: Georgine) is mostly used as “dahlia” around the world today.

However, the name Dalija and similar variants are becoming more popular on the baby name lists in the Balkan region.

Jorgovanka

The rare girl name Jorgovanka owes its origin to the beautiful purple flowering plant lilac.

Other Serbian Botanical Names for Girls

In addition to flower-based names, the Serbian language has some pretty girl names which originate from botanical terms.

Many of these Serbian botanical girl names have been around for a long time and are based on Slavic words.

Malina

The name Malina comes from the Slavic word for the “raspberry” plant and fruit. Another form of this name is Malinka.

Višnja

The meaning of Višnja connects us to the Slavic name for the tree and fruit of “sour cherry”.

Jagoda

The food-inspired name Jagoda originates from the term for the strawberry fruit. The diminutive is Jagodica meaning “little strawberry”. Other variants are Jagodina and Jagodinka.

Javorka

Javorka is an old and rare name. Derived from the male name Javor, reveals the name of the tree – “maple” ( Javor + the suffix “-ka”= Javorka). Other names with the same root are Javorika and Javorinka.

Drena (Drenka)

Drena and Drenka are Serbian girl names which owe their origin to a medicinal plant which is called « dren » in Serbian. In Latin, the name for « dren » is “Cornus mas” or the Cornelian cherry in English.

Now, people may regard this name as old and forgotten. However, the ancestors may have named children as mentioned to protect them.

In the distant past, the amulet made from this tree was used against spells and diseases. Today, people still use the old Serbian saying “zdrav kao dren”, meaning “healthy as a cornel”.

Traditional Female Serbian Names

Dithematic Slavic Names

Dithematic Serbian names consist of two themes or lexemes of Old Slavic origin. They express a wish for a newly-born child. Their meaning can connote the values wished to be obtained in these early times.

From the modern view, it can sometimes be difficult to understand the relation between two parts of the compound names. Some of the reasons may be in the fact that people in the past had different motifs, word meanings, and needs.

Vidos(l)ava

The name Vidosava comes from the element derived from the verb videti (“to see”) and slava (“glory”, “fame”, “honor”). So, the focus is on the bearer of the name and she is likely “the one who sees the glory coming” or “the one who beholds the glory”. The short form is Vida.

Vukos(l)ava

The folk name Vukoslava consists of these parts: vuk (“wolf”) + slava (“glory”). Another variant is Vukosava. Vukoslava is one of the oldest Serbian names recorded. The past records mostly focused on the male names. There is also a male name Vukos(l)av and the meaning is likely to be “a glorious wolf”. The short form is Vuka.

Wolves have been worshiped in many cultures across the world. Old Slavic and Old Germanic tribes tended to give protective names to their newborns. In the old Serbian naming customs, if the older siblings didn’t survive, a newborn son would get a protective name such as Vuk (“wolf”) so that witches couldn’t eat him. The names with the element vuk- can also connote the meaning “strong as a wolf” or other aspects.

Budimira

The compound name Budimira consists of the forms of the verb biti (“to be”) and mir (“peace”). The meaning refers to the wish for a newborn daughter to be peaceful.

There’s also another name with the same meaning Budimirka derived from the male name Budimir.

Radmila

The Serbian female name Radmila likely originated from the combination of two Serbian words: the verb « raditi » (“to work”, “to be industrious”) and the root « mil- » (“gracious”, “dear”, “sweet”). The meaning of this name would be “one who is industrious and sweet”.

Another possible origin for this name would be the combination of the Serbian verb « radovati se » (“to rejoice”) or the noun « radost » (“joy”, “happiness”) and the root « mil- » (“gracious”, “dear”, “sweet”). The meaning of the name, in this case, would be “one who is joyful and sweet”.

The short form of this name is Rada.

Most Common Serbian Feminine Names

Here are some of the most common Serbian feminine names of the second half of the 20th and the 21st centuries:

Zorica

Zorica is created from the name Zora in this way: Zor(a) + -ica. In Slavic mythology, Zora or Zorya is the Goddess of the Dawn. She is the daughter of Dazbog, the Sun God. Also, she is the wife of the highest god of the Slavic pantheon, Perun.

Snežana

The name Snežana owes its origin to the main character of the fairytale “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. The translation of the German Schneewitchen is “snow white”. The usual nicknames are Sneža and Sneška.

Dragana

The name Dragana is created from the Slavic root drag- (“dear”) + -ana. The usual nicknames are Gaga, Gaša, and Draga. The latter one can stand for the proper name as well.

Jelena

The name Jelena likely comes from Greek Eλένη meaning “the sunlight”. Other variants are Elena and Helena.

In Serbian history, many Queens, Empresses, Saints, and other prominent figures have got the name Jelena. One of them is Queen and St. Helen of Anjou which can be seen on the beautiful medieval frescoes and monasteries.

King Uros I welcomed his future queen by planting the lilacs along the Ibar River canyon to remind her of her home in Provence. Today, the Valley of Lilacs still exists and reminds visitors of this love story.

Marija

A pretty Serbian name for a girl is Marija (Greek Μαρία < Hebrew Maryam or Myriam). The English versions would be Maria or Mary. The names of endearments derived from Marija are Maja and Mara. They can also be proper names.

Aleksandra

In the Serbian language, Aleksandra comes from the Greek Aλεξάνδρα. The most common female derivatives are Sandra, Sanja, and Saška. The male version is Aleksandar Ἀλέξανδρος meaning “the defender of the people”.

Svetlana

Svetlana is a common Serbian feminine name which is derived from the adjective svetla- (“bright”) + -ana. The most common nickname for Svetlana is Ceca.

Jovana

Jovana is a common Serbian feminine name which derives from the male name Jovan. The meaning owes to the Hebrew – Iohanán meaning “God is gracious”.

Another frequent name with the same origin is Ivana. There are also many other forms and derivatives of the name Jovana. The common diminutive is Joca. The English version would be Joanna.

Gordana

The possible meaning behind the name Gordana refers to the adjective gord (“proud”, “dignified”). So, the bearer of this name is “the one who is proud” or “the dignified one”. The usual nickname is Goca.

Slavica

Slavica is a common Serbian girl name which comes from the Slavic root slava (“glory”). Another variant is Slavka.

Biljana

Biljana possibly relates to other Slavic variants such as Russian: Беляна, North Macedonian: Билјана, and Bulgarian: Биляна. The English version would be Bilyana.

The adjective forms bela/ белая/ бяла/ бела give this name meaning “white or fair-haired”. Another meaning may refer to the noun bilje (“medicinal herb”). Most common nicknames are Bilja, Biba, and Biljka.

Anđela

Anđela comes from Angela (Latin: Angelus; Greek: ángelos – ἄγγελος). The meanings are “angel“ or “messenger“. Other forms are Anđelija, Anđelka, and Anđa.

Modern Female Names in Serbian

Mia

Mia may come from the Italian word mia meaning “mine”. This name can be related to Maria, Amelia, or Maya. Also, another possible meaning “dear or beloved“ refers to the Slavic name Mila.

Ema

Ema is the short form of Emilija (Latin: Aemilia). The male name is Aemilius – Emil.

Ela

The worldwide spread name Ela may come from Elena, Helen, or Ella. Some of the meanings are “fairy maiden”, “goddess”, “light”, “girl”, and so many others.

Conclusion

At the end of this guide, you can see how diverse Serbian girl names are. Some magical Slavic names may entice your imagination. Others may lead you to the deep roots in history.

You can find the different or same meanings among various languages and cultures. All in all, we hope that this guide has given you some sparkles of insight into what you’re looking for.