Mongolian Names

Mongolian names differ markedly from the Anglo-Saxon model.

Read on, and avoid calling your guide by her father's name!

Mongolians Have No Last Name!

Mongolians have no surname. Instead, Mongolian children put their father's first name before their own. So instead of 'John Smith' your name would be 'Paul John'.

You can see how confusion can arise!

In the last Olympics, commentators often called Mongolian gold medal winners by their father's first name...

Mongolian Olympic Gold Medalist

'Badar' not 'Enkhbat' wins an Olympic boxing gold for Mongolia

Imagine a commentator calling David Beckham: "Ted"!

If your guide gives you two names, it's the last name you should use!

How To Pronounce Mongol Names

Knowing how to pronounce the names of Mongolians you meet will help you make friends and get people's attention.

When saying any Mongolian word, pronounce the vowels harshly. The vowels sound more like English lower-case than capital letter equivalents. For example, the drink 'cola'is pronounced as 'collar'.

Pronounce names any other way and no one will understand.

Shortened Names

If your guide has a long, unpronounceable name, ask them for the short version.

As a general rule, take the first syllable of the name and add the vowel to the end twice. For Example, Munkherdene shortens to Munuu.

Use the comments box below to get help on pronouncing a particular Mongolian name.

The Meaning Of Mongolian Names

Although English names have a meaning, few know them. The names originate in ancient or foreign languages. Mongolian names, on the other hand, use nouns in common use. Mongolians call one other Flower, Rainbow and Moonlight as a matter of course.

Mongolian parents have different methods for choosing baby names. Many Mongolian urbanites visit a Buddhist monastery and ask a lama. A more traditional method amongst Mongolian nomads names a child after the first object seen following birth. Others write different names on slips of paper and shake a bowl of rice until a name emerges.

Mongolian Names In Bowl Of Rice

But if your guide calls herself "Savage Dog," don't worry!

Parents often give sickly children names which seem cruel in the belief that malignant spirits will be misled.

In fact, one family I know has three children called 'Nobody'(Khunbish); 'Not This One'(Enebish); and 'Not that one'(Terbish).

Such names do not embarrass Mongolians!

Popular Mongolian Baby Names

Many Web pages contain lists of Mongolian male and female names.

But beware...

Many lists come from Inner Mongolia and include Chinese names. In Mongolia itself, hardly any Chinese names have entered the language.

Other lists apply Romanization inconsistently. I have seen the Mongolian letter "X" represented as 'K', 'Kh', 'H', 'Q'and 'X'.

I compiled the following list from friends and family using standard Romanization...

Names For Mongolian Men

  • Toddkhuslen - A clear Wish
  • Batkhuyag - Strong Warrior
  • Munkhjargal - Eternal happiness
  • Batzorig - Strong Courage

Names For Mongolian Women

  • Solongo - Rainbow
  • Odtsetseg - Star Flower
  • Odgerel - Starlight
  • Sarangerel - Moonlight

And The Most Famous Mongolian Name...

Genghis Khan Statue And Me

Everyone knows the name Genghis Khan. But few know that his real name was Temuujin of the Borjigin clan.

'Genghis Khan' was a title.

Foreign Names In Mongolia

Mongolians have borrowed names from other cultures such as Tibet and Russia.

The most bizarre name comes from Soviet times. Melscho combines the initials of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Choibalsan (a former Mongolian president).

Mongolian Names In English

As Mongolia enters the modern world, many Mongolian Children are taking names with phonetic equivalents in English. Two such names are: 'Tod', which means 'clear'; and 'Mishell', which means 'smile'.

But one Western name you may want to avoid using is 'Alan'.

In Mongolian 'alan' means "I will kill you!"

Want A Name Translating?

Have an intriguing Mongolian name to share, use the comments box below!

If you don't know the meaning, we will translate it for you!

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