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Meanings of Finnish Names

Aalto (surname)

This surname means wave.

Aamu (female name)

Finnish word aamu means morning and is used as a female name. Nameday February 2nd.

Aho (surname)

This surname means clearing, opening, glade, meadow or burnt-beaten field overgrown with grass. It was originally a house name given based on the location of the house.

Aili (female name)

Aili is an old Lappish name which has been used since the 1600's. The nameday for Aili is September 17th

Anelma

Anelma was "invented" in 1906 by Edla Kojonen (who was a keen advocate of temperance) for her daughter. It's derived from the verb anoa (=beg, ask). Nameday December 2nd.

Anja (female name)

Anja is originally Russian form of Anna. Slightly different (originally Spanish) spelling Anya is used fairly widely in many countries. The name day for Anja is October 22nd.

Anna (female name)

Anna is one of the most common names in Christian culture because of St. Anna, mother of Virgin Mary. It is the Greek form of Hebrew word "hannah" which means mercy. Anna has been used in Finland at least since the 1400's. Its nameday is December 9th. Other names with same origin are for example Anne, Anni, Anneli, Annika and Hanna.

Anne (female name)

A form of Anna especially popular in France, Germany and England. Anne's nameday December 9th. See Anna.

Anneli (female name)

Originally German form of endearment for Anna. Nameday December 9th.

Anni (female name)

Anni's nameday is December 9th. See Anna.

Annika (female name)

Originally German form of endearment for Anna. Nameday December 9th.

Annikki (female name)

Originally German form of endearment for Anna. Lady of the Forest was called Annikki in the Finnish national epic Kalevala. Nameday December 9th.

Camilla

Camilla is a very old name, probably Etruscan. In Roman mythology Camilla is a goddess who appears as a faster than wind huntress or a female soldier.

Emilia (female name)

Emilia is derived from the Roman surname Aemelius and is the sister name of Emil. Emilia and Emil have been popular in Europe since the 1700's. Most common English spelling of this name is Emily.

Esa (male name)

Esa is derived from Hebrew name Isaiah (meaning God is saviour). Nameday June 7th.

Fredrik (male name)

Derived from ancient Germanic words "fridu" shelter, protector, peace and "rich" which means area or powerful, mighty.

Fredrika

Sister name of Fredrik. Had a nameday in the Finnish calendar from 1794 to 1928 on September 19th.

Hanna (female name)

Hebrew word hannah means mercy. Also a short form of Johanna. Hanna's nameday is July 21st. See Anna.

Hannu (male name)

Hannu is Finnish form of Hannus which is the German short form for Johannes. Hannus has been mentioned in Finnish literature as early as 1363 and Hannu is still quite popular name for men. Nameday December 27th.

Hedvig

Quite rarely used in Finland. Old German name Hedwig "female fighter" includes two words meaning battle. The name was popular in the German speaking area all through the middle ages, which was influenced by the well liked St Hedwig, Duchess of Silesia, who was originally Polish princess Jadwiga (died 15.10.1234). The catholic church has celebrated her day October 17th since 1706 and October 16th since 1929. In Finland Hedvig was a queen's name, king Carl Gustav X's wife was Hedvig Eleonoora (died 1715). Hedda is the Nordic version of Hedvig.

Helmi (female name)

The word helmi means pearl but actually the name is shortened from Vilhelmiina. Nameday May 7th.

Helvi (female name)

Helvi is derived from Hedvig and is mostly used in western Finland. The name was made popular in 1900 by a youth-novel "Helvi" written by Hilja Haahti. Helvi's nameday is October 15th.

Henri (male name)

See Henrik.

Henriika

Sister name of Henrik.

Henrik

Henrik is Scandinavian form of Germanic names Haimrich ("haim" = home, house, "rich" = rich, powerful) and Heinrich ("hagan" = court, manor). The first bishop of Finland was named Henrik (or Henricus) and according to the legends he was killed by farmer Lalli on the ice of lake Köyliö in 1156.

Hjalmar

Hjalmar is an old Scandinavian male name which means "helmet wearing soldier". Nameday November 20th.

Ihanelma

This name's origin isn't that well known. The beginning of the name (Iha) was common in ancient Finnish names and the name was used mostly when national spirit was very strong after Finland gained independence. The beginning could be from word ihana which means wonderful. The name reminds of Anelma.

Ilta (female name)

Finnish word ilta means evening but originally the name was shortened from Matilda. Opera singer Anna Matilda Ekroos used Ilta as her stage name in the 1870's. Nameday July 9th.

Suomeksi!

Book in Finnish! Ismo (male name)

Ismo is a male name whose nameday is November 23rd. It's originally a nickname for Ismael (from Hebrew Jischmael, "God hears") which is a biblical name.

Jalmari

Finnish spelling of old Scandinavian male name Hjalmar. Nameday November 20th.

Jari (male name)

Jari was shortened from Jalmari by author Jalmari Finne (1874-1938) and was used the first time in 1937. The nameday for Jari is November 20th.

Jenna (female name)

Jenna has developed from Johanna and has the same nameday.

Johanna (female name)

Johanna is female version of Johannes. Names used in other countries which have same origin are for example Jane, Jenny, Joan, Juanita, Giovanna and Jeannette. Nameday July 21st.

Johannes (male name)

Johannes originates from Hebrew name Jochanan "Jahve is merciful" and is used in the Bible several times. The most common English forms of the name are John, Jonny and Jack. German Hans, French Jean, Swiss Jenni, Spanish Juan, Italian Giovanni, Russian Ivan and Vanja, Danish Johan, Jon and Jens and Hungarian János all have the same origin. Nameday June 24th.

Kai (male name)

Swedish form is Kaj, nameday 16.2., got into the Finnish calendar in 1950, (originally its nameday was 28.1. but it was later changed. Of course they had to choose my birthday :-) Now everyone thinks my parents had no imagination and just picked my name from the day I was born...) Kai originates from the Roman first name Caius which in ancient latin was pronounced Gaius. It's fairly popular name, in 1975 it was 33rd most common name for under 15 year olds and in 1981 it was 38th.

Kaija (female name)

Kaija does not have an actual meaning itself, it's one of the most common shortened forms of Katariina and has been used at least since the 1500's. Kaija's name day is November 25th.

Katariina (female name)

Katariina (Catherine, Kate, Katinka, Karin, Kitty and other similar names are its counterparts in other languages) comes originally from the Greek name Aikatherinee (=always pure). The name has become popular all over Christian world because of maiden Katharina who died as a martyr in Alexandria in 307. Her memorial day spread all over Europe during the Crusades. The name day for Katariina is November 25th.

Kimmo (male name)

Kimmo is used in traditional poems and became popular when the national spirit in Finland was very strong before we gainded independence. Since 1929 its nameday has been August 2nd.

Koivu (surname)

The word koivu means birch.

Kuusi (surname)

The word kuusi means spruce and is used as a surname.

Laine (surname)

Finnish word laine means wave or ripple. This surname is the 7th most common in Finland.

Lehtinen (surname)

Lehtinen as a word means leaflet but as a name it is derived from word meaning leaf (lehti) and suffix -nen which is common ending for names especially in Western parts of Finland. Lehtinen is the 12th most common surname in Finland.

Liisa (female name)

Liisa is very common Finnish form of Elisabet and was first mentioned in a list of names in 1879. Elisabet (first recorded in 1439) in turn is derived from a Hebrew name Eliseba which means "God is my oath". The name is used several times in Bible, for example the mother of John the Baptist was Elisabet. There is also St. Elisabet who was the daughter of the King of Hungary and was well known for helping the poor and sick. Other less common Finnish forms of the name are for example Liisi, Eliisa, Elisa, Elsa ja Aliisa. Nameday November 19th.

Lyyli (female name)

Lyyli is an alternate spelling for Lyydia (Lydia) which is an old biblical name. The spelling Lyyli was first used in 1859. Nameday May 23rd.

Magnus (male name)

Means "great" in Latin. Was often used by kings and other rulers as an epithet.

Maria (female name)

Originally Hebrew name whose meaning is uncertain. Maria (including its many variations like Mary, Marie, Marion, Mitzi) is probably the most common female name in Christian world. Nameday July 2nd.

Mauno (male name)

Finnish spelling of Magnus which is Latin for "great". Sometimes also was shortened from Immanuel. Nameday August 19th.

Maunu (male name)

See Mauno. Nameday August 19th.

Mika (male name)

Mika is shortened from Mikael. Nameday is also September 29th.

Mikael (male name)

From Hebrew, "who is like God". It is also the name of an archangel in Bible. Alternative spellings for this name used in other languages are Michael, Michel, Michele, Miguel, Michal and Mihail. Nameday September 29th.

Mikko (male name)

Mikko is shortened form of Mikael which has been used since the middle-ages. Nameday September 29th.

Milla (female name)

Milla has been used as a short form for at least three names, Emilia, Ludmila and Camilla. English equivalents are Millie and Milly. Its nameday is May 19th.

Mäki (surname)

Finnish word "mäki" means hill.

Niemi (surname)

Niemi means cape, spit or point of land and was given to a house located in a such place. It is also an old name and has been used at least since the 1300's.

Niko (male name)

Niko is shortened either from Nikolaus or Nikodemus. It's nameday is December 6th.

Nikodemus

Nikodemus is originally a Greek name and has similar meaning to Nikolaus because the Greek word demos also means people. Like Nikolaus Nikodemus is also a Biblical name. It's nameday is June 1st.

Nikolaus

Nikolaus is derived from the Greek name Nikolaos (in Greek nike means victory and laos means people) or it's Latin counterpart Nicolaus. The name is mentioned in the Bible and there are almost 30 saints called Nikolaus which explains the popularity of the name in the Christian world. Probably the best known of the saints is Santa Claus.

Paju (surname)

This surname means willow.

Pekka (male name)

Pekka is derived from old Finnish name Petrus (which in turn comes from the Greek name Petros which means rock), English name Peter has same origin as Pekka. Nameday June 29th

Perälä (surname)

Perälä means location rear or back and it was first used as a name for a house. First written records of the name are from the 1300's in Western Finland.

Petäjä (surname)

The word "petäjä" means pine and is often combined with other words which describe location like "mäki" (hill) or "niemi" (cape, spit or point).

Pirjo (female name)

Pirjo is originally derived from Birgitta and its nameday is October 7th. Birgitta in turn is alternate spelling for old Keltish name Brigida which means strength, power and highness. Brigantia was an Irish goddess of fire and light.

Päivä (female name)

The word päivä means day and is used as a female name. Nameday June 16th.

Päivärinta (surname)

Päivärinta is a farm name derived from the location of the farm. "Päivä" means day, sun or southern and "rinta" means slope, edge or brink. Päivärinta is originally Ostrobothnian name.

Raisa

Raisa has Greek origin and means light (as opposed to heavy, not dark). Raisa was a martyr for the Greek Catholic church who died in 308. It's most popular among the Greek Catholics (why it's common in Eastern Finland and Russia), but is also used elsewhere. The nameday for is February 9th.

Rauma

Rauma means in the dialects of Western Finland stream or streaming strait. There is also a city called Rauma on the SW coast of Finland.

Riika

Older less common spelling of Riikka.

Riikka (female name)

Shortened from names ending with -riika or -rika like Fredrika or Henriika. Nameday July 18th.

Saari (surname)

This surname means island.

Saima

Saima was the name of a Finnish nationalist newspaper published by J.V.Snellman in 1844-1846 when the nationlist movement was getting stronger in Finland. Saima is derived from Saimaa which is a large lake in Eastern Finland famous for its beauty. Nameday for Saima is June 10th.

Salmela (surname)

See Salmi.

Salmi (surname)

This surname means sound or strait and was usually derived from the location of the house. Salmela and Salminen have the same origin.

Salminen (surname)

See Salmi.

Sanelma (female name)

Sanelma was probably influenced by Anelma and was created the same way. The verb it was derived from could be sanoa (=say) or sanella (=dictate). If it was a real Finnish word (it isn't, it's just constructed like it could be), it would mean something like "short utterance"... Its nameday is August 5th.

Satu (female name)

Finnish word satu means fairytale. Satu is a fairly new name, it has been used since the early 1900's. The invention of the name was probably influenced by Swedish name Saga which has the same meaning. Satu's nameday is October 18th.

Seija (female name)

Seija is fairly new name and one of the very few names whose "father" is known. In the beginning of the 20th century a head of a division at the National Board of Education called Yrjö Karilas found name "Seia" in a book on religions of the world. Seia was ancient Roman god of new crop. Karilas combined that with an old Finnish word "seijas" (serene, calm, clear, tranquil) and got Seija. The first Seija was his daughter Ester Seija Karilas who was born in 1917 (that'd make the name the same age as the independence of Finland...) The Karilas' had a family friend who wrote a novel in 1924 called "The Story of Seija-girl" which made the name quite popular.

Seppo (male name)

Seppo comes from the Finnish national epic Kalevala and is alternative spelling of word "seppä" which means (black)smith. Seppo Ilmarinen is a master smith in Kalevala who creates the Sampo, a machine which produces endless riches.

Sirja (female name)

Sirja is derived from Estonian name Sirje which in turn comes from a traditional poem. Finnish and Estonian languages are quite closely related, so there are few names borrowed from one language to the other. Sirja is not yet very common name, but there are probably more than 1000 people with the name because that is the usual limit for a name getting a name day. Sirja's nameday has been September 30th since 1984.

Sisko (female name)

Finnish word sisko means sister. Nameday November 26th.

Sofia (female name)

Sofia is Greek word for wisdom. Alternative spellings used in other countries are for example Sophia, Sofie and Sophie. Nameday September 17th.

Suvi (female name)

Suvi means summer. This name is quite common as a first part in two-part names like Suvi-Marja, Suvi-Päivi and Suvi-Tuuli. Nameday June 7th.

Säde (female name)

This name means ray or beam (of light). The word säde has an additional meaning, radius. Nameday October 18th.

Taimi (female name)

Taimi is a female name and means seedling, sapling or young tree. The name originates from late 19th century or the beginning of this century when names derived from nature were very popular.

Taina (female name)

Taina is shortened from Tatjana (which is a name of a Roman Saint who was raised as a Christian by her father, refused marriage and helped the poor, visited prisons and healed the sick instead. She died as a martyr around 230.) and its nameday is October 13th.

Teemu (male name)

Teemu does not have any meaning itself but it is derived from the old Greek name Nikodemus (nike = victory, demos = people). There is at least one Nikodemus in the New Testament, which is probably why Nikodemus and other names derived from it are quite common where ever Christianity has spread. Teemu's nameday is June 1st.

Toni (male name)

Toni is shortened from Anttoni and Antonius. Nameday January 17th.

Tony (male name)

Originally English name which was shortened from Antonius. Nameday December 21st.

Tuija (female name)

Tuija (nameday February 25th since 1950) is a fairly new, beautiful sounding name, which originates from the vegetable kingdom; it's another name for the tree of life (thuja, thuya, arborvitae) which grows in the parks of Southern Finland. In 1969 Tuija was 18th most popular name for girls, in 1975 it was 19th and in 1981 33rd.

Tähti (surname)

The word tähti means star. This name is fairly recent and it seems to have been born in the beginning of 20th century when it was common to change foreign names to Finnish ones.

Uljas

Finnish word "uljas" means gallant or valiant. Nameday October 19th.

Ulla (female name)

Derived from Ulrika, Danish and German sources mention Ursula as its root. Nameday July 4th.

Ulrik

Derived from old Germanic name Udalrich which comes from the words "uodal" property, family estate and "rich" rich, powerful. English sources say the name is derived from Wulfric.

Ulrika

Sister name of Ulrik. Was made popular in Finland by Ulrika Eleonora (1688-1741) the daughter of King Karl XI. Nameday July 4th.

Urho (male name)

Finnish word "urhea" means brave, courageous, gallant or valiant. Nameday June 17th.

Ursula

Legendary saint from the 4th century who died as a martyr in Cologne. The name means small bear and is derived from Latin word "ursa", female bear.

Vaara (surname)

This surname means tree-covered hill or mountain. Finnish word vaara also means danger but that meaning is not related to this name.

Valo

The word valo means light.

Veli (male name)

Finnish word veli means brother. Nameday January 9th.

Vihtori (male name)

Finnish version of Viktor. Nameday March 22nd.

Viktor

Victor is Latin for winner and the name and its variations are among the most common in the Western world. Catholic church has about 40 saints named Victor.

Vilhelm

Originally ancient German name Vilhelm which roughly translates to "strong willed helmed man". French Guillaume, Spanish Guillermo, Italian Guiglielmo, German Willem and Will and English William all have their origin in Vilhelm. Vilhelm's nameday is April 6th.

Vilhelmiina

Vilhelmiina is the sister name of ancient German name Vilhelm which roughly translates to "strong willed helmed man". Names in other cultures with same origin include Willa, Vilma, Helmine, and Minette. Vilhelmiina's nameday is May 26th.

Ville (male name)

Ville is a very popular name shortened from Vilhelm. Nameday April 6th.

Virta (surname)

Finnish word virta means current, river or stream. The name has been given to dwellings near rivers and later it has become the name for the inhabitants too. The name has been used at least as early as 1546.

Virtanen (surname)

This is the most common surname in Finland and it has been used at least since 1684. Finnish word virta means current, river or stream and the name is probably derived from that.

Väinö (male name)

Väinö is shortened from Väinämöinen who is the main hero in the Finnish national epic Kalevala. Both names are derived from the word "väinä" which means "wide, deep, calmly flowing river". Nameday February 17th.

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last updated on: April 3rd, 2017

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