Vietnamese Names And Their Meanings: Unveiling Vietnamese Naming Traditions

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In the United States, over 1.5 million people speak Vietnamese. This language has an interesting naming tradition where the family name comes first, followed by the middle and given names. Therefore, if you plan on giving your child a Vietnamese name in an English-speaking country, you might want to rearrange the names on their birth certificate. Opting for a Vietnamese name is a wonderful way to pay tribute to your family's heritage. Check out some of the trendiest Vietnamese names for both boys and girls.

Vietnamese Male Names


Minh means “bright” or “intelligent” in Vietnamese. It is a popular name that signifies wisdom and knowledge. The name Minh serves as a reminder of the importance of knowledge and the power of intellect in Vietnamese society. With its deep cultural significance and widespread popularity, Minh is a name that holds a special place in Vietnamese culture.


Duc translates to “virtue” or “morality” in Vietnamese. This name reflects the importance of ethical values and good behavior. It serves as a constant reminder of the importance of ethical principles and being well-behaved, inspiring individuals to strive for personal growth and contribute positively to their communities.


Anh means “peace” or “calm” in Vietnamese. It is a name that conveys a sense of tranquility and harmony. This simple yet powerful word beautifully captures the essence of tranquility and harmony. The name Anh serves as a constant reminder to prioritize inner peace and emotional well-being. It encourages individuals to cultivate a sense of tranquility through practices such as meditation, mindfulness, and self-reflection.


Quang signifies “light” or “brightness” in Vietnamese. This name symbolizes illumination and clarity. In Vietnamese culture, the name Quang is highly regarded and carries a sense of honor and respect. It represents the embodiment of positive qualities such as enlightenment, brilliance, and purity.


Nam translates to “south” in Vietnamese. It is a common name that represents direction and stability. Beyond its geographical connotation, Nam also carries a metaphorical meaning that resonates deeply with individuals. It symbolizes the idea of moving forward, progressing, and embracing change. 


Hai means “ocean” or “sea” in Vietnamese. This name evokes the vastness and depth of the sea. The ocean is a symbol of endless possibilities and boundless potential. It represents the unknown and the unexplored, reminding us of the vastness of the world and the wonders that lie beyond our reach. Similarly, the name Hai evokes a sense of curiosity and adventure, inviting us to explore the depths of our own potential and embrace the unknown with open arms.


Tuan signifies “reunion” or “gathering” in Vietnamese. It is a name that embodies the idea of coming together. This name carries a sense of warmth and unity, symbolizing the power of shared experiences and the joy that arises when people unite. It serves as a reminder that we are not meant to navigate life alone, but rather, we thrive when we join forces with others, forming bonds that transcend boundaries and differences.


Phuc translates to “blessing” or “good fortune” in Vietnamese. This name carries positive connotations of luck and prosperity. The cultural significance of the name Phuc extends beyond its literal meaning. Parents usually choose it with the hope that their son will lead a prosperous life and that his presence will bring blessings and good fortune to those around him.


Hoa means “flower” in Vietnamese. It is a beautiful and delicate name that symbolizes nature’s beauty. In Vietnamese culture, flowers hold a special significance. They are often used to convey emotions, celebrate special occasions, and honor loved ones. By bearing the name Hoa, one carries the weight of this cultural significance, becoming a symbol of love, celebration, and remembrance.


The name Long signifies “dragon” in Vietnamese culture, representing power, strength, and good luck. The name Long is highly regarded in Vietnamese society, and it is not uncommon to find individuals who choose to incorporate this name into their own. It is seen as a way to honor and embrace the cultural heritage and values associated with the mighty dragon.

Vietnamese Female Names


Linh means “spirit” or “soul” in Vietnamese. It is a popular name that symbolizes inner beauty and strength. Linh is a name that carries a sense of grace and elegance. It represents a person who exudes a natural beauty that comes from within. Linh's are often described as having a gentle and kind demeanor, which further adds to their allure.


Mai is a Vietnamese girl’s name that translates to “plum blossom”. This name signifies elegance, grace, and resilience. Just as the plum blossom gracefully blooms in the midst of winter, the name Mai exudes a refined and sophisticated aura. It is a representation of beauty and strength that lies within the person, making her a true embodiment of femininity and resilience.


Lan means “orchid” in Vietnamese. This girl’s name is associated with beauty, refinement, and sophistication. The name Lan serves as a reminder of the rich cultural heritage and traditions of Vietnam. It represents the deep-rooted appreciation for nature and its beauty that is ingrained in Vietnamese culture.


Thuy translates to “water” in Vietnamese. This female name symbolizes adaptability, fluidity, and purity. Water flows with elegance and poise, and those named Thuy often possess a similar grace in their movements, actions, and interactions. They have a certain charm and finesse that draws others towards them, making them captivating and enchanting individuals.


Huyen means “graceful” or “charming” in Vietnamese. It reflects a sense of elegance and allure. In Vietnamese culture, the name Huyen carries a sense of prestige and admiration. It is a name often associated with people who possess a unique blend of elegance, charm, and intelligence. 


Ngoc means “precious stone” or “gem” in Vietnamese. This name conveys value, beauty, and uniqueness. Ngoc is a name that encompasses the essence of a precious stone or gem. It represents worth, elegance, and individuality, making it a name that holds deep significance and meaning for those who bear it.


Trang translates to “moon” in Vietnamese. It symbolizes beauty, serenity, and femininity. Like the moon's soothing presence, Trang evokes a sense of serenity and harmony. It serves as a reminder to find solace in the stillness, to seek inner peace amidst the chaos of life. Trang encourages individuals to embrace moments of quiet reflection and to cultivate a tranquil state of mind.


Phuong means “phoenix” in Vietnamese folklore. Known as "Phượng Hoàng" in Vietnamese, the phoenix is a legendary creature that rises from the ashes of its own destruction. It is a symbol of rebirth and renewal, representing the ability to overcome adversity and emerge stronger than ever before. Similarly, the name Phuong carries the essence of this mythical bird, signifying the power to rise above challenges and embrace new beginnings.


Thu translates to “autumn” in Vietnamese. This name carries an inherent sense of strength, signifying change, maturity, and wisdom. Just like the changing leaves, individuals named "Thu" are believed to possess a unique ability to adapt and embrace change. They are seen as resilient and flexible, able to navigate through life's challenges with grace and ease. 


Diep means “petal” or “leaf” in Vietnamese. This simple yet elegant name encapsulates the essence of delicacy, beauty, and a profound connection to nature. It is a name that carries a sense of grace and fragility, reminiscent of the delicate petals of a flower or the gentle rustling of leaves in a forest. The name Diep also carries a sense of tranquility and serenity, as it conjures images of peaceful gardens or serene landscapes. It serves as a reminder to embrace the beauty and tranquility that nature offers, encouraging individuals to find solace and peace in the natural world.

Why Do Vietnamese Have 3 Names?

The three-name system in Vietnam consists of the family name (ho), the middle name (ten dem), and the given name (ten). The family name is passed down from one generation to another, representing the lineage and ancestry of the individual. It is typically shared by all members of a particular family, creating a sense of unity and belonging. 

The middle name, also known as the "second name," is unique to each individual within the family. It is often chosen by the parents and holds significant meaning. This name can be derived from various sources, such as the parents' aspirations for their child, a meaningful event, or even a personal trait they hope the child will possess. The middle name adds a personal touch to the individual's identity and distinguishes them from other members of the family who may share the same family name.

Lastly, the given name is the individual's personal name, which is often chosen by the parents or bestowed upon them by an elder. This name is used on a daily basis and is how individuals are commonly addressed. It reflects the parents' hopes and aspirations for their child and can be influenced by cultural, religious, or historical factors.

The three-name system not only helps to differentiate individuals within a large population but also plays a crucial role in maintaining respect and hierarchy within Vietnamese society. It allows individuals to address each other formally, using appropriate titles and names based on age, social status, and relationship. This practice fosters a sense of respect and honor for one's elders and ancestors, as well as a deep appreciation for the importance of family and lineage.

Furthermore, the three-name system serves as a way to preserve Vietnamese cultural heritage and identity. It connects individuals to their ancestors and roots, emphasizing the importance of family and the continuation of traditions. By carrying on the family name and passing it down to future generations, Vietnamese people honor their ancestors and ensure the preservation of their family lineage.

What Is A Traditional Vietnamese Girl's Name? 

Traditional Vietnamese names are often gender-specific, with distinct names for males and females. This practice helps to distinguish and celebrate the unique qualities and roles associated with each gender. While some names may be unisex, most names have a clear association with either masculinity or femininity.

The popularity of Vietnamese names can vary across different generations. Older generations tend to favor more traditional names, which have been passed down through generations and carry a sense of historical and cultural significance. These names often have deep roots in Vietnamese folklore, literature, or historical figures.

For example, the name Hoa, which means "flower," is a popular choice for girls. It symbolizes beauty, grace, and delicacy. It also represents the natural world and the harmony between humans and nature, which is highly valued in Vietnamese culture.

Huong is another classic female Vietnamese name that is widely used. It means "fragrance" or "aroma" and is associated with pleasant scents and a sense of elegance. This name reflects the Vietnamese appreciation for sensory experiences and the importance of creating a pleasant atmosphere.

Thi is a traditional Vietnamese name that is often given to girls. It carries the meaning of "poetry" or "literature" and represents the cultural significance of art and intellectual pursuits in Vietnamese society. This name reflects the value placed on education, creativity, and the power of words.

Lan is a timeless Vietnamese name that is commonly given to girls. It means "orchid," which is a symbol of beauty, refinement, and strength. This name represents the grace and resilience that Vietnamese women are admired for.

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