Choosing a name for the Ladybug


Niki Tehranchi
by Niki Tehranchi

It's official.  Hubby, SweetPea, and I will be joined by a little Ladybug sometime in mid to end of April.  Now the race is on to find the perfect name for her.  I am hoping for some great suggestions from you all.  I have been pestering family and friends for a couple of months and now it's your turn!

A few requirements:

1) It has to be an Iranian name.

2) Easy to pronounce in English.

3) Nice meaning.

This might sound easy but it's not.  Take requirement number 3 for example.  Hubby and I have been madly googling lists of Iranian baby girl names and some of them have the strangest meaning, at least according to the authors of those lists.  Like Meshia, which is supposed to mean butter made from sheep's milk.  Excuse me? Or Masstaneh, which supposedly means drunken.  Mmmm, I don't think so. Kimya was so cute but it translates as "alchemy" the ancient legend of turning metal into gold.  Errrr, I have no plans to name my daughter after bad science.  What's next? Miss Intelligent design? Miss Eugenics? I have always loved the name Sheyda but was sad to discover it means lovesick. I don't want to put a self-fulfilling prophecy on my little girl!

The second requirement is even more difficult.  I know, I know.  You can never protect your kids from schoolyard bullying and if a kid is bent on it, he or she can make even the most simple names into an insult.  That is a joy of kids that age.  We are supposed to give our kids the skills to deal with that kind of bullying no matter what names they have.  But I mean, we are planning to live and raise our kids in a predominantly Anglophone part of the world so really, giving her a name that both reflects her heritage but won't be butchered every day of her life is kind of important.  If I were living in Iran, I would have no qualms about naming her Shaghayegh or Khatereh.  In my book, those are the two most beautiful and romantic names for Iranian girls EVER.  One is a beautiful flower and reminds me of that Dariush song.  The other is so evocative.  But in English, she would probably end up being called Shaggy or Kkkhhhh....?  So no Kh or Gh sound please.  I love Nazanin too, what a sweet name, but I can just picture her being called a "Nazi" at some point.   Hubby has always loved the name and meaning of "Assal."  Which immediately made me think someone is going to end up calling her "asshole." Nuff said.

In her hilarious book Funny in Farsi, Firouzeh Dumas speaks of her battle to recognize her name in a crowded waiting room, with everyone turning to look at her as some impatient nurse or receptionist struggles with everything from Fritzy to Froozie to "I can't pronounce this F-word."  For a while she took on an American moniker, Julie.  This led to some strange cloak and dagger lifestyle where she would be constantly under stress that her friends who knew her as Julie and her friends who knew her as Firoozeh would one day meet and unmask her like some sort of evil twin from a soap opera.  She finally gave up Julie and returned to the F-word, for better or worse.  I really don't want to have my children go by one set of names at home and one set of names at school.  That might work for some people and that is great.  But I think it would be too confusing for us. 

We just got back from a trip where we visited my mom's side of the familty, and three of my younger cousins have two sets of names, plus a couple of invented nicknames that just developed over the years as terms of endearment. And our whole extended family of about twenty five people use all those monikers interchangeably often in the course of one conversation.  Which would often result in my husband's head exploding from confusion.  

"Me: Hubby, can you call Arezoo and make sure she is ready to be picked up. 

Hubby: sure.

Then five minutes later:

Me: So did you call Amy, was she ready?

Hubby: Who the heck is Amy?

Me (as if it is so obvious): Khob Arezoo digeh!

Five minutes later:

Me: Hurry up and get ready, we don't want to be late for Zoo-Zoo.

Hubby: What the hell is a Zoo-Zoo?

Me: Hamoon Amy.

Hubby: I thought her name was Arezoo.

Me: It is!!!"

You get the picture.


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Congratulations Niki! What happened to Sara or Tara?!

by Anonymouse on

Nice name.  BTW Shahram Shabpareh named her daughter Donya too.  Here's the album with her name as title and it's pretty good, happy and dance music CD! 

Everything is sacred.


Congratulations to you all!

by Monda on

Beautiful name! 

Red Wine


by Red Wine on

I am so happy for you :=) .

Nazy Kaviani

Here comes the world!

by Nazy Kaviani on

Congratulations Niki Jan! How wonderful your family must feel right now! I am absolutely delighted with your latest development and with your baby's health and beautiful name. A daughter of Iran with a name which is hopeful and embracing of the world. Good choice. Happy life azizam.

Jahanshah Javid


by Jahanshah Javid on

Mobarak Basheh! What a beautiful name you chose. Very happy for you :)

Niki Tehranchi


by Niki Tehranchi on

Ladybug was born April 21, 2010 a healthy baby girl.  We decided to name her...


Thank you to all of you who wrote in with your suggestions, hubby and I deeply appreciate it.

Best to you, and please don't forget Mother's Day coming up this Sunday May 9.



Niki Tehranchi

Nazy Jan thank you

by Niki Tehranchi on

and thank you to all of you for your contributions.  I think hubby and I are ready to make our decisions now.  Will keep you posted...:o)

Nazy Kaviani

Am I too late?!

by Nazy Kaviani on

Niki Jan, congratulations! Happy life to your beautiful family. A baby girl is a dream come true! I'm so happy for you.

I am all for girl names which end in the sound "aa," because they are easy to pronounce for Americans and because Americans automatically assume that a name ending in "a" is a girl's name. Guys with names like Nima and Dara and Bardia have a lot of problems in the US, as you may know.

Please consider the following names. Where I have put in two aa's, I am only trying to point to the way the name is pronounced, not to the way it should be spelled.

Dennaa or Dena--name of a mountain in Fars Province
Daana--means knowing
Tavana--means able/powerful
Borna--means young
Tara--means star
Taaba--means gold
Jaanaa or Jaanaan--friend, lover, revered, cherished
Rahaa--means free
Maana--means everlasting
Yara--courage, strenth

Those were names along your wish list.

If I had a daughter, I would have named her Shiraz. Now there's a name which is Iranian, beautiful, and everyone can pronounce it by now.

Happy life sweet Niki. Here's wishing you the very best for a safe journey to completing your family. Happy New Year!



by tissa on

My sister's name is Melody.  It's a good name, and she never got teased about it, though some people call her Melanie by mistake.  Much better than me who's been called Toss, Tesh, and even Tissue.  Good luck and congrats!!



by Tahirih on

I suggest Saba, it is Iranian,  easy to say, and it's meaning is beautiful( a poetic breeze).



From your list I vote for Lila but

by Mehrban on

to push for my suggestion; if you like Russian names Ariana rymes with Tatiana, and it also means the Iranian girl.   But I would choose Lila or Tara any day too.  

The Phantom Of The Opera

No political motto for the mother-to be

by The Phantom Of The Opera on

I was dragged into this sensational blog of yours. I hope your life will be filled with love and health. As I am fighting my inner devil in order to quell the urge for politicizing the tender issue at hand ; let me tell you that "Melody", is my choice. It carries a beautiful concept and, maybe more importantly for us living here, it won't be subject to mispronunciation and, spelling error.   




Everybody gets one vote! Good list. Please no election fraud!

by Anonymouse on

The list is very good and tough to choose.  So ..... I'll vote for .......


Everything is sacred.

Niki Tehranchi

my short list

by Niki Tehranchi on














Okay well maybe that wasn't such a short list!


Niki jaan r u going to downsize to few names & ask us to vote?!

by Anonymouse on

Maybe in a different blog; choosing ladybug2?! 

Everything is sacred.

Niki Tehranchi

Shaghayegh Shaghayegh Gole Hamishe Ashegh...

by Niki Tehranchi on

Honestly, one of the most beautiful names out there, I agree with you Farah.  However, for reasons mentioned in my blog, I am weary of using it since it has the potential to be seriously butchered (Shaggy, Shagga, Shagayag, Shagga-Yuk, etc).  It's kind of like deciding to name your kid Anne or Kira, beautiful names in English speaking countries,  but when you expect to live in Iran, you just know the kid is going to be teased to death!

Niki Tehranchi

I love Russian names

by Niki Tehranchi on

I don't know why, maybe cause I read and enjoyed so much of their literature. Misha, Natasha, Nadia, Sonya, Larissa (from Dr. Jhivago!), Nikita.  They just sound so incredibly romantic.  I never knew that Misha is also derived from persian.  What a beautiful meaning.  That was a really interesting tidbit and no, I definitely don't know anyone Iranian named Misha.  Although I know someone named Michka.  Is that derived from Misha too or somewhere else?  That is such a cute name too.


A name that is proven to be successful

by turquoise on

Hi Niki joon,

I would like to recommend my own name, Misha. It fits all of your requirements. I am now in my thirties and have always loved my name. When school kids found many things to tease me about (where I'm from, my Iranian features, being short ) they could never touch my name! It was too cool and simply unteasable!

It is not a very common Iranian name and in fact is quite international. I'm sure you are familiar with Misha (or Mischa) as a nickname for the Russian name Mikhail. However, in Persian it comes from Hamishegee or Hamisheh Bahar (eternal or eternally spring). Some friends used a nickname for me, Meesh, but for the most part people use the full two syllables.

I wish you the best of luck. Do let me know if you choose to use Misha!

Anonymous Observer

Neda, Nava, Ava and Sheida

by Anonymous Observer on

Unless someone has already mentioned them (I din't read all the comments).

Farah Rusta


by Farah Rusta on

I hope you don't mind my chipping in with an offering which meets only two out of three of your criteria but this single name is the embodiment of many tender sentiments. Besides, you may wish to choose a middle name which is the English equivalent of Shaghayegh: Poppy.

With best wishes



More choices ...

by Anonymouse on

Tina, Mina, Mona 

Everything is sacred.

Niki Tehranchi


by Niki Tehranchi on

Abarmard, that was some funny piece of advice :o)  I don't know why, for some reason, the story of how Flaubert would be holed up in his attic screaming out every sentence of his novel Madame Bovary one by one to see if it sounded right came to mind when I read your comment!  I actually think it is great to practice saying the name to see if it rolls off the tongue quite as easily as one would hope.

Minoo, MM and Mouse I totally agree with what you say. I already decided the name should be 2 syllables only especially since their last name (which will be their dad's name) is already 4 syllables long.  Even with that, I am sure their friends will find a way to shorten them further.  And it should be not only easy to pronounce in English but also same pronunciation.  I named the SweetPea "Kian" and usually people get it the first time (one of the benefits of living in Southern California is that Americans are already pretty much used to Iranian names and their pronunciation).  If they give it the American pronunciation (rhymes with Ian) one correction is all that is needed and they always have remembered afterwards. 


Whatever name you choose

by Abarmard on

Yell it out loud as if you are talking to a person cross the street, example: "Your daughter's name here, go clean you room" and see how comfertable you are. You might find this to be very efficient in the future ;)




by Minoo66 on



I'd add a 4th requirement; the name should look good on resume!

by Anonymouse on

School bullys aside I'd add that the name should look good on a resume. I'd also say that I'd add a middle name, so the kid won't be asked a million times what is your middle name! Maybe one name Persian and one name American, first or middle doesn't matter.

Also, I'd vote for names that are dual usage, a name that is prounounced the same in both English and Persian.  And simplicity! So I'd vote for names like Sarah, Anita, Roxana, Kiana, Maryam, Leila, Niki, Susan. 

Lastly I think the hardest part in picking a name is to NOT dismiss names so easily!  First thing we do is dismiss a name, instead of embracing it.  Embrace!  Thousands points of lights (Dana Carvey's impersonation of Bush Sr. on SNL touching his fingers ;-)

Everything is sacred.


tabrik Niki - here is my two cents worth

by MM on

tabrik Niki,

From your conversations with the hubby, it sounds like you have experienced settling with two names.  OK then, choose one as first, the other as the middle name, and this way you are both satisfied.  I like many of the names noted here, especially Mitra.  But, in general, what I recommend is to get hold of the book that lists all Persian names and look for:

* short names: your daughter will end up shortening whatever long name you give her (especially her friends).  You might as well shorten it now.

* no names containing "kh" or "gh" (unless you have to because it was her grandmother's name!).  If you have a friend named khosro, you will know what western folks call him and will know what I mean.   

* names that are used in both languages such as Lilly, Sarah, Shiela (Zhiela in Farsi, as in zhapon/Japan the country) and Mandana (which becomes Mandy, for short).

* Neda is becoming popular, and no one with fault you with choosing it, but at the same time, it IS a reminder of a sad segment of a story that is still in progress.

* and finally, a name that goes with your last name Tehranchi.  So, line them up and narrow them down.

good luck and enjoy her for years and years to come

Jeesh Daram

of course

by Jeesh Daram on

we need to remember that neither Laily, nor Leila or Majnoon are Persian names. They are all Arabic names entered into Persian, hence made famous by Nezami Ganjavi. But then, please don't mind my interruption.


I'm all for it! Clapton honorary Iranian of the Day

by Monda on

I wanted to name my girl Layla.  Yeah I know everything about that song too :o) it's one of my favorite songs of all times.

Niki Tehranchi

funny you mention Eric Clapton

by Niki Tehranchi on

I love that song Layla, both the early rock version and the later acoustic version.  He wrote that song because he was in love with the then wife of Beatles member George Harrison, Patty Boyd, who would eventually leave Harrison and marry Clapton.  However the fact that he named the song "Layla" was inspired by none other than the Persian romantic tale of Leyli and Majnoon, that a friend of Clapton had related to him earlier.  Isn't that cute?  We should make Clapton an honorary Iranian of the Day :o)


Niki jan Wait for mine! I just saw this!

by Monda on

Tara, Neda, Maryam, Leyla (like Eric Clapton's song), Shadi

I wish you the best until April. And then tons of fun afterwards when you and your hubby catch up on your sleep.