Some Persian Feminine Names and Etymologies
From the Timurid Dynasty
During the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the Timurid dynasty ruled a Persian empire. Their domain included the modern countries of Iran, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, as well as parts of the surrounding nations. John E. Woods' pamphlet The Timurid Dynasty gives a family tree of the Timurid rulers of Persian and their descendants, wives, and concubines, based on a manuscript composed in the fifteenth century. The Timurids were ethnically Mongol; the names of the Timurid dynasty display a mix of Mongol, Turkic, Arabic, and Persian roots. This article collects most of the etymologically Persian women's given names from The Timurid Dynasty; I have also given the etymology of each name, insofar as I could determine it.
The recorded names of the members of the Timurid dynasty display a mix of names, titles, and titular names such as Jahânshâh 'king of the world'. The distinction between given name and title is frequently blurred, as in the case of Sultânum Begum, whose name translates literally as 'princess lady'. In the list below, I have tried to err on the side of omitting names that might be titles, rather than including titles which sound like given names.
Name Etymology Bakht fortune Bakht Dawlat fortune authority Bakht Nigâr fortune painting/fortune beauty Dawlat wealth, authority Dawlat Bakht authority fortune Dil heart Dil Dâr heart-holding Dil Khûsh happy heart Dil Shâd happy heart Durr pearl Fâkhire glorious (?) Firuz Bakht successful fortune/turquoise fortune Firuze successful/turquoise Gawhar pearl, jewel Gawhar Shâd happy pearl Gul rose, flower Gul Badan rose body Gul Bîkî rose lady Gul Nâr pomegranate flower Gul Rang rose color Gul Rukh rose face Gul Shâh rose king Husn Nigâr beauty like a painting Jân soul, life La`l ruby Mihr Bânû sun lady Mihr Khush happy sun Mihr Nigâr sun beauty Mihr Nûsh immortal sun Nâr Gul pomegranate flower Nigâr painting, beauty Nurûz New Year Pîrûz victory Shâd Bakht happy fortune Shâh Bânû king lady Shahr Bânû lady of the land Shîrîn sweet
- John E. Woods, The Timurid Dynasty, Bloomington: Indiana University, Papers on Inner Asia no. 14, 1990
- Available from the Sinor Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies at Indiana University.
By Ursula Whitcher, alias Ursula Georges, 2012