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Burmese Names

For archive (Updated on January 26, 2019)

When we were young, we were taught that a name should have a Christian name and a surname.

Later, we were told that a name should have a First Name, a Last Name and an optional Middle Name or Initial.

Those rules do not apply to Burmese/Myanmar names.

Several well-known Burmese/Myanmar have a single word. They include

  • Thant (3rd Secretary General of the United Nations)
  • Nu (1st Prime Minister of the Union of Burma)
  • Thein (Journalist)
  • Thaung (Journalist)
  • Mya (Politicians and Entrepreneurs)

The names are prefixed with

  • Maung
  • Ko
  • U
  • Thakin
  • Name of publication (e.g. Kyee Pwa Yay, Kyemon)
  • Place (e.g. Hinthada, Pway Bwe).    

Names with two words

Most early Burmese/Myanmar names have two words. The names are chosen by parents and/or grand parents.

The names might comply with one of the common naming conventions.     For example, a Sunday born will have “Ah” (Sunday group) as the first word and “Ka, Kha, Ga Nge, Ga Gyi, Nga” (Monday group) as the second word.

The pattern is  DOW (Day of week) group followed by DOW + 1 (following Day of week) group.    

Examples :

  • Aung Khin (for Sunday born)
  • Khin Zaw (for Monday born)
  • Zaw Lwin (for Tuesday born)
  • Hla Myint (for Wednesday born)
  • Myint Thein (for Thursday born)
  • Than Naing (for Friday born)
  • Htay Aung (for Saturday born)

Patterns

Another pattern is to have the same first and second words.     Examples : Aung Aung, Khin Khin, Zaw Zaw, Hla Hla, Myint Myint, Than Than, Htay Htay    

Some siblings will have a common first name.     For example, Ba Thein, Ba Tu, Ba Oo, Ba Phyu    

Some siblings will have a common last name.     For example, Myo Paing, Soe Paing, Win Paing, Kyaw Paing    

Names with three words

Some Myanmar/Burmese names have three words. The names may or may not comply with a naming convention :

For example, a Sunday born will have “Ta, Hta, Da Dwe, Da Oke Chike, Na Nge” (Saturday group) as the first word, “Ah” (Sunday group) as the second word and “Ka, Kha, Ga Nge, Ga Gyi, Nga” (Monday group) as the third word.

The pattern is DOW – 1 Group as first word, DOW as second word, and DOW + 1 as third word.   

Examples :

  • Tun Aung Gyaw (for Sunday born)
  • Aung Kyaw Zaw (for Monday born)
  • Kyaw San Win (for Tuesday born)

Names with four or more words

  • Thane Oke Kyaw Myint
  • Khin Maung Thet Cho Oo (Cartoon character)

Names of siblings

Some siblings have the first two words in common.

Examples : 
Khin Maung U, Khin Maung Than and Khin Maung Win  are named after their father U Khin Maung.

         Khin Maung Gyi and Khin Maung Lay (Mutu) are named after their father H.E. U Khin Maung Latt (AFPFL).

Nicknames

There are some who are better known by their nicknames. They include

  • Ajala (Moe Hein)
  • Kabar (Myint Thein)
  • Shwee (Kyaw Zan Hein)
  • Moke Saik (Myo Hein)
  • La La (Aye Win Hlaing)
  • Sargalay (Khin Maung Win)
  • Cowboy (Tin Nwe)
  • Chauk Pay (Htein Win)

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