Five “Genderless” Persian Names That Sound Great for Your Future Baby

People these days are trying to use diverse names and use the beautiful qualities of different languages to their benefit. As a native Persian, as long as it does not get the form of appropriation, I do not see anything wrong with it. Also, there are many second-generation Persian Emigrés in the West or mixed-raced people with Persian blood, who can have a Persian name without the risk of appropriation. In my post “Five Reasons to Learn the Persian Language” I mentioned that it is a completely genderless language. While there are gendered names in Persian which are either historically gendered (Old Persian used to have gender, but it lost this attribute 2000 years ago in its transition into Middle Persian) or they are conventionally gendered (people just decided to strictly use one name for one gender despite the genderless quality of the name itself), yet still there are names that are genderless, and I want to introduce some of them here, which I believe have both beautiful meaning and beautiful sound and can be used for Persian Emigrés, mixed-raced people, Persians in their original homeland, and even by foreigners who are a bit more adventurous. There is also this concern these days, with more awareness about trans people, that the gender assigned at birth will turn out to be the wrong gender, and by using a genderless name, parents can save the hardship of changing names in the possibility of their children turns out to be transgender.

1. Ashi/Ershiya (Ashu/Asha)

This name is used for both people who are assigned male and female at birth in Persian-speaking countries (or at least in my country: Iran). It comes from Asha (mostly female) or Ashu (mostly male) words in Old Persian and Avestan languages (which are very close to Sanskrit, so you may also see similar or identical words in Sanskrit). Ashi or Ershiya (as a derivation) means “truthful and honest human” while Asha & Ashu, more specifically, mean “Being in Harmony With the Truth of the World”.

2. Mantre (Mantra/Mantro)

The exact same story, while the old versions have a female (Mantra) and a Male (Mantro) version, this new form of the name which is pronounced with a long “a” and short “e” is genderless (IPA: /mɑtrɛ/). Mantre means “Soothing Words” in Persian. You may have heard Mantra (the female form) as it is a loanword in European languages either from their encounters with Persians, or Indians (who also have a similar word with a close meaning). In English, it tends to have the meaning of “a spiritual slogan” which is not far from its Persian meaning.

3. Mazda

A Japanese car company completely ruined it for us, and no, it is not a coincidence. The founder of the car company admitted that they have chosen the name from Iranic Mythology. Mazda was one of the ancient gods of Indo-Iranians, who turned out to be the main deity of the monotheistic faction of Zoroastrianism. The name, like all ancient Iranian gods, bears no gender in and of itself, although later, probably under the patriarchal influences of Abrahamic religions, it was more conventionally used for boys. Mazda is from Old Persian and Avestan roots, meaning “Immense Wisdom”, and is actually from the same Indo-European roots as the English word “Mind” and it is pronounced quite close to the name of that car company (IPA: /mæzdɑ:/).

4. Hurshid

It is a word constructed of “Hur” meaning the sun and “Shid” meaning the glow and it literally means “Sunshine”. In Contemporary Persian, in most but not all regions, it is pronounced as Khurshid and the meaning has changed to “the sun” in general, yet the older pronunciation shall be easier for non-Persian speakers. Hurshid is a name used conventionally for girls in central Iran, but for boys between Kurds, Bakhtiaris and some people of Northern Afghanistan. This very inconsistency shows that the name itself bears no gender, and social conventions aside, it can be used for both.

5. Paitisha (Patish)

As my last choice, we have a purely “Avestan” word. Avestan is not genderless, but it has “Neuter” as a gender, and this word is a “Neuter” adjective, so it can be used for both sexes. Paitisha (transformed as Patish in some Persian or New Avestan texts) means “encouraged” and “excited” which is not only a beautiful and positive meaning, but also something you rarely find in the meaning of the names around the word.

And so, I finish this post by pointing out that the most (and maybe one of the few) beautiful things about our 21st-century global world, is the possibility of cultural exchange. It is an era for coming out of the shell of our own culture and discovering others as well. And also. it is the age in which we have to get rid of many old notions, and “gender”, hopefully, is going to be one of them.

Remember if you are curious about the Persian Language, there are online classes available with a first free trial session.