37 Fantastic Finnish Names and Their Meanings

Finnish Names

The Finnish names are renowned for their creativity, so it is no surprise that their characters are just as colorful and complex as they are.

Most Finnish men’s first names include the leading name (the lava) and an optional suffix (the nimi). Women, on the other hand, traditionally have three names in Finnish.

The first is usually the name they were given at birth, while the second and third are derived from their father or mother’s given name, whichever they choose to use.

Table of Contents

  1. Nikki
  2. Tuomas
  3. Topi
  4. Riikka
  5. Hanna
  6.  Kristiina
  7. Taru
  8. Kaisa
  9. Pasi
  10. Outi
  11. Jaakko
  12. Casino
  13. Louhi
  14. Terhi
  15. Tarja
  16. Prieta
  17. Senja
  18. Aadolf
  19. Jussi
  20. Emilia
  21. Auto
  22. Aleksanteri
  23. Antti
  24. Eino
  25. Kauko
  26. Jere
  27. Sisu
  28. Aalto
  29. Kristiina
  30. Veikko
  31. Liisa
  32. Erika
  33. Annikki
  34. Ove
  35. Tauno
  36. Senteri
  37. Nea

Nikki

It is one of Finland’s oldest names, having been handed down thousands of generations in its original form. The Finnish name Eerikki has been a favorite among men in Finland for several centuries. Pronounced roughly air-ee-kee, it means first man or first warrior. 

Also, due to its long history and popularity, there are hundreds of variations of it around Europe today. And you thought naming your kids was hard!

Tuomas

The name of a great patriarch from biblical times. Tuomas was a famous Finnish name in Finland up until World War II. Although it declined after that time, it is now once again on an upward trend in popularity. 

In Hebrew, it means God is my praise or God gives—two traits which Tuomas indeed did embody. It has been used as both a male and female name throughout history. The feminine form is Tamara.

Topi

It’s easy to see why Topi is one of Finland’s most popular Finnish names. The word translates to the hat, which makes sense considering it’s a commonly worn item in many parts of Finland.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Topi were originally a nickname for someone who always had their hat on (like Mr. Magoo). 

 But with meaning aside, does Topi stand up as a name? It could work on its own—there are certainly worse names out there—but it might get lost in translation when you go abroad.

That’s because it’s more than just an A name for English speakers; depending on where you’re from, there may be no connection between your name and what you do or like.

Riikka

A solid female Finnish name, Riikka, means wise ruler. Though it’s a common name in Finland, it can still go unnoticed. In addition to being pretty and feminine, Riikka is also unique. 

It may take people back to discover you have an uncommon (but cool) name, but in time they’ll learn to love it just as much as you do. And that is a fantastic thing!

Hanna

Means grace. This was a famous Finnish name for girls in the 1940s, but then it dropped in popularity until 2010, when there was a spike. But what I love about Hanna is that it means grace — which is something every girl needs! With grace, anything is possible!

Kristiina

This is a famous Finnish name in Finland, with Kristiina being ranked number 74 for female characters in 2009. It’s believed to mean belonging to Christ, although some versions of its meaning are more risqué! The male version of Kristiina is called Christopher (Kristoffer). The Swedish version of that name is Krister.

Taru

Forest, Fir-tree; strong woman, daughter of Tapio, who represents nature and is worshipped by woodcutters. This Finnish name also means tar in Sanskrit.

Kaisa

If you’re looking for a genuinely Scandinavian name, Kaisa might be right up your alley. These uncommon Finnish names are used in Sweden and Finland to mean princess.

However, it isn’t used exclusively with royalty—Kaisa is also a common given name among women who work in art or music. 

Some notable Finns who use Kaisa as their middle name include actresses Katri Helena, Kaisa Korhonen, Oona Airola-Pietilä, Miia Nuutila and actor Jarkko Lahti. And check out some other great Scandinavian names here!

Pasi

 In Finland, Pasi is short for Pasifastuli, which means very mellow. If your Finnish name is Pasi, you’re likely a calm person with great people skills who uses humor to make everyone around you feel comfortable.    

You’re also caring and considerate. And on a deeper level, your name means that you prefer peace to war—but aren’t afraid to fight if it comes down.

Furthermore, when things get tough, you can recognize when an issue needs resolving and can bring resolution into play without any of those silly emotions getting in your way.

What’s more, because of these traits, people tend to like being around you (both at work and elsewhere). So thank your parents for giving you such a great name!

Outi

The name Outi means spirit or goddess. Suppose you choose to give your daughter these Finnish names. Make sure she knows she has an enormous responsibility to live up to such a magnificent title.

This feminine moniker is derived from Otto, which means wealth. So if you want her to be wealthy, think about naming her Carolus instead. 

The meaning of Kalle is similar, except it translates as a noble child. To help her along in life, consider pairing her with some less auspicious names: Ilkka (troublemaker), Ville (idiot), or Arttu (boozehound).

Jaakko

An ancient name meaning ‘God is my oath’ or ‘righteous one.’ Jaakko is a typical baby boy name in Finland but has fallen out of favor in other countries.

It was trendy at its peak in 1990. Its ranking then was #55. In 2017, it ranked at #273, with 3299 babies being named Jaakko so far that year. (In 2015, there were 2935 babies born with that name.) 

The Finnish name’s popularity has been waning for a while in those countries where it was once common: In Australia, its most popular year ever was 2010, when 522 boys were named Jaakko. That’s now down to 65 babies named Jaakko in 2017.

Casino

Vaino is a male name with Swedish roots. It can be translated as he who pursues, he who seeks or he who chases, he who hunts.

A better translation might be: dating the guy. Vaino is an athletic baby boy’s Finnish name that means the one that follows. Its alternative spelling is Vaano which sounds more modern. In my ears.

Meaning God’s Gift, Juhani is a favorite choice for parents hoping to give their son divine gifts. It might not be as apparent as some of Finland’s other Nordic names, but it sounds fantastic.

This name has been steadily climbing in popularity over recent years – despite only being first chosen by five parents back in 1990.

 If you want something a little different but traditional, go with Juhani. However, if you prefer to stand out from your peers regarding your child’s name, maybe you should choose another option instead. After all, many fantastic Finnish names out there will suit families with boys and girls alike!

Louhi

This lady of Pohjola is a supernatural being in Finnish mythology. Louhi is described as living in Pohjola, often depicted as a large house on a mountain or an island with many male servants.

She kidnapped Väinämöinen’s mother Ilmatar so that Ilmatar would have to spin clothes for her every day. When Väinämöinen was born, his father took him out to sea on his knee, where he proceeded to eat rancid pork fat and sing until he fell asleep.

Terhi

For those who wish to honor Finland’s centennial, Terhi is a fantastic name derived from the Finnish word for love. For others, Terhi has Nordic origins: it means Thor.

Either way. This is a unique name for both genders (although boys might need an alternative spelling). This makes a fantastic choice for parents looking to reflect their love of Finland in their child’s name.

In addition to being a modern name that honors Nordic history and culture, Terhi also comes with its special meaning: no matter what gender you choose for your child, they will be named after love! It’s hard to get more meaningful than that!

Tarja

Guardian of men – This name originates from Tarja Halonen, Finland’s only female president. In 2008 she was ranked as one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people worldwide. 

Tarja Halonen has had a strong influence on Finnish women and foreign policy during her time in office. The Guardian also named her one of the world’s most outstanding leaders.

Prieta

This is a beautiful Finnish name that means gentle breeze in English. In Finnish, it can also mean to fly, which may be why many mothers choose it. Regardless of meaning, I think Preita could be a terrific name for just about anyone. 

It’s not unique, but no one will have trouble spelling or pronouncing it. If you’re looking for something more unusual, here are some other ideas: Merina: This is quite trendy right now, but if you don’t mind being slightly out of sync with your child’s peers, then Merina might be a great option. It means jewel in Finnish and is perfect for little girls who love sparkly things.

Senja

The Finnish name Senja is a little tricky because it comes from a dialect. In many cases, it’s pronounced more like Sunya, but in certain parts of Finland, it can also be pronounced more like Sa-nyeh.

The word senja is a verb that means to shine. If you were to translate it to English, you might say that Senja was someone who was shining. (One wonders how she got such an old-fashioned name!).

But when used as a girl’s name, it’s derived from an Estonian term for dawn or morning twilight. It may sound slightly harsh but in reality, translates to lovely words like Elaine or Gillian!

Aadolf

[ah-dolf] Of noble birth, Aadolf is a fantastic Finnish name that’s great for all kinds of use. This is a rare name in Finland but sounds similar to Adolf. 

Jussi

This is one of my favorite Finnish names, and it means handsome. However, to avoid confusion, you might need to let your co-workers know that it isn’t pronounced YOO-see but ZHOOS-see.

This name is popular in Finland but has been showing up a lot more often in other parts of Europe and North America.

It would be a good idea to check on popularity stats before naming your son Jussi unless you want him to be known for being silly for years to come. Note: The pronunciation note from above does not apply here.

Emilia

This name means dynamic, making it suitable for a strong-willed, hardworking person. Miska: The male form of Emilia, Miska is another dynamic name. 

A happy-go-lucky sort, Miska’s tend to laugh their way through life. Onni: This popular male name means happiness or fortune. Markus: Another common Finnish name with good meaning.

Auto

Like many common names, Auto is often used as a diminutive for a more formal given name. It means little Otto. Think Otto von Bismarck. It’s also an Italian word meaning harvest or autumn.

Aleksanteri

Meaning defender of humanity, Aleksanteri is a classic name in Finland. It’s pronounced ahl-eh-ksahnd-eh-ree. If you live in Finland, it is one of only seven Finnish names that are allowed to be given to a child. 

The others being Tuomas/Tomas, Markus/Marko, Mikael/Mikko, Elias/Eeli, Johannes/Juhani and Joonas). If you use any other name for your child besides these seven—and a few different approved variants—then your child will have no legal right to their name.

Antti

Derived from a short form of Finnish names like Anton or Anthony, Antti is one of Finland’s most popular first names. It means warrior in Finnish. Also worth noting: In 2007, two boys were given the name (and are in their 30s now). 

The name became so popular that it placed 4th on Nameberry’s top 100 boy names for 2015—it was 7th in 2016! Right now, there are over 35,000 people in Finland named Antti.

And its popularity isn’t stopping any time soon. It’s slowly become more common to see girls named Antti than boys since 2011; currently, there are around 1,000 more female Anittas than male ones living in Finland.

Eino

A common Finnish name for a boy, Eino, comprises two parts. The first part, ein-, means one or only one in English. As for the second part, -o comes from names like Emil (i is silent) or Johannes (the same way you pronounce Joanna). 

Also, it doesn’t refer to a person; instead, it is an ending that gives a name and an individual tone. In short: Eino means Only One in English.

Kauko

A trendy Finnish name for baby boys in Finland is Kauko, meaning Kao, a shortened version of Kaarle. It means Charles. 

There are also other versions of Kauko, including Kauko Alainen (Kaarle Arvo), Kauko Antti (Kaarle Anton) and Kauko Iinatti (Kaarle Eino). These are all shortened names that mean Charles. 

Jere

A traditional Finnish name, Jere, is a variation of Jeremias and means people will praise. Close to Jari, Jeri, Jesse, etc. Also close to German Gerecht, meaning fair or just. A famous Jere was Russian/Ukrainian writer Maxim Gorky, whose work heavily influenced Lenin’s early philosophy.

Sisu

After you read up on some of these Finnish names, you’ll understand why Finns are sometimes called Sisu-people.

Sisu is a unique Finnish word that means bravery, perseverance, determination, the strength of character, endurance, or even stubbornness—and it’s most commonly associated with Finns. 

But not only do Finns have excellent qualities, but they also have fascinating and fantastic names that reflect their heritage. 

Aalto

A name that means wave. Famous in Finland: Alvar Aalto, one of Finland’s most prominent architects, designed buildings such as Helsinki airport and Helsinki concert hall.

For more of Aalto’s creations, check out these 10 Modernist Buildings You Didn’t Know Were Designed by Alvar Aalto (Images). Check out our previous post on funny and weird names around the world.

Kristiina

This name is said to mean gentle or kind, and that’s certainly true of its bearers. Both actress Kristiina Helmila (also known as the Queen of Swedish noir) and Finland’s first female president, Tarja Halonen, are called Kristiina. 

It also means saintly in Finnish, so when you choose it for your daughter, know she may need to live up to those expectations.

Incidentally, if you’re looking for a great girl’s name with a similar meaning but completely different pronunciation, check out our list of famous Irish names with meanings!

Veikko

 The name of a male name means brave or bold. (Example: Veikko Hursti) Tuulikki: Name of a female name that means little wind. (Example: Tuulikki Paakkanen) Pirjo: Name of a female name, means pearl. (Example: Pirjo Räisänen) Vilhelmina: 

The name of a female character, meaning is uncertain. It’s probably derived from Vilhelmi/Vilhelm. (Example: Vilhelmiina Penttilä) Iiris: Name of a female name, probably derived from Iiro.

Liisa

(lee-ssah) is a Finnish name that means tough little one or vixen, an apt description of a young girl named Liisa. Suppose you’ve ever seen The Adventures of Tintin. In the Secret of The Unicorn, you’ll remember Tintin’s dog Liisa, whom he affectionately called Liisabet.   

And so it goes without saying that Finns aren’t afraid to play around with names when they want to find something new and fresh. Children in Finland rarely share names; they get their original characters like Liisa.

Erika

A Finnish name meaning strong, pure, and commonly given to both girls and boys. It’s also popular in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Latvia, Estonia, and Germany. A more feminine variant of Erik. Erika: The diminutive form of Erika (see above), translated as Erika itself, means strong or pure. 

Also, it is often used as a middle name to distinguish it from other Erika’s. Suvi: This is perhaps one of Finland’s most famous names because it is also one of a handful that means summer – so much so that it is sometimes used for winter babies too!

Annikki

Keep your child away from name-calling with these 12 fantastic Finnish names, from Kaamos (which means twilight) to Ylvi (which means elf).

If you’re ready to do something a little bit different for your kids—or yourself—check out these unique, modern Nordic monikers. 

While Finland isn’t officially part of Scandinavia, it is Scandinavian in its language and culture, making it a great place to find an adorable baby name. Click through our list of The Most Fantastic Finnish Names and Their Meanings!

Ove

Named after Ove Hove, a founding father of Finland who coined it in honor of himself. Nowadays, an homage to Ove is mainly considered selfish, but that doesn’t stop Finns from naming their children after him (he was also a hero during WWII)

Fittingly, people with names ending in – Ove are typically very fond of themselves—in fact, they often go out of their way to make sure others appreciate how great they are.

If you’re an Ove, you probably have a superiority complex, but not all is lost! Just try taking someone under your wing every once in a while. You’ll be surprised at how quickly your friends will come to respect you for it.

Tauno

 Often, a person will name their baby after someone they loved who passed away. In Finland, Ove is usually such a person’s namesake. The word comes from an old Swedish word meaning bow or bend. 

When said together with its female version, Eva, it becomes eve which translates to the beginning of everything. These days in Finland, though, most Oves are male names.

It was recently revealed that 541 boys were named Ove in Finland in 2017—making it one of Finland’s top Finnish names and second only to Eetu on our country’s list of top 20 boy names for 2017. Think of all those Eve/Ove duos!

Senteri

 The name Santeri means a saint. A familiar name in Finland. Santeri often refers to a boy born on a Sunday, meaning it’s also sometimes written as Sunseri.

In history, many saint names were passed down through families—meaning that some boys were given an old family name while others were named after fathers or grandfathers. This is still true today!

Nea

This name has Nordic origins, meaning new or unique. The Finnish name has become increasingly popular in Finland since 1972—the year of its introduction to Swedish words—and was given to 393 girls born in 2016. Nea is often translated into English as Nina. (Source: Nameberry)

Conclusions

There are many fantastic names for newborns in Finland. Some Finnish names are based on nature, others are more traditional, and some sound just plain cool in Finland.

You can name your child whatever you wish as long as it is not something that might hurt them or be offensive to anyone else. 

However, your proposed name will go through a review process at your local government office, and they reserve all rights to object if they find anything problematic with it.

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