Vladimir (name)

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Vladimir Svyatoslavovich.jpg
PronunciationRussian: [vlɐˈdʲimʲɪr]
Serbo-Croatian: [ʋlǎdimiːr]
Meaning"of great power" (folk etymology: "ruler of the world", "ruler of peace") / "famous ruler", "bright and famous"
Other names
Alternative spellingCyrillic: Владимир, Влади́мир, Владимѣръ
Variant form(s)Vlado, Vlade, Wladimir
Related namesfemale form Vladimira, Włodzimierz, Waldemar, Waldek, Uladzimir, Voldemārs, Volodymyr, Vladimiro
See alsoRobert (a name with a similar meaning)

Vladimir[1] (Russian: Влади́мир[1]) is a male Slavic given name of Old Slavic origin, now widespread throughout all Slavic nations (in different spellings).


The Old Russian form of the name is Володимѣръ Volodiměr, the Old Church Slavonic one Vladiměr. According to Max Vasmer, the name is composed of Slavic владь vladĭ "power" and *mēri "great" (related to Gothic element mērs, -mir, c.f. Theodemir, Valamir). The modern (pre-1918) Russian forms Владимиръ and Владиміръ are based on the Church Slavonic one, with the replacement of мѣръ by миръ or міръ resulting from a folk etymological association with миръ "peace" or міръ "world".[2] The post-1918 reformed spelling Владимир drops the final -ъ, but the (unetymological) spelling -миръ or -міръ predates the orthographic reform, indicating the folk etymological interpretation of the name as "world owner" or "peace owner".


An early record of this name was the name of Vladimir-Rasate (died 893), ruler of Bulgaria. Vladimir-Rasate was the second Bulgarian ruler following the Christianization of Bulgaria and the introduction of Old South Slavic as the language of church and state. The name of his pre-Christian dynastic predecessor, khan Malamir (r. 831–836), sometimes claimed as the first Bulgarian ruler with a Slavic name, already exhibits the (presumably Gothic) -mir suffix.

The early occurrence of the name in the East Slavic culture comes with Volodimer Sviatoslavich (Old East Slavic: Володимѣръ Свѧтославичь, "Vladimir the Great"), first Grand Prince of Kiev (r. 980–1015). Three successors of Vladimir the Great shared his given name: Vladimir II Monomakh (1053–1125), Vladimir III Mstislavich (1132–1173) and Vladimir IV Rurikovich (1187–1239). The town Volodymyr-Volynskyi in north-western Ukraine was founded by Vladimir and is named after him.[3] The foundation of another town, Vladimir in Russia, is usually attributed to Vladimir Monomakh. However some researchers argue that it was also founded by Vladimir the Great.[4] The veneration of Vladimir the Great as a saint of the Russian Orthodox Church gave rise to the replacement of the East Slavic form of his name with the Old Church Slavonic (Old Bulgarian) one. The immense importance of Vladimir the Great as national and religious founder resulted in Vladimir becoming one of the most frequently-given Russian names.[citation needed]


The Slavic name survives in two traditions, the Old Church Slavonic one using the vocalism Vladi- and the Old East Slavic one in the vocalism Volodi-.

The Old Church Slavonic form Vladimir (Владимир) is used in Russian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Montenegrin and Macedonian, borrowed into Slovenian, Croatian Vladimir, Czech and Slovak Vladimír.

The polnoglasie "-olo-" of Old East Slavic form Volodiměr (Володимѣръ) persists in the Ukrainian form Володимир Volodymyr.

Historical diminutive forms: Vladimirko (Russian), Volodymyrko (Ukrainian).

In Belarusian the name is spelled Uladzimir (Uładzimir, Уладзімір) or Uladzimier (Uładzimier, Уладзімер).

In Polish, the name is spelled Włodzimierz.

In Russian, shortened and endeared versions of the name are Volodya (and variants with diminutive suffixes]: Volodka, Volodyen'ka, etc.), Vova (and diminituves: Vovka, Vovochka, etc.), Vovchik, Vovan. In West and South Slavic countries, other short versions are used: e.g., Vladi, Vlado, Vladko, Vlatko, Vlajko, Vladan, Vladik, Wladik, Wladek, Wlodik and Wlodek.[citation needed]

The Germanic form, Waldemar or Woldemar (derived from the elements Wald (rule, brightness) and Mar (famous), is sometimes traced to Valdemar I of Denmark (1131 – 1182) named after his Russian maternal grandfather, Vladimir II Monomakh.[5] The Germanic name is reflected in Latvian Voldemārs and Finnic (Finnish and Estonian) Voldemar.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Behind the Name - Vladimir
  2. ^ Max Vasmer, Etymological Dictionary of Russian Language s.v. "Владимир" (starling.rinet.ru, vasmer.narod.ru)
  3. ^ Henryk Paszkiewicz. The making of the Russian nation. Greenwood Press. 1977. Cracow 1996, pp. 77–79.
  4. ^ С. В. Шевченко (ред.). К вопросу о дате основания г. Владимира, ТОО "Местное время", 1992. (S. V. Shevchenko (ed.). On the foundation date of Vladimir. in Russian)
  5. ^ Ф.Б. Успенский, "ИМЯ И ВЛАСТЬ (Выбор имени как инструмент династической борьбы в средневековой Скандинавии)", In: Фольклор и постфольклор: структура, типология, семиотика ("Folklore and Post-Folklore: Structure, Typology and Semiotics")

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