Vuk (name)

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Pronunciation [vuːk]
Gender male
Language(s) Serbian
Language(s) Slavic
Meaning "wolf"
Region of origin Slavic
Other names
Related names see list

Vuk (Serbian Cyrillic: Вук) is a South Slavic male given name, predominantly recorded among the Serbs. The name literally means "wolf".[1] Vuk Karadžić, 19th-century Serbian philologist and ethnographer, explained the traditional, apotropaic use of the name: a woman who had lost several babies in succession, would name her newborn son Vuk, because it was believed that the witches, who "ate" the babies, were afraid to attack the wolves.[2] In the Serbian epic poetry, the wolf is a symbol of fearlessness.[1] Vuk was the 17th most popular name for boys in Serbia in the period 2003–2005.[3]

There are many given names derived from the noun vuk. The following are male names recorded among the Serbs by the 19th century: Vukaj, Vuko, Vukoje, Vukovoj, Vukovoje, Vukal, Vukalj, Vukajlo, Vukola, Vukel, Vukelja, Vukula, Vukan, Vukolin, Vukota, Vukić, Vukadin, Vukac, Vukas, Vuksan, Vukač, Vukašin, Vukša, Vukdrag, Vukman, Vukoman, Vukmir, Vukomir, Vukmilj, Vukoslav, Vukosav, Dobrovuk, Vučo, Vučko, Vučela, Vučan, Vučen, Vučin, Vučihna, Vučina, Vučeta, Vučić, Vučkulin, Vujo, Vujan, Vujat, Vujadin, Vujin, Vujeta, Vujčeta, Vujčin, Vujić, Vujko, Vujak, Vujica, Vujača, Vujaš, Vule, Vulina, Vulić, Vulic, and Vuleš.[1] There are also female names derived from vuk: Vuka, Vukana, Vujana, Vukava, Vučica, Vukadinka, Vujadinka, Vukmira, Vukomirka, Vukomanka, and Vukosava.[1][4] All the derivatives from vuk were regarded as apotropaic names.[5] In the period 2003–2005, Vukašin was the 30th and Vukan the 82nd most popular name for boys in Serbia.[3]

The name Vuk is recorded in Serbian sources dating before 1400 in the form of Vlk (Old Cyrillic: Влъкъ), with a syllabic l. Through a sound change in Serbian that took place after 1400, the syllabic l turned into the vowel u. In this way Vlk became Vuk, and by the same process the initial Vuk- and Vuč- in the derivatives developed from Vlk- and Vlč-; e.g., Vukašin from Vlkašin.[6] The names Vujo and Vule are the bases for the derivatives starting with Vuj- and Vul-. They are formed from vuk on the same pattern as the pet names Brajo and Brale are formed from brat "brother".[1]

The given name Vlk and its derivatives, Vlkoň, Vlček, and Vlčata for males, and Vlkava and Vlčenka for females, were recorded among the Czechs, while Wilkan was recorded among the Poles. Janusz, the Archbishop of Gniezno (1374–1382), was nicknamed Suchy Wilk or Suchowilk "dry wolf".[1] Serbian surnames Belovuk and Bjelovuk mean "white wolf".[7]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Miklosich, Franz (1860). Die Bildung der slavischen Personennamen (in German). Vienna: Aus der kaiserlich-königlichen Hoff- und Staatdruckerei. pp. 44–45. 
  2. ^ Karadžić, Vuk Stefanović (1852). Српски рјечник (in Serbian). Vienna: Typis congregationis mechitaristicae. p. 78. 
  3. ^ a b "Najpopularnija imena u Srbiji" (in Serbian).
  4. ^ "Именослов српских имена" (in Serbian). Serbian Orthodox Parish of Lucerne, Switzerland
  5. ^ Čajkanović, Veselin (1973). Đurić, Vojislav, ed. Мит и религија у Срба: изабране студије (in Serbian). Belgrade: Srpska književna zadruga. p. 60. 
  6. ^ Jireček, Konstantin Josef (1911). Geschichte der Serben (in German) 1. Gotha, Germany: Friedriech Andreas Perthes A.-G. pp. XII, 423. 
  7. ^ Mihajlović, Velimir (2002). Српски презименик (in Serbian). Novi Sad: Aurora. pp. 54, 75. ISBN 86-7538-019-4.