You don’t have to be French to name your daughter Desiree, but you probably ought to have some Middle Eastern heritage to use this one.
Thanks to Shelly for suggesting the exotic Arezoo as Baby Name of the Day.
Arezoo is Persian, and she’s a word name, meaning wish or desire. The name has traveled to neighboring cultures, resulting in respellings, including the Turkish Arzu, Arzoo, Arezu and Arezou.
A quick history lesson: up until the early twentieth century, Iran was called Persia; today, Iran refers to the nation, while Persian is often use in a cultural context, and refers to the nation’s official language. For our purposes, you’re most likely to meet an Arezoo in Iran, but she’s a Persian name.
Clearly, she’s got some appeal to parents in those parts of the world. To English speakers, however, Arezoo is pretty obscure, and sounds a bit like a possessive for a pair of gamekeepers – our zoo – rather than a given name. So let’s say straight up that I can’t imagine non-Persian (or Turkish or Afghan or the like) parents considering this choice. Even if Arezoo is a valid heritage choice, it’s a tough one to wear in modern America. Other Persian choices, like Parisa, are more accessible in Duluth or Des Moines or Dover.
And yet there are famous bearers of the name, including:
- Arzu Ece, a Turkish singer from the mid-90s, known for competing in the Eurovision Song Contest;
- Turkish hoopster Arzu Özyiğit, a frequent member of her country’s women’s national team;
- Along the same lines, Arzu Göllü has competed internationally with in women’s volleyball;
- On a more glamorous note, Arzu Yanardağ is a Turkish model;
- Arezoo Petrossian is a director, and there’s also Arezoo Afshar, an actress.
While it is tricky to track down an Arezoo, they’re undeniably out there. Not only are there just enough uses of the name to argue for her legitimacy, there are plenty of Iranian and Persian names directories, like this one, listing Arezoo as an option. A blogger at Iranian.com considered the choice for her daughter earlier this year.
But here’s where I need to admit the limits of my name knowledge: I haven’t a clue if I’m pronouncing Arezoo properly. Some searching suggests that the emphasis is on the second syllable, and I’m saying the first syllable as if it rhymes with car – ar ZOO. It’s possible I’m completely wrong; it’s equally likely that the name sounds slightly different in Istanbul than Tehran. I can confirm that’s pretty close to the pronunciation in Azerbaijan, so if you need a name that can travel from Buffalo to Baku, this one might work. But Sebastiane gives the opposite emphasis: AR zoo.
Despite Arezoo’s legitimacy, she’s not the most accessible choice. But her meaning is lovely, and you could call her Ari or Zuzu, two appealing options that would be right at home in the US.
My name is Arezou and I do love it, particularly its meaning. Thanks go to my parents for choosing that 🙂
And thank you for this writing about my name.
About syllable emphasis, I myself prefer it on the 1st syllable as it makes it more beautiful.
‘A’ as in Ana, not Anna. ‘E’ as in end, never as in cedar or an ay sound. ‘Zoo’ = zoo ;-). Emphasis on the first syllable. These guidelines will work for most Persian names, but beware there is a short ‘a’ as well, which isn’t distinguished in most transliterations, e.g. Niloufar – NEE-loo-far doesn’t end like the word ‘far’; it’s a short ‘a’ followed by a rolled ‘r’. One more of my favourite girl names: Parvaneh – PAR-vaa-neh, meaning butterfly :-).
Fwiw – ‘French’ is to ‘Francais’ as ‘Persian’ is to ‘Farsi’.
Thank u so much I thought my name is not beautiful but now I like my name I thought its old but now I like it
Robert Simpson says
I’m teaching a child called Arzoo and at first we pronounced it as ‘ar zoo’ but she has since asked us to pronounce it like her parents and brothers do. The closest I can come to typing it here is ‘ar u ZOH’. The ‘oh’ sound at the end sounds a bit like a mix between oh and oo to me.
I personally think this is a cool name. It also has a cool meaning, though, I think it has to be on the right person to pull it off, even on someone with Middle Eastern descent. I don’t think of just any Iranian girl with this name.
Shelly Ok says
Thanks so much for doing this! I have a co-worker named Arzoo,and she is so charming, stylish, and delightful. With her last name (which I’m not going to say to respect her privacy), it is such a fun spunky name—she sounds like she should be a celebrity. I have been intrigued by her name since I met her. She pronounces it like Sebastiane has suggested.
My Arzoo is from Afghanistan, and therefore definately appropriate for her. I agree as fun as this name it, it would be tough to pull of without the cultural connection.
I’m happy to push the bounds of fun, ethnic, spunky names! This was my first suggestion—and it was fun!!
It does look a lot like Are|Zoo, so I’d advise parents in English-speaking countries to use one of the other spellings. Another interesting name and tale!
Charlotte Vera says
When I saw this name I immediately pronounced it “ar-AY-zoo” in my head (with a slight roll on the r), and so I was confused at first by the “our-zoo” comment. Also, I had always heard the Iranian language referred to as Farsi, and hadn’t realised that Persian was an acceptable name for the language.
Fascinating write up!
Charlotte, I’m not sure I’ve got this exactly right, but I believe Farsi is the name Iranians use for their language, and so it is correct for referring to the language as spoken in Iran today. But it felt like I should be using the same term that describes literature, myth, etc. – and that’s almost always “Persian.” I might be wrong …
I may’ve been swayed by the number of Arzus I came across, but I didn’t even THINK of the three syllable pronunciation until Sebastiane posted her links!
Arezoo/Arzu reminds me of Fairuza or Azure … still a bit esoteric for some, but beautiful nonetheless. Great to see something off the beaten path for NotD!
It IS close to Azure, which I’ve always liked, even if it isn’t something I’d use.
Didn’t think of that at all – thanks, punk princess!
Wow! While this one is a bit too ethnically and culturally distinctive for me too use, it is an incredible unexpected choice for NOTD and I would be delighted to meet one!
Kudos to Shelly for suggesting this one!
I knew an Arezoo– she is indeed from Iran. She taught us to pronounce her name withe 3 syllables, are-ray-zoo. So maybe Arzu or Arzoo etc are different names.
Here is a link to an Indian woman pronouncing it: http://www.pronouncenames.com/search?name=Arzu
Here is a website with audio pronunciation for Persian names. This one will lead you to Arezoo http://hearnames.com/component/mtree/persian-names/page4.html
One from Forvo: http://www.forvo.com/search/Arezoo/
and Arzu pronounced in Turkish http://www.forvo.com/search/Arzu/
Thanks so much, Sebastiane! So that explains it … two syllables in Turkey, three elsewhere … except that I’m not sure I can hear some of the subtleties of emphasis and vowel sounds well enough to approximate a pronunciation.
knp, I think your suggestion of are ray zoo fits what Sebastiane suggested, except there’s some other quality in there, too … and it sounds incredibly pretty when pronounced by a native speaker.