Personal Names of ancient sinhalese 


This is an attempt to list out ancient names and what the name means, Suggestion from readers , addition and meanings are welome.

Javas ca vak-sudha- sutir mani-sutis ca Rohana Nanyatra Simhala-dvipan mukta- sutis ca sagarah

‘People who  produce the Nectar of speech, Rohana Mountains  which produce Gems and the Ocean that produces Pearls- these are nowhere found together, but in the Island of the Sinhalas’- Balaramayanaya-Act X verse 49.

Hundered of inscriptions naming the donars of cave is found scattered through the Island where ever  there is natural rock caves. These were donated to the Buddhist Sanga[ Monks] from the very ancient times.  The Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka has most of those inscription on there web- www.Royal Asiatic . The Inscriptions of Ceylon Vol I , II Pt I & II.

Similar names is on lead inscribed coins of the same period found at Ruhana. These were published by Osmund Bopearachchi and Raja Wickremasinghe.

Thr names of the  great  Bhikkhunis of the  Buddhist order was Maha Prajapati Gotami, Khema, Uppalavanna  which means the one with Ee like blue Lillies, Patachara, Dhammadinna, Rupananda, Sona, Sakula, Bhaddha  Kundalakesi,, Bhaddha  Kapilani, Yasodara, Kisogotami  and  Singalaka Matha.

The majority of the donors’ names, when they are of a religious character, are suggestive of faiths other than Buddhism. The following are the Buddhistic names borne by some of the personages figuring in our records.

1. Dama (m.f.), Damaguta. Damati, Damadina, Damarajha, Damarakita, Damaruci, Damasena, Damika, Damutara, Dhamarajha, Dhamika, Butadata (f,), Budarakita, Budasa, Mitiya (m.f.), Sga, ,Sagamita, Sagarakita.

Dhamma (Skt. Dharma)and Samgha are not exclusive to Buddhism; but, in the present context, names formed with one of them as the first member of a compound may be taken, without much doubt, as current among Buddhists.’ ‘Mitiya ‘ can be equated also with a name current in Brahmanical circles, and  ‘Saga ‘ can also be taken as a name which, is not particularly Buddhist in application.

                      Sanga-mitta the daughter of King Asoka who brought the Bo-sapling.

Buddhistic names are not borne exclusively by bhikkhus, the majority of whom bear names like Tisa. Pusa, etc., -which were also in vogue among laymen.  Dama-rakita (Dhammarakkhita) a name which would today proclaim its bearer as a Bhikkhu, is that of a layman in No.811,and in No.435, Buta-data[ Gift] (Buddhadatta) was the wife of a prince. Names like the last are of importance for the study of the development of Buddhological concepts.

II. The name of a god itself is often used as a personal name, but in many instances, it forms a compound with another word like data (given). buti (one who has  being in), guta [protected), rakita (protected), etc. The following names are formed from those of Vedic gods Agni, Aryaman, Bhaga, Dahatr (Synonym of Agni), Indra, Mahendra, Mitra, Nasatya, Pitrs, Pnrusa, Soma, Surya, Varuna Vasus, Viavedevah, Visnu, Yaga (Sacrifice) :—

Agi, Agidata, Agibuti, Ayibara, Ayimara, Baga-deva, Bagu-tisa, Baka, Duhatara, Dhututaya, Ida, Idabuti, Idaguta, Idarakita, Mahida, Mita (male.female.), Mitadeva, Mitaguta, Mitapala, Mitasena, Mtiya (m.f.), Nasata, Pita-maharajha, Purushadata (f.), Soma, Soma-data, Somrrdeva, Somali (f.),Suri, Suriguta, Varupnda (f.), Varuaguta, Vasu, Vasudata, Vinu, Yagadata, Yakadata.

Ill, The names of Pauranic gods, Baladeva, Brahma, Gopali, Kala (Yama), Kali (goddess), Krishna,Kumara,[Skanda), Kuvera, Lakshmi,Mahasen, Narayana, Rama, Reva, Samudra, Sarvari, Siva, Sagara, Sri, Samana (Yama), Svami (Mahaseia) and Vaisravana are found in the following personal names:

Balaguta, Bama, Bamadata, Bamali, Gopala, Hagara, Hamuda, Kada (Kala), Kadaka, Kada-li, Kadiya, Kana (m.f.), Kanadata, Kanadasika (f.), Kanaguta, Kanatisa, Kubira, Kumara, Kumaradata, Kumaratiha, Laci (f.- LUCKY}, Maha~Samuda, Mahasiva, Mahasena, Naguli, Narayaguta, Ramajhata, Ramadata (f.), Rama (m.f.), Rasumiliya, Reva (f.), Sagara. Samidata (f.), Samuda (m.f.), Samudaguta, Savera (f.), Siriguta, Siripali (f), Siva (m.f.), Sivabuti, Sivaguta, Sivala (f.), Sivanabuti (f.), Sivarakita, Sukada, Surida, Sumanndevi (f.), Suvisaka, Visaka (m.f.), Vihaka, Vesmapa.

Many of the Vedic gods are also found among the Purarnic gods. Visaka, Suvisaka and Vihaka may also be included in the next category of names, as Visakha in the name of a Naksatra as well as that of the god Skanda.

IV. The following names are those of lunar asterisms, or based on them. The Naksatras represented, in the order beginning with Asvini, are :-Bharani, Krttika, Rohini, Panarvasu, Pusya (Tisya), Aslesa, Magha, Uttara (Phalguna), Hasta, Citra, Svati, Visaklia, Anuradha, Mula, Aaadha (Purva), Uttrasadha (Vaisva), Abhijit, Sravana, Sra-vistha (Dhanistha), Revati.

Abijhi (m.f.), Abijliguta, Ahali, Anurada, Anuradi (f.), Anuridi (f.), Anula (f,), Asadaguta, Asali, Aselaya, Ata, Barani (f.), Baraniguta, Cita (m.f.), Citaka, Citadevi (f.), Citaguta, Devanakata, Kati (f.), Kitaka (f.), Kituka (f.), Maka, Maki (f.), Maga, Magha (f.), Mahapusa, Mahareta, Mahatisa, Mula, Mulaguta, Mulasoma, Panasaguta, Pnnasuguta, Pura, Pusa {m.f.)) Pusabuti, Pusadeva, Pusaguta, Pusamita, Pusamala, Pusali, Reta, Revata, Revati (f.), Rita.( f), Rohini (f.), Rona, Roni (f.), Roniguta. Samana (m.f.), Samanaka, Sata, Sataka, Savitadata, Sona (m.f.), Sonadeva, Sonutare, Suna.kata, Suvati, Suvisaka, Tisa (m.f.), Tisabuti, Tisadata, Tisedevi (f.), Tisamita, Tisaraka, Tisarakita, Tisi (f.), Tisiha (f.), Tihali, Upatisa, Utara, Utaraguta, Visaka, Vihaka, Vesa.

The Rasavahini an ancient text  states that Phussadeva., one of the paladins of Dutthugemunu, received that name because he was born when the Pusya-naksatra was in conjunction with the Moon. The naming of children after a Naksatra is also recommended in the Grahasutras. But the predominance of one Naksatra among the names of this type found in our inscriptions, makes it very unlikely that in the period of our inscriptions, Sinhalese parents named their children strictly according to the Naksatras under which they were born. The name  ‘Tisya ‘ and its synonym ‘ Pusya ‘, together with the names formed by their compounds, far outnumber in their occurrence all the other Naksatra names put together.

It is very doubtful whether in those days, birth control was so highly developed as to ensure that children were born when the Tisya (Pusya)-nakasatra was in conjunction with the Moon, or that the vast majority of the children born in this Island at that time had, in their previous births, performed just those acts of religious merit, which ensured their being born under this auspicious Naksatra. We know that in those days, as it is today, it was considered fortunate to be born under certain Naksatras, while others boded ill-luck to those born under them. The parents certainly did not wish their offspring to face the hardships of life with such a disadvantage as the fact of birth under a bad Naksatra being widely known. So, in such cases where a child was born under a Naksatra with a bad reputation, care must have been taken to hide that fact, by giving the child a name formed of the designation of the most favoured Naksatra, i.e. Pusya or Tisya. Hence the large number of Tisa’s figuring in our records. This attempt of parents to cheat the stars must have, in course of time, made people lose faith in the practice, and its being gradually given up in Ceylon, whereas it is still prevalent in certain parts of the neighboring continent.

The following names refer to gods in general: Amara, Deva (m.f.), Devaguta, Devanakata, Devanapiya, Devarakita, Devi (f.), Maha-Sumana, Nabatika, Sudeva, Sumana (m.f.), Sumanaka, Sumanabuti, Sumanadata, Sumanadeva, Sumansdevi (f.), Sumanamala,

The names’ Isignta ‘ and’ Isirakita ‘ may be referring to Rsis in general or a particular Rsi.. Buddhist Bhikkhus also referred to as Isi ; the names can therefore be included under Buddhist names also.

VI. Names referring to demi-gods and sacred animals :-Asa, Cuda-naga, Cudi-naga, Gobuti, Godata, Gopala Kojhara, Kumadata, Mahanaga (m.f.), Mahanakala, Naga (m.f.), Nagadat~, Nagadina (m.f.), Nagamita, Nagasena, Naka, Nakala, Nakali, Paduguta,” Paduma, Padumagnta,,Pigala,” Pigala-Anudi, Pigalaguta, Pigala-Majhima, Pigala-sumana, Uba, Vase, Vahaba, Vahali, Vega, Veli, Velu (m.f.), VeluSumana, Sadila, Siha.

Names after those of trees and plants :-Asoka, Cadana, Nuga, Nugaya, Paduma[ Padma- Lotus], Palikada, Pamatisa, Talatise.Upala (f.)- [ Water Lily].

VII , Names occurring in Sanskrit epics, Pali literature, etc :-Balika, Baraya,Kacaka, Kacili, Kabojha, Ka,bojhiya, Minamata, Nacita, Nada, Pacala, Pada, Paduguta, Paduvasa, Pila, Pulaya, Saba, Sabili, Sagara, Sala, Salika, Suma (m.f.), Upali.

VII . Names indicative of good qualities, wealth, fame, birth, etc :-

Aba , Abaya and Abhaya/ Apa- Fearless,

       The name  Abaya was used by our ancient Kings , The third king was an Abaya and he was succeeded by Pandukabaya. The most famous was  Dutu- Gemunu[ 101-77 BC] who was known on inscriptions as Jetaka Gamini Abaya in an inscription in Ruhuna and in a 4 Cent AD inscription at Kalkulam as  Dutaka Gamini Abaya. Many other kings used this name and Vatta-gamini Abaya built the Abayagiri Dagaba.

 Agabala- Foremost in strength ,

 Anodi – Faultless 

Anudi -Growing or Increasing

Oldest name recorded in writing 6 Cent BC

Anuradha -An Asterism

                    The name of founder of the city of Anuradhapura[ Mahawansa] , The earliest known sinhala inscription

[ 600-500 BC] reads  biya anuradhaThis was found during an archeological excavations at the citadel of Anuradhapura.

Anula, Aunlaya, –After the asterism of Anuradha.

  The name of the queen of King Mahanaga a sub ruler[ Mhv XIV verse 56], who was the first with 500  ladies  to listen to Arahat Mahinda  sermons and receive first and second stages of  sanctification and requested to be ordained. This led to Thera  Sangamitta  coming to the Island.

This Queen Anula was perhaps the great grand mother of  king Dutugemunu. The family tree on inscriptions – see sirimunasihna Pandukabaya and Mutusiva on inscriptions?

Also the name of the first Queen of  the Sinhalese Queen Anula[12-17 AD], the widow of King Cora- Naga[3 BC-9 AD]had four husbands during her reign of 4 years named Siva, Vatuka, Dura-Bathika -Tissa and Niliya.


 Arita/ Arittha, – Best, Noblest.

      Maha- arittha was the name if a nephew of King Devanampiyatissa, his envoy to King Asoka Court, leader of both delegations, the second one that brought back Theri Sangamitta and the Bo-sapling. He was given an honorary rank of Senpathi by Asoka.He Later became a monk.[ Mahawansa]

Asamana,- Un – Common

Asoka, – One who has no sorrow/ A flower.

     Asoka-mali  was the name of theChandala maiden who married Prince Saliya. The sculpture at Issurumuniya, Anuradhapura may be the ccouple or that of Siva and Parvati.

Avirada,One who has no opponant.

 Bada (f.)Elu Bamba- Brahmana caste

 Baginiya, Bakiniya– Sister,


Batiya– Of a Lady,

Buti– Prosperity, Might and Power, Buti-Sumana,

Cema- Khema- Secure,

Cita-kassna– Attracting ones mind,

Cuda- Smaller or Younger,

Cerece– ?

Dahaka/ Dasaka– One who sees,

Danamita– A wealthy-Mitra ,

Daniya– Fortunate,

Daya– Donation or Gift

Dasaka- One who sees,

Dhata/ Data – Gift,

       Rama-datta and Varuna- Data were two sisters princesses , Rama data was the consort of Devanampiyatissa[ IC nos 2 and 31- S Paranavitane]

 Digati– Tall  -Examples Diga-Data-, Diga-Guta, Diga-Kasaba[ Name of previous Buddha], Diga-Naguli, Diga-Sumana– etc

        1  Cent AD die-makers impression of a Tall lady [ Perhaps Mahamaya devi on an Sinhala coin is shown below with a normal coin.


Dipani (f.)- She who inflames



Duga -Durga,

Dataka, A gift

 Duta (f.)- Dutaka , Bold  Daring

Gamini– Dynastic title of early kings placed  on their inscriptions in addition to their personal name suh as Tissa, Abaya, Naga etc. There are few Royal seals with the Royal emblem the railed swastika at the centre with this epithet inscribed in ancient sinhala script.

The above sealing is believed to be of King Sadhatissa[77-59 BC] found at Tissamaharama, which reads De Va Na Ma Ha Ra Jha Ga Ma Ni Ti Sa Ha.The railed swastika is also found on inscriptions of sinhala royalty- Incsriptions of Ceylon- Volume I-Paranavitana. This sealed an important document as traces of the impressions old palm  leaf was discovered by the German excavation team.


Guta (m.f.), Gutaka–  Protected,

Hadaka,Hadana-Efficient & Skillfull,

Hajaya– -Name of a Bard in Mahabaratha.,

 Halana- Auspicious / Good,

 Hamika– Owner

 Hona[ Sona] An Asterism

 Hujata (f.) Sughata-,

Huma (m.f.), Humana (m.f.)- Sumana-

Idika- Ittiya -a Monk in the retinue of Rev Mahinda.,

 Ijhu- Upright,

Isa– Name of a Risi,

                A similar sounding name was -Isigira was the Governer of Nagadipa during the reign of  King Vasaba [126-170 AD]- Villipuram Gold Plate

Jita- Devi- On inscription no 54  Kadigala Ins IC Volume II, the Queen of Vasaba and mother of King Vankanasika Tissa.

Jhita– Daughter,

 Jhotiya, Jhotisena– Light,

Kamacuda– One who has a desired Crest,

Kamina (f.),- Loving One.


                A Queen of  King Sadhatissa[Lakshman.S. PereraAppendix V]

Kubara, Kubili (f.),- God of wealth

Kujha, Kujhika– Personal name,

Lajhaka– Pre-emminant,

Macaka (f.)- Fished eyed one,

Macudi – Diadem wearing king,

Madana (f.) – Adorning,

Mahabi (f.)- Personal name,

 Maha– Great /Famous-Maha-butiya, Mahacudika, Mahadata, Mahaguta, Maha-Haruma, Maharaka, Mahavebeli, Mahavita,

Majhima- Middle , Majhima-Tisa,Majhi-maya,

Mala– Champion,

Mali – Wearing a garland of flowers,



Manalikaci (f),

Manel- The national flower of Sri Lanka.

Nadika– personal name,

Nada/ Nanda– Delight and Happiness

Namali/ Nirmala/Nimmala– Venerable,

Namara– Humble,

 Nila–  Dark Complexioned ,

Nelum – The type of Lotus flower of the Island.

Olu – A lotus flower.

Padita– A learned man,

Pala– Protector,

Parijaya (f.),

Pavita– One who caused rain

Pola/Pabulu– Coral,


Pussa-deva- A General of King Dutugemunu, few inscriptions has been identified with him. The one at Sankapala Temple on the Embilipitiya Rd,. A Conch in engraved by his inscription. A small brick mount beside the road is believed to  be his grave.

Ramani– A princess of a Royal line perhaps of King Vahaba as  described by S Paranavitana-No 52 IC Volume II.


    The chief queen of Dutugemunu[ Rev Ellawala Methnanda 2000 May 29]from an avcient Insription

Sculpture of perhaps 8 Cent AD .the theme suggested  as  King Dutugemunu ,his queen and Prince Saliya

Raka, Raki, Rakita, Rakiya (m.f.], Rakha (f.)- Protected,

Rohaka, Roka– Mounted One/ Cavalry,

Ruga (f.), Rula (f.), Ruvala (f.)- Shapely,

Sadana– Wealthy,

Sadatuta, Sadoya, Sagata,


Samika (f.)- The little dark one,

                           Queen of King Lanjatissa[59-50 BC], a son of King Sadatissa. He had another brother Maha Aya Siva whose wife was Lasani.[Lakshman.S. PereraAppendix V]


Sankha.- Chank , the name of General who was Killed by Parakramabahu the Great.Recently an Intaglio was found inscribed in Sinhala nagari writing. 

Sugula- A Warrior  Queen who ruled the south[ Ruhuna] an aunt of Parakaramabahu the Great, and was reluctant to hand over the Sacred Tooth relic and Bowl. Many a battle was fought before she was defeated and taken prisoner.

Sasirika/ Sasiri-Possesing Speldour,

 Savina (f.)- Learned,

Savi- Moon.

Savera- A personal name –

      The name of Dutugemunu mother Vihara -maha devi as  identified on ancient Inscriptions by Dr S Paranavitane.

                                 A square Sinhala  Coin of lady on a Boat perhaps Vihare Maha Devi[ 1 Cent BC]

Sena– One who posses an Army,

              The most famous Sena was King Mahasena [334-361 AD], he built the tallest stupa Jetvanarama and many tanks. His statue is a Kirivehera ,Kataragama is shown below


Sidata/ Siduhat –  One whose purpose has been achived,

Sigara– Strong One, Sigara-Malu, Sigara-Tisa,

Siri– Goddess of fortune


Sobana– Brilliant,

Sobika– Ornamentle One.

Suba, Subaga (f.)- Good/Aupicious,


Sujhata– High born,

                A coin like object in lead from Akurugoda Tissamaharama inscribed  ‘Sujhata puta tissaha ‘ .  Of Tissa son of Sujhata. Suhata may mean high born or the Chief Queen.

Sulasi (f.),

Sumana– Good Minded,

Sura– Heroic, Surajha, Sura-kita, Sura-tisa,

Sala– Name of a Tree.

Tejhe– Fire /Brilliance,


Tosa (f.)- Pleasure/Satisfaction,

   Very appropriately named Vesi[Courtesan or Nagara Sobini] appears on an ancient cave Inscription at Sigiriya

Tilaka- a Light, a Gem


Thisa-rakitha. A queen of King Asoka who attempted to poison the Bo-tree.[ Mahwansa]- a silver coin[ Kahapana} perhaps depicting this incident is found in fair numbers in the Island, is shown below.

Talata Laci- was a daughter of a Prince Sanga the  Lord of Mahagama,who donated her share of land and the flesh of Peacocks, deer and balck antelope t a Monastery[ Kok-eba Rock Inscription No 81 IC Volume II.

Suka– Happiness

Sumitta– Good friend

Sona– Name of asterism- A deciple of Buddha

Uba-Clever/ Skilfull,

Udaya– Rising,




Uti, Utiya– Sower,

                              A Name of King

Vada, Vadiya,

Vasaba- Bull, Noble.

                          The name of a king

Vajira (f.), Varali,

Vebeliya,Vepali– Abundance,

Yahasaya, Yahasini (f.),She who has a good name.

                     Yahasini the wife of Heir apparent Devanampiya Gamini-Tisa [ Page     xlvii, IC- S Paranavitane]

Yase– Fame, -Yasada, Yasopala.


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