Gender: Feminine
Origin: Latvian
Meaning: debated

I have tracked this name down mercilessly, and as to its origins and meanings, the only relation I could find is the Latvian word vismaz meaning “at least” or “at any rate.” However, I would find that relation to be dubious because phrases like that don’t usually become names. One Russian site even had it listed as meaning “moon path lit on water” what a nice meaning! Though the site I got it from is usually spot on when it comes to the etymology of Russian and Baltic names, I found it odd that a two-syllable name would have a meaning longer than it sounds. I consulted a few Latvian dictionaries looking up moon and any phrases related to the moon, but did not find anything that even remotely resembles Vizma. I even looked up path and water and again, fruitless. So I think it is safe to say that that meaning is just plain wrong. Perhaps its possibly just another one of those ancient Baltic names whose meaning has been lost, in my research I have found a few Baltic female names that have been used for centuries but whose origins and meanings seem to have been lost along the way. Perhaps a name that is left over by one of the various dead Baltic languages such as Prussian.

In Latvia, it’s a fairly common name, and its most attributed to nobel prize winning poetess, Vizma Balsevica (1931-2005). Her most famous work concerned an autobiographical female character by the name of Bille, (I’m guessing this is pronounced BIL-leh). The series chronicles Bille’s life as she grows up through Nazi occupation and then Stalinist Soviet ism era in 1940s Latvia. She is considered one of Latvia’s most renowned authors. Further research turned up several other Vizmas living in Latvia. Its designated name day is August 12.

Update: Well somebody has just informed me that this name is derived from the Latvian verb vizēt – (mirdzēt) meaning to glimmer; glisten; shimmer; glitter”. So I stand corrected. The Moon path lit on water meaning wasn’t that far off after all. Thanks goes to Evelina!

6 thoughts on “Vizma

  1. Vizma comes from Latvian verb “vizēt – (mirdzēt) glimmer; glisten; shimmer; glitter”.
    Description “moon path lit on water” explaining it quiet well.

  2. Agree with Evelina! Vizēt is not used that frequently, but we still use words derived from it, like “vizulis” for “sequin” or “fishing spoon”
    Just wanted to say that Vizma Belševica was only nominated for the Nobel Prize several times, she never actually got it.

    • Thank you Olga. I really appreciate the information. I love bringing Baltic names out of their shell to the Anglophone world but I can never find information in English.

  3. Came across your post today.
    30 years ago, a co worker, who was Latvian, named his new born daughter, Visma. He said then, that it’s meaning describes a phenomena – what you see on a golf course green, a GLOW which surrounds your shadow on the short cut grass. Every time I see this, I think of that word. Check out this site, from another blogger, who co-incidentally posted a picture of this effect today: Google: Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

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