The name is most likely a contraction of Väinämöinen, which is most likely derived from the name of a river, which in itself is derived from a Finnic element, väinä, meaning, “wide”.
In Finnish and Estonian mythology, Väinämöinen, (or Vanemuine in Estonian), was a god-like figure who possessed a magical voice and loved to play on his Finnish harp.
He plays a central and integral part in the Kalevala and in the Estonian epic, the Kalevipoeg.
In both Finland and Estonia, Väinämöinen and Vanemuine are rarely used as given names, but its abbreviated forms are fairly common .
As of 2011, Väinö was the 23rd most popular male name in Finland.
Another Finnish form is Väinämö, its diminutive forms are: Väiski, Väiskä, Vänni, Vänski, Väntti/Väntty, Vänttä, Vänä and Väpä.
Other forms include:
- Väino (Estonian)
- Väinu (Estonian)
- Veaidnu (Sami)
- Vejne (Swedish)
The designated name-day in both Finland and Estonia is February 17.
- Turunen, Aimo (1981). Kalevalan sanat ja niiden taustat. Karjalaisen kulttuurin edistämissäätiö
- Toim. Maarti Kaimio, Paavo Castren, Jorma Kaimio: Antiikin myytit ja uskonnot (2007)
- Martti Haavio: Väinämöinen (1950)