The forms of Gothic names found in works of history are generally based on those found in the Greek and Latin sources.  By comparing these forms to the known Gothic vocabulary and to other Germanic names, however, it is possible to reconstruct something like their original Gothic forms.

Thus historians talk of Theodoric the Great, Odovacar, Alaric or Uraias but the Goths would have said 'Thiudareiks', 'Audawakrs'. 'Alhareiks' and 'Wraihja'. Many Gothic names, like early Germanic names generally, are made of two nymic elements being combined - these tables give a list of some of the more common Gothic nymic elements, with their Modern and Old English equivalents.

Initial Nymic Elements

Gothic English Old English
Ahta- terrible
Airmana- lofty(?) Eormen-
Alh- temple Ealh-
Amala- effort/toil(?)
Anda- spirit/courage
Ans- god Os-
Athala- noble Aethel-
Athana- year(?)
Auda- wealth Ead-
Badwa- battle Beado-
Baltha- bold Bald-
Daga- day Daeg-
Filu- much
Frithu- peace Freothu-
Gaisu- spear Gar-
Gawi- country
Goda- good God-
Guda- God
Guntha- battle Guth-
Harja- army Here-
Hauha- high Heah-
Hildi- war Hilde-
Huna- Hun(?) Hun-
Liuda- people Leod-
Mahta- mighty Meaht-
Nantha- brave Noth-
Ragina- counsel
Reda- counsel Raed-
Reika- ruler/king Ric-
Sigisa- victory Sige-
Sunya- true
Swintha- strong Swith-
Thauris- daring
Thiuda- people Theod-
Thrasa- confidence
Waihti- fighting Wiht-
Wandila- Vandal
Wili- will Wil-
Winitha- Wend
Wulfa- wolf Wulf-

Terminal Nymic Elements (Masculine)

Gothic English Old English
-badws war -baed(?)
-bairhts bright -berht
-balths bold -bald
-friths peaceful -frith
-funs ready/eager -fus
-gairns desiring -georn
-gais spear -gar
-gauya citizen(?)
-harjis army -here
-liufs dear -leof
-mers famous -maer
-munths protector -mund
-nanths daring -noth
-reths counsel -red
-reiks ruler/king -ric
-swinths strong -swith
-wakrs watchful -wacor
-wulfs wolf -wulf

Terminal Nymic Elements (Feminine)

Gothic English Old English
-gunth(i)s battle -gyth
-hild(i)s war -hild
-swintha strong -swith
It is possible to create a Gothic name by combining two of these traditional elements - Gaisumunths = 'spear-protector', or Harjareiks = 'army ruler'.  Many of these duonymic names had 'meanings' which were nonsensical or even contradictory, such as Frithugais (peace spear) or Frithubadws (peace war).  It seems that 'Frithu-' was simply a traditional element for the beginning of a name and '-gais' was simply a traditional element for the ending of a name and the 'meaning' of the two elements in combination simply did not matter.

Eventually the names themselves would have become traditional and no-one would have thought of their meanings any more than modern people think about the Latin, Greek or Hebrew meanings of many of their names.

Some Gothic names seem to be contractions or abbreviations of longer, more traditional forms.  'Gaina' may be a contraction of 'Gaisananths' for example.  Similarly, 'Wamba' may be a contraction of 'Wandilbairhts', or it may mean 'belly' (as in the English 'womb') and be a nickname for a fat man or a man with a large appetite.

Other Gothic names were diminutives, created by the addition of the suffixes '-ila' or '-ika'.  'Attila' (Little Father - 'atta'+'-ila') is one of the more famous of these names, as is 'Wulfila' (Little Wolf) the original Gothic form of the name of the apostle to the Goths, Ulphilas.

Finally, shorter Gothic names were also common and these were formed by adding the final elements '-a' or '-ja' to the initial nymic elements listed above or to other Gothic words.  So Uraias' real name may have been 'Wraihja' from the vern 'wreihan' - to protect, while Leuva could have been 'Liuba' from the noun 'liufs' - dear one.