A Yahoo answer says no, but I thought I'd ask my more enlightened StackExchange friends.

  • Here is one authoritative-looking source I found: s155239215.onlinehome.us/turkic/25Bulgars/BulgarsEthnonymEn.htm
    – user38936
    Jan 14, 2014 at 0:48
  • 1
    Not even for the Volga Bulgars. Jan 14, 2014 at 13:01
  • Just because something is said in yahoo answers, doesn't necessarily mean it is wrong, though it often seems that way, but more significantly that answer does quote another source, and almost succeeds in linking to it.
    – Jon Hanna
    Jan 4, 2015 at 22:26

2 Answers 2


Bulgaria is very close to the native word: България (pronounced /bəlˈɡarija/). This name has a Turkic origin, which fits with the history of the Bulgar people, who were a group of Turkic tribes who settled in a region where the dominant language family was Slavonic and adopted that language. Wiktionary in Bulgarian (yes, I know) lists Turkic cognates, and Wiktionary in English lists a Turkic origin. Wikipedia notes that the etymology is disputed, but does not offer a non-Turkic hypothesis. A reference found by Kenny LJ mentions that a cognate of Bulgar was used in China in the 1st century BC, well before the Romans may have had a chance to name them.

The root of vulgar is attested in Latin well before the Bulgars migrated into the Balkans (as in vulgus, the people, the masses).

Given that Turkic and Indo-European languages are not known to be related, the likelihood that there is a common origin to the two words is extremely small, and if there was one it would be extremely remote.

  • 1
    what is your evidence that bulgar is of Turkic origin? The fact that vulgus is attested in Latin well before the Bulgars migrated into the Balkans, does not show that the word Bulgar is not derived from vulgus.
    – user104000
    Jan 4, 2015 at 9:51
  • 3
    @danpink Vulgus existed in Latin before the Bulgars migrated into the Balkans, and a form of the name Bulgar existed for the Bulgarians before they migrated into the Balkans. Since the words existed on both sides before the two worlds had significant interactions, that makes it unlikely that the words had a common origin. I gave references for my claims and do mention that some are disputed. Jan 4, 2015 at 14:29
  • Some Bulgarian historians question the identification of the Bulgars as a Turkic tribe and suggest an Iranian origin.[87][88] Wikipedia
    – deckoff
    Jun 12, 2020 at 5:42

It is very likely that the case is coincidence Bulgar-Vulgar. But giving the fact that the Byzantines \At that time writing in roman, the main source for the Bulgarians from the very first appearance of them on the Balkans in 5 century BC\ always describe them in negative way, or just with neglect for the real identity of the tribes, it is very plausible the use by them of the word 'Vulgus' and 'vulgarian' just by the way. Also it`s interesting that there is no mention of tribe 'Bulgar/Bolgar' during the settlement south of Danube in 680 BC. The Byzantines sources explicitly point 'Kutrigurs, Onogurs, Utigurs" and others but Bulgars. It is true that they very positively described their country 'Old Great Bulgaria" with the proven christian ruler - Khan Kubrat as their and personal friend of the Emperor Irakliy with whom they have had life-long peace and alliance, after which the settlement had begun. After that when the hostilities had been the agenda and until today some Byzantines and Greeks intentionally had errored the first letter 'B" with 'V", common and distinctive feature between neighbours.