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PronouncedPron.ze-BAS-tyan German
sə-BAS-chən English
se-BAS-tyan Polish
SE-bahs-tee-ahn Finnish

Meaning & History

From the Latin name Sebastianus which meant "from Sebaste". Sebaste was the name a town in Asia Minor, its name deriving from Greek σεβαστος (sebastos) "venerable" (a translation of Latin Augustus, the title of the Roman emperors). According to Christian tradition, Saint Sebastian was a 3rd-century Roman soldier martyred during the persecutions of the emperor Diocletian. After he was discovered to be a Christian, he was tied to a stake and shot with arrows. This however did not kill him. Saint Irene of Rome healed him and he returned to personally admonish Diocletian, whereupon the emperor had him beaten to death.

Due to the saint's popularity, the name came into general use in medieval Europe, especially in Spain and France. It was also borne by a 16th-century king of Portugal who died in a crusade against Morocco.
DiminutivesBastian German Sepi, Seppo Finnish
Other Languages & CulturesSebastijan Croatian Sebastiaan, Bas, Bastiaan Dutch Sébastien, Bastien French Sebestyén Hungarian Sebastiano Italian Sebastianus Late Roman Sebastião Portuguese Sevastian, Sevastyan Russian Sebastijan, Sebastjan, Boštjan Slovene Sebastián Spanish
Same SpellingSebastián
User SubmissionSebastían


Engraving of Saint Sebastian by Dürer (1500)Engraving of Saint Sebastian by Dürer (1500)


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Entry updated December 8, 2017   Contribute