ABILENE f English
From a place name mentioned briefly in the New Testament. It is probably from Hebrew אָבֵל ('avel)
meaning "meadow, grassy area". It has occasionally been used as a given name in modern times.
APHRA f Various
Meaning uncertain; possibly a variant of AFRA (1)
, or possibly a variant of Aphrah
, a biblical place name meaning "dust". This name was borne by the English writer Aphra Behn (1640-1689).
ARIEL m & f Hebrew, English, French, Spanish, Biblical, Biblical Greek
Means "lion of God"
in Hebrew, from אֲרִי ('ari)
meaning "lion" and אֵל ('el)
meaning "God". In the Old Testament it is used as another name for the city of Jerusalem. Shakespeare used it as the name of a spirit in his play The Tempest
(1611), and one of the moons of Uranus bears this name in his honour. As an English name, it became more common for females in the 1980s, especially after it was used for the title character in the Walt Disney film The Little Mermaid
BETHANY f English
From the name of a biblical town, Βηθανια (Bethania)
in Greek, which is probably of Aramaic or Hebrew origin, possibly meaning "house of affliction" or "house of figs". In the New Testament the town of Bethany is the home of Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha. It has been in use as a rare given name in the English-speaking world since the 19th century, used primarily by Catholics in honour of Mary of Bethany. In America it became moderately common after the 1950s.
BETHEL f English
From an Old Testament place name meaning "house of God"
in Hebrew. This was a town north of Jerusalem, where Jacob
saw his vision of the stairway. It is occasionally used as a given name.
CANAAN m Biblical
Meaning unknown. In the Old Testament this is the name of a son of Ham
. He is said to be the ancestor of the Canaanite people.
EBENEZER m Biblical
Means "stone of help"
in Hebrew. This was the name of a monument erected by Samuel
in the Old Testament. Charles Dickens used it for the miserly character Ebenezer Scrooge in his novel A Christmas Carol
EDEN f & m Hebrew, English (Modern)
Possibly from Hebrew עֵדֶן
('eden) meaning "pleasure, delight", or perhaps derived from Sumerian 𒂔 (edin)
meaning "plain". According to the Old Testament the Garden of Eden was the place where the first people, Adam
, lived before they were expelled.
EDOM m Biblical
From Hebrew אָדֹם ('adom)
. According to the Old Testament, Esau
, who is described as having red skin, was given this name because he traded his birthright for a helping of red broth. The bible goes on to tell that Esau was the founder of the ancient nation of Edom, located to the south of the kingdom of Judah.
GETHSEMANE f Various
From a biblical place name, the garden where Jesus
was arrested, located on the Mount of Olives near Jerusalem. It is derived from Γεθσημανι (Gethsemani)
, the Greek form of an Aramaic name meaning "oil vat". It is very rarely used as a given name.
GILEAD m Biblical
From an Old Testament place name meaning "heap of witness"
in Hebrew. This was a mountainous region east of the Jordan River. Besides being a place name, it is also borne by people in the Bible.
HAVILAH m Biblical
Probably means "to dance, to circle, to twist"
in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is both a place name and a masculine personal name.
IVAH f Biblical
From the name of a district of Babylon, mentioned in the Old Testament.
JERICHO m English (Modern)
From the name of a city in Israel that is mentioned several times in the Old Testament. The meaning of the city's name is uncertain, but it may be related to the Hebrew word יָרֵחַ (yareach)
meaning "moon", or otherwise to the Hebrew word רֵיחַ (reyach)
JORDAN m & f English, French, Macedonian
From the name of the river that flows between the countries of Jordan and Israel. The river's name in Hebrew is יַרְדֵן (Yarden)
, and it is derived from יָרַד (yarad)
or "flow down"
. In the New Testament John
the Baptist baptizes Jesus
Christ in its waters, and it was adopted as a personal name in Europe after crusaders brought water back from the river to baptize their children. There may have been some influence from the Germanic name JORDANES
, notably borne by a 6th-century Gothic historian.... [more]
JUDAH m Biblical
From the Hebrew name יְהוּדָה (Yehudah)
, probably derived from יָדָה (yadah)
meaning "praise". In the Old Testament Judah is the fourth of the twelve sons of Jacob
, and the ancestor of the tribe of Judah. An explanation for his name is given in Genesis 29:35
. His tribe eventually formed the Kingdom of Judah in the south of Israel. King David
were among the descendants of him and his wife Tamar
. This name was also borne by Judah Maccabee, the Jewish priest who revolted against Seleucid rule in the 2nd century BC, as told in the Books of Maccabees.... [more]
MOAB m Biblical
Means "of his father"
in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of a son of Lot
. He was the ancestor of the Moabites, a people who lived in the region called Moab to the east of Israel.
MORIAH f English (Modern)
From Hebrew מֹרִיָה (Moriyah)
possibly meaning "seen by YAHWEH
". This is a place name in the Old Testament, both the land where Abraham
is to sacrifice Isaac
and the mountain upon which Solomon
builds the temple. They may be the same place. Since the 1980s it has occasionally been used as a feminine given name in America.
OPHRAH m Biblical
in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of both a man mentioned in genealogies and a city in Manasseh.
SELA f English (Rare)
From the name of a city, the capital of Edom, which appears in the Old Testament. It means "rock" in Hebrew.
SHARON f English
From an Old Testament place name, in Hebrew שָׁרוֹן (Sharon)
, which means "plain"
, referring to the fertile plain near the coast of Israel. This is also the name of a type of flowering shrub, the rose of Sharon. It has been in use as a given name since the 1920s, possibly inspired by the heroine in the serial novel The Skyrocket
(1925) by Adela Rogers St. Johns.
SHEBA m Biblical
in Hebrew. This is the name of several characters in the Old Testament. Also in the Bible, this is a place name, referring to a region in Ethiopia. The queen of Sheba visited Solomon after hearing of his wisdom.
SHILOH m & f Biblical
From an Old Testament place name possibly meaning "tranquil"
in Hebrew. It is also used prophetically in the Old Testament to refer to a person, often understood to be the Messiah (see Genesis 49:10
). This may in fact be a mistranslation. This name was brought to public attention after actors Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt gave it to their daughter in 2006.