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GenderFeminine
Scriptsאֶסְתֵר Hebrew Εσθηρ Ancient Greek
PronouncedPron.ES-tər EnglishDutch
ES-TER French
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Meaning & History

Possibly means "star" in Persian. Alternatively it could be a derivative of the name of the Near Eastern goddess ISHTAR. The Book of Esther in the Old Testament tells the story of Queen Esther, the Jewish wife of the king of Persia. The king's advisor Haman persuaded the king to exterminate all the Jews in the realm. Warned of this plot by her cousin Mordecai, Esther revealed her Jewish ancestry and convinced the king to execute Haman instead. Her original Hebrew name was Hadassah.

This name has been used in the English-speaking world since the Protestant Reformation. In America it received a boost in popularity after the birth of Esther Cleveland (1893-1980), the daughter of President Grover Cleveland.
VariantsEster Spanish Ester Danish Ester Norwegian Ester Swedish Hester Biblical Latin
DiminutivesEssie, Esta English Estee Jewish
Other Languages & Cultures'Ester Biblical Hebrew Ester Catalan Ester Czech Ester, Esteri, Essi Finnish Eszter, Eszti Hungarian Ester Icelandic Ester Italian Estera Lithuanian Estera Polish Ester Portuguese Yesfir, Esfir Russian Estera Slovak

Images

Ahasuerus and Haman at the Feast of Esther by Rembrandt (1660)Ahasuerus and Haman at the Feast of Esther by Rembrandt (1660)

Sources & References

  • Cleveland Kent Evans, The Great Big Book of Baby Names (2006)

Categories

biblical, biblical women, books of the Bible, Charles Dickens characters, Cheers characters, goddesses, Gundam characters, history, Jane Austen characters, Louisa May Alcott characters, never out of the US top 1000, Poldark characters, queens, stars, uncertain etymology
Entry updated May 31, 2018   Contribute