Gender Feminine
Scripts רָחֵל(Hebrew)
Pronounced Pron. RAY-chəl(English)
RA-SHEHL(French)
RAH-khəl(Dutch)
RA-khəl(German)
  [key·IPA]

Meaning & History

From the Hebrew name רָחֵל (Rachel) meaning "ewe". In the Old Testament this is the name of the favourite wife of Jacob. Her father Laban tricked Jacob into marrying her older sister Leah first, though in exchange for seven years of work Laban allowed Jacob to marry Rachel too. Initially barren and facing her husband's anger, she offered her handmaid Bilhah to Jacob to bear him children. Eventually she was herself able to conceive, becoming the mother of Joseph and Benjamin.

The name was common among Jews in the Middle Ages, but it was not generally used as a Christian name in the English-speaking world until after the Protestant Reformation. It was moderately popular in the first half of the 20th century, but starting in the 1960s it steadily rose, reaching highs in the 1980s and 90s. The character Rachel Green on the American sitcom Friends (1994-2004) may have only helped delay its downswing.

Notable bearers include American conservationist Rachel Carson (1907-1964), British actress Rachel Weisz (1970-), and Canadian actress Rachel McAdams (1978-).

Related Names

VariantsRachael, Racheal, Rachelle, Richelle, Rachyl, Raschelle(English) Rahel(Biblical Latin)
DiminutiveRae(English)
Other Languages & CulturesRhachel(Biblical Greek) Rahela(Croatian) Rakel(Danish) Raakel(Finnish) Ráhel(Hungarian) Rakel(Icelandic) Ráichéal(Irish) Rachele(Italian) Rakel(Norwegian) Raquel(Portuguese) Rahela(Romanian) Rahela(Serbian) Raquel(Spanish) Rakel(Swedish) Rochel(Yiddish)
User SubmissionRáchel

People think this name is

classic   formal   natural   wholesome   strong   refined   simple   serious   nerdy  

Name Days

France: January 15

Images

Rachel being watched Jacob in an image by Gustave Doré (1866)Rachel being watched Jacob in an image by Gustave Doré (1866)

Categories

Entry updated April 5, 2022