Zimri

Zimri is the name of several figures in the Bible, including a king of Israel who only ruled for seven days before being succeeded by Omri. The names comes from Hebrew zamar זמר “to sing” or “song, music” which ultimately derives from Proto-Semitic *zamar– (to make music). I’ve also seen quite a few sources list it as meaning “praiseworthy” and I’m not sure which meaning is the right one, or if they both are.

Zimri is also the name of a Pashtun tribe in Afghanistan which may be derived from Pashto zmaráy زمری‎ meaning “lion”, which is also the name of the fifth month of the Afghan calendar.

Origin: Proto-Semitic; Pashto

Meaning: from Hebrew related to “music, song” though I’ve also seen it meaning “praiseworthy”; also the name of a Pashtun tribe likely meaning “lion”

Usage: Hebrew, Pashto

Variants:

  • Zmarai (Pashto)
  • Zmaray (Pashto)
  • Zmarak (Pashto)

Female forms:

  • Zemirah (Hebrew)
  • Zemira (Hebrew)

Zeus

Zeus is the main god in the Greek pantheon, the god of the sky and thunder, law and order, and oaths. According to mythology, he was the youngest son of the Titan Cronus and Rhea. Because his father was told that a son of his would overthrow him just as Cronus had overthrown his own father Uranus, Cronus would swallow every child Rhea gave birth to, boy or girl. When Zeus was about to be born, Rhea devised a plan to save him by swaddling a bundle of blankets or clothes with rocks and switching it out with the baby Zeus whom she gave to some nymphs to take care of. When Zeus came of age, he somehow managed to make his father gorge out the children he had swallowed and together they banded together to fight against the Titans, ending in victory for the Olympians.

The name ultimately derives from PIE *dyḗws meaning “sky, heaven; god”, a derivative of root word *dyew (bright, shine; sky, heaven).

Origin: Proto-Indo-European

Meaning: “sky, heaven”, “god”, “bright”, “shine”

Usage: Ancient Greek

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Male variants:

  • Zeno (Latinized Ancient Greek, Italian)
  • Zenon (Ancient Greek, Polish)
  • Zinon (Modern Greek)

Female forms:

  • Zenais (Ancient Greek)
  • Zenaida (Late Greek)
  • Zénaïs (French)

Zara

Zara is a Bulgarian diminutive of Zaharina, the Bulgarian and Macedonian feminine form of Zechariah, a Hebrew masculine name meaning “Yahweh remembers” or “Yahweh has remembered”.

Zara could also be a variant spelling of Sara meaning “lady, princess, noblewoman,” which ultimately derives from Proto-Semitic *ś-r-r (to rule), which seems to be a cognate of Akkadian šarru (king).

Zara is also the English form of Zaïre, a name created by French writer and philosopher Voltaire for his play Zaïre. He may have based it on the Arabic name Zahra زَهْرَة (flower, blossom) or from zahara زَهَرَ (to shine, to be radiant, to give light)

Origin: Hebrew, Proto-Semitic, Arabic

Meaning: a diminutive of Zaharina “Yahweh remembers” or “Yahweh has remembered”; a variant spelling of Sarah “lady, princess, noblewoman”; could also have been based on French Zaïre, itself based on Arabic Zahra “flower, blossom” or “shining, brilliant, light”

Usage: English, Bulgarian

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Variants:

  • Sarah (English, Hebrew, Arabic, French, German)
  • Sara (English, Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, Greek, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Catalan, Romanian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Finnish, German, French, Dutch, Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Polish, Bosnian, Biblical Greek)
  • Sarra (Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek)
  • Zarah (English)
  • Zahra (Arabic, Persian)
  • Zahara (Hebrew)
  • Zaïre (French)