Lystra

Lystra is the name of a town in Anatolia (also known as Asia Minor) in what is now modern-day Turkey. It is mentioned several times in the New Testament where the Apostle Paul and his companion Barnabas passed through and where he met Timothy, a future saint who would also become Paul’s companion. The name Lystra is of unknown origin though it likely seems to be pre-Greek in origin. It could be possible that the first part of the name could have been interpreted by the Ancient Greeks from luo λυω “to loosen, unbind”- the first part of the name certainly resembles names beginning with it such as Lysander or Lysistrate, but it seems more likely that it originated from a Proto-Anatolian origin.

Origin: unknown

Meaning: unknown though it may have been interpreted to the Ancient Greeks via luo λυω “to loosen, unbind”

Usage: English

Pronunciation: lye-stra (Forvo)

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)

Hadassah

Hadassah is a Hebrew female name meaning “myrtle”. It was the Hebrew name of Queen Esther, the wife of Ahasuerus, the king of Persia. When the king’s chief advisor, Haman, plots to have all the Jews in the kingdom assassinated, Esther is the one who helps foil his plan. 

Origin: Hebrew

Meaning: “myrtle”

Usage: Hebrew

Variants:

  • Hadasa (Hebrew)
  • Hadas (Hebrew)
  • Hode (Yiddish)
  • Hodel (Yiddish diminutive of Hode)

Gad

In the Old Testament Gad is the name of the first son of Jacob and Zilpah (his wife Leah’s handmaid) and his seventh son overall, and is the founder of one of the Israelite tribes named after him. The name comes from Hebrew gad (גָּד) meaning “luck” which seems to derive from an unknown origin. Gad could also be used as a nickname for Gadiel meaning “luck of God” or God is my luck”. 

Gad is also the name of a pan-Semitic god of fortune and seems to be related to the given name; perhaps the Gad in the Bible was named after this deity. Gad is also the name of a prophet or seer of King David

Gad also seems to be another Hebrew word for coriander

Gad (جاد) is also an Arabic male name, the Egyptian form of Jad meaning “earnest, serious”.

Gad is also a Navajo word meaning “juniper (tree)”.

Origin: Hebrew via an uncertain etymology; Arabic; Navajo

Meaning: a Hebrew male name “luck”; an Arabic male name “serious, earnest”; also a Navajo word “juniper” 

Usage: Hebrew, Arabic (Egyptian)

Pronunciation: gad or jad

Variants:

  • Gadiel (Hebrew)
  • Jad (Arabic)

Links:

Jabez

Jabez is the name of a character in the Old Testament who is blessed by God. The name comes from Hebrew meaning “sorrow” or “pain”, so named because his birth caused his mother great pain.

Jabez is also a surname originating from the given name.

Origin: Hebrew

Meaning: “sorrow” or “pain”

Usage: Hebrew, English

Pronunciation: jay-bez (Forvo)

Hosea

Hosea is the name of one of the twelve minor prophets in the Old Testament as well as being the eponymous name of the Book of Hosea. The name comes from Biblical Hebrew Hoshea which derives from Hebrew meaning “salvation” via a root word (to save, free).

Hosea is an also an English surname originating from the given name.

Origin: Hebrew

Meaning: “salvation”

Usage: Hebrew, English

Pronunciation: ho-say-uh (Forvo)

Variants:

  • Hoshea (Biblical, Biblical Hebrew)
  • Oshea (variant of Hoshea in some versions of the Bible)
  • Hosee (Biblical Greek)
  • Osee (Biblical Latin)

Philip

Philip comes from Ancient Greek Philippos, the name of several kings of Macedonia which may have popularized the name, and was popular among European royalty. Philip is also found in the New Testament, the name of one of the 12 Apostles as well as theme of one of the Seven deacons. The name comes from Ancient Greek Philippos meaning “lover of horses”, composed of Ancient Greek elements philos φῐ́λος (love, like) and hippos ῐ̔́ππος (horse), both derived from a PIE origin.

Philip is also an English surname originating from the given name.

Origin: Proto-Indo-European

Meaning: “lover of horses”

Usage: English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch

Nicknames: Phil, Pip, Flip (Dutch diminutive of Filip)

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Variants:

  • Philippos (Ancient Greek)
  • Philippus (Latinized Ancient Greek)
  • Filippos (Modern Greek)
  • Phillip (English)
  • Filip (Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Czech, Slovak, Bulgarian, Polish, Croatian, Serbian, Slovene, Macedonian, Romanian, Finnish)
  • Filippus (Dutch)
  • Vilppu (Finnish)
  • Felip (Catalan)
  • Felipe (Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese)
  • Filipe (Portuguese)
  • Filippu (Corsican)
  • Philippe (French)
  • Philipp (German)
  • Fülöp (Hungarian)
  • Pilib (Irish)
  • Filib (Scottish)
  • Filippo (Italian)
  • Filips (Latvian)
  • Pilypas (Lithuanian)
  • Piripi (Maori)
  • Filipp (Russian)
  • Pylyp (Ukrainian)

Female forms:

  • Philippa (English)
  • Philipa (English)
  • Pippa (English diminutive of Philippa)
  • Phillippa (English, German)
  • Philippina (German)
  • Philippine (French)
  • Filippa (Modern Greek, Swedish, Italian)
  • Filipa (Portuguese)
  • Filipina (Polish)
  • Felipa (Spanish)

Daniel

Daniel is the name of several figures in the Bible, including the prophet Daniel, who features in the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament. It comes from a Hebrew name meaning “God is my judge” or “judge of God”, made up of Hebrew dan דָּן (to judge) and el אֵל (god).

Daniel is also a surname originating from the given name.

Origin: Proto-Semitic

Meaning: “God is my judge” or “judge of God”

Usage: English, Hebrew, French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovene, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Croatian, Armenian, Georgian

Nicknames: Dan, Danny/Dannie

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Variants:

  • Danilo (Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Slovene, Serbian, Croatian)
  • Daniele (Italian)
  • Danijel (Slovene, Croatian, Serbian)
  • Danyal (Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Turkish)
  • Taniel (Armenian)
  • Danel (Basque)
  • Deniel (Breton)
  • Danail (Bulgarian)
  • Daniël (Dutch)
  • Dániel (Hungarian, Faroese)
  • Dánjal (Faroese)
  • Taneli (Finnish)
  • Daníel (Icelandic)
  • Daniels (Latvian)
  • Danielius (Lithuanian)
  • Daniil (Russian)
  • Deiniol (Welsh)

Feminine forms:

  • Danielle (French, English)
  • Danièle (French)
  • Daniela (Bulgarian, Italian, German, Czech, Slovak, Romanian, Portuguese, Spanish, Macedonian, English)
  • Daniella (English)
  • Dana (Romanian, Czech, Slovak, German, Hebrew)
  • Danijela (Slovene, Croatian, Serbian)
  • Daniëlle (Dutch)

Eliam

Eliam is the name of two figures in the Bible, the name of the father of Bathsheba (the wife of King David and the mother of Solomon), as well as the name of one of David’s Thirty Warriors. The name means “God’s people” or “people of God” though I’ve also seen it listed as meaning “God is my nation”, composed of Hebrew el אל (god) and am עם (people, nation).

Origin: Proto-Semitic, Hebrew

Meaning: “God’s people” or “people of God” or “God is my nation”

Usage: Hebrew

Variants:

  • Eliyam (Hebrew)
  • Elyam (Hebrew)
  • Ammiel (Hebrew)- a transposed form of Eliam

Joseph

Joseph is the name of several figures in the Bible, including the husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus; another famous Joseph is the son of Jacob and Rachel, the most beloved of his father’s sons. This caused his half-brothers to be envious of Joseph, so much so that they sold him into slavery. He was brought to Egypt and bought by Potiphar, captain of the palace guards, and was made the head of the household slaves. However, Potiphar‘s wife became attracted to Joseph and attempted to seduce him; when he refused she told her husband that Joseph had tried to rape her, and Potiphar threw him in jail. While in jail, Joseph interpreted the dreams of the royal cupbearer and baker when they were imprisoned with him, successfully interpreting their dreams. Two years after the cupbearer was released and the pharaoh was puzzling over two dreams none of his advisors could explain, the cupbearer remembered Joseph and told the pharaoh, who summoned him. Joseph explained the dreams to the pharaoh who was so impressed with Joseph’s wisdom that he made him his vizier.

Joseph comes from Hebrew Yosef meaning “(God) will add” from a root word meaning “add, increase”; he was Rachel‘s first son with Jacob after many years of infertility and she named him in the hope of having more.

Joseph is also a surname originating from the given name.

Origin: Hebrew

Meaning: “he will add”, essentially referring to prosperity and abundance

Usage: English, German, French

Nicknames: Joe, Joey, Josey/Josie, Seph, Joss, Jody

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Variants:

  • Josef (German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Czech, Scandinavian)
  • Yousef (Arabic)
  • Youssef (Arabic)
  • Yusef (Arabic)
  • Yusuf (Arabic, Turkish)
  • Yosef (Hebrew)
  • Hovsep (Armenian)
  • Yusif (Azerbaijani)
  • Joseba (Basque)
  • Josepe (Basque)
  • Ioseph (Biblical Greek & Latin)
  • Ioses (Biblical Greek)
  • Joses (Greek)
  • Yosif (Bulgarian)
  • Josep (Catalan)
  • Josip (Croatian, Slovene)
  • Josephus (Dutch, Latin)
  • Jozef (Slovak, Dutch)
  • Jozefo (Esperanto)
  • Joosep (Estonian)
  • Jooseppi (Finnish)
  • Xosé (Galician)
  • Ioseb (Georgian)
  • Iosif (Russian, Greek, Romanian)
  • József (Hungarian)
  • Seosamh (Irish)
  • Giuseppe (Italian)
  • Iosephus (Latin)
  • Jāzeps (Latvian)
  • Juozapas (Lithuanian)
  • Josif (Serbian, Macedonian)
  • Hohepa (Maori)
  • Josèp (Occitan)
  • Józef (Polish)
  • José (Spanish, Portuguese)
  • Osip (Russian)
  • Seòsaidh (Scottish)
  • Jožef (Slovene)
  • Yosyp (Ukrainian)
  • Yusup (Uyghur)

Feminine forms:

  • Josepha (English, German)
  • Josephine (German, Dutch, English)
  • Joséphine (French)
  • Josèphe (French)
  • Josée (French)
  • Josette (French diminutive of Joséphine)
  • Josipa (Croatian)
  • Jozefina (Croatian)
  • Josefa (Spanish, Portuguese, Czech)
  • Josefina (Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish)
  • Josefine (Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, German, Scandinavian)
  • Jozefien (Dutch)
  • Josefiina (Finnish)
  • Jozefa (Hungarian, Slovene)
  • Giuseppa (Italian)
  • Giosetta (Italian form of Josette)
  • Józefa (Polish)
  • Józefina (Polish)
  • Josefína (Slovak)
  • Jožefa (Slovene)

Abner

Abner is a Hebrew male name meaning “my father is light” or “father’s light”, made up from Hebrew av אָב (father) and ner נֵר (lamp; light), both derived from a Proto-Semitic origin.

Abner is the name of a figure in the Old Testament, the cousin of Saul, the first king of Israel, and the commander of his army.

Abner is also an English surname originating from the given name.

Origin: Proto-Semitic

Meaning: “my father is light” or “father’s light”

Usage: Hebrew, English

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Variants:

  • Avner (Hebrew, Biblical Hebrew)
  • Abenner (Biblical Greek)