Name Meaning
Slide 37 of 94
Slide 37

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Names, by definition, have no meaning – they are references to objects; they "mean" the person they name.  A name's underlying "meaning" is often not very important.  Most people today don't know the meaning of their own English names.  A name's meaning rarely affects genealogical research.

The underlying meaning of many Jewish names can fall into several categories.  There are the traditional Biblical names: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Sarah, Rachel, Leah, Rebecca, etc., which have underlying meanings that are theological, or obscure or debatable.

There are also names whose underlying meaning is the name of an animal: Arya and Leib (lion), Ze'ev and Volf (wolf), Tzvi and Hirsh (deer), Dov and Ber (bear), Fishel (fish), Devorah (bee), Tzivia and Hinda (doe), Tzipporah and Feiga (bird), etc.

There are several Yiddish female names which are colors, referring to complexion, hair color or eye color: Breina means brown, Charna means black, Gella means yellow or blond, Gruna means green, and Roza means red.

There are several female names that reflect personal qualities: Sheina means beautiful; Liba means lovable; Malka means queen; Tova, Gitel and Dobra mean good, etc.

And then there are timely names and amuletic names, discussed earlier.