Friday, January 29, 2016

Biblically Unisex

It can't be, right? Unisex names are a modern thing!
Well, no; not really. While using male/"unisex" names on girls is a pretty trendy thing in the US right now, there have always been unisex names.
I do think that many [rarer] Biblical names should be up for grabs for both genders anyway--after all, who's to say they weren't used on girls in Biblical times? Most aren't etymologically gendered, and there are at least 10x more men named in the Bible than women....but I digress.
If you'd rather stick to unisex names there's precedent for, that's pretty understandable. ;)
  • Abihail "my father is might"
  • Abijah, Abiah "my father is Yahweh"
  • Ahlai "wishful"
  • Anah "answer"
  • Athaliah, Athlai "Yahweh binds"
  • Ephah "darkness"
  • Gomer "completion"
  • Hodiah "majesty of Yahweh"
  • Hushim "hastening"
  • Maacah, Maachah "depression [of the ground]"
  • Mehetabel "God makes glad"
  • Micaiah, Michaiah "who is like Yahweh?"
  • Noadiah "meeting with Yahweh"
  • Noah "movement" (fem), "rest" (masc)
    [usually spelled Noa when used on girls in the US today, but in the English Bible, both are Noah. The masculine name would really be more faithfully transliterated as Noach]
  • Oholibamah "tent in the high place"
  • Puah "glitter" (fem), "strike to pieces" (masc)
  • Shelomith "peaceable"
  • Shua "wealth" (fem), "cry for help" (masc)
  • Timna "restraint"

I also found another interesting set of names--Biblically used for both people and locations. When they have caught on in modern times, Biblical place names tend toward feminine (e.g. Bethany, Beulah, Moriah, Belén, Shiloh), but interestingly, most of these are masculine names.
Of course, many may be artifacts of transliteration, or places named for people. ;)
(I came across most of these by accident; it's probably nowhere near a complete list!)
  • Alemeth, Alameth "covering"
  • Anathoth "answers"
  • Ariel "lion of God"
    [masculine on people, but the symbolic name for Jerusalem, which is personified as feminine]
  • Azel "noble"
  • Bilhah "timid" [feminine]
  • Dedan--unknown meaning
  • Eden "delight" [yes, a masculine name in the Bible!]
  • Eder "flock"
  • Ephrath, Ephrathah "fruitful" [feminine]
  • Eshcol "cluster [like of grapes]"
  • Gilead "memorial cairn"
  • Haran "scorched"
  • Havilah poss. "circular" or "sand"
  • Hebron "association"
  • Hezron "court"
  • Jabesh "dry"
  • Japhia "shining"
  • Naamah "pleasantness" [feminine]
  • Naarah, Naarath "maiden" [feminine]
  • Ophir--unknown meaning
  • Ophrah "fawn"
  • Penuel "face of God"
  • Rehob "wide space" [not to be confused with feminine name Rahab]
  • Rekem "many-colored"
  • Rimmon, Remmon "pomegranate"
  • Sheba--meaning unknown
  • Teman "south"
  • Tirzah "delightful" [feminine]

4 comments:

  1. Hello! I just discovered your site via Appellation Mountain! Super cool! I love Tirzah and Noah! I love this post! I'm a name blogger too at belovedbabynames.com!

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    1. Thanks! I'll check out your site, too! Love finding new name blogs. :)

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  2. I also just discovered your blog thanks to Abbey. I've literally gone through almost all your content in the last 48 hours. Fantastic blog! I'll be reading from now on. I even have a content suggestion. You've got one of your Usual Nn/Unusual Name posts on Callie but not Cal (boy). I've been coming back to this nn a lot lately in names like Calvin and Calloway but I'd love to see what you have. Also I can never get enough of obscure, historical, long lost names. Probably why I love it here!

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    1. Wow, thanks! I'm still amazed anyone else actually reads this; I started it mostly for fun. :) Cal is a great idea (and such a great nickname). I'll get on that soon. :)

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