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Biblical Girls Names On The Rise
Hello everyone! Today we're going to talk about one of my favorite categories of names (again): biblical names! Many biblical names are considered classics and have been used so often for so long that many of them seem a little tired. As parents search for fresher sounding names, many of these classic biblical names have fallen by the wayside. However, many biblical names that fell out of favor decades ago are getting a second look. All of the names on this list gained popularity between 2013 and 2014 and some have been gaining for several years now.
I love biblical names but I'll be the first to admit that it can be much harder to find the perfect biblical girls name than it is to find the perfect biblical boys name. There are more men who are mentioned by name in the Bible and some biblical girls names are just a little bit too out there for my tastes (though I do love uncommon biblical girls names). While Mary and Elizabeth dwindle for now, these other lovely names are getting their time to shine, or in some cases their chance at a comeback!
Ranked #701 in 2014
Hadassah, another name for the biblical Queen Esther, is a name that's risen out of obscurity since 2007 when it first featured on the top 1000 for the first time at #998. Hadassah rose 53 spots in 2014. Hadassah is lovely and feminine. The nickname Haddie is so adorable!
Ranked #460 in 2014
Eve is gorgeous classy name that's been rising lately. Of couse, Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden is one of the most recognizable stories from the Bible. Eve has very been super popular but at #460, it's more popular now than it's ever been and up 30 spots from last year! I've been really loving the name Eve lately and one of my favorite ways to get to the nickname Evie.
"lion of God"
Ranked #133 in 2014
As a given name, Ariel is only mentioned as a man's name and it's still used for males today. It's #738 for boys in the States. However, Ariel is also a poetic name for the city of Jerusalem. It was most popular following the release of Disney's The Little Mermaid but quickly fell in popularity. However, Ariel rose 12 spots last year and nearly 50 spots in the last three years. Alternate spelling Arielle is #339 and variation Ariella is at #386.
"the Lord's grace"
Joanna is a lovely New Testament name of a woman who served and supported Jesus out o her own means during his earthly ministry. Joanna was on its way down but it gained 16 spots last year! I'm curious to see if it will continue back upward. My favorite spelling of this name is Johannah, which is not in the top 1000.
Ranked #753 in 2014
Deborah was #2 in 1955 but in 2013 it was all the way down at #815. Between 2013 and 2014 Deborah rose an impressive 62 spots. Given Deborah's popularity in the 50's, I don't think it's going to become wildly popular anytime soon. However, since Deborah is such an important and memorable biblical woman, I can see it beginning to climb the charts for the next few decades.
Ranked #247 in 2014
Jordan isn't a person's name in the Bible but rather the name of a very important river and today it's the name of a country. I was surprised to see that Jordan and alternate spelling Jordyn were rising in the ranks for girls again. Jordan is falling in popularity for boys. After taking a pretty big hit in 2013, Jordan rose 14 spots in 2014 and Jordyn rose 6 spots. This could just be a one-year fluctuation but it could also begin another climb upward on the girls list for Jordan. Even though it's falling, Jordan is still much more popular for boys.
Ranked #151 in 2014
Eden is another biblical place name than can be unisex, though Eden has always been much more popular for girls than for boys. Eden entered the top 1000 for girls in 1986 and has been consistently rising ever since. Eden rose only seven spots in 2014 so its rise appears to be slowing down. For boys Eden entered the top 1000 in 2008. It's popularity has fluctuated some but in 2014 it rose to #601. Personally, I prefer Eden for girls with the adorable nickname Edie.
Ranked #695 in 2014
Mara is simply yet classy name with almost a haunting sound. It's related to the names Mary and Miriam. Mara is the name that the Israelite woman Naomi (meaning pleasant) took after she returned to her homeland devastated after the death of her husband and son. She didn't want to be known as pleasant (Naomi) but bitter (Mara), because she said "the Almighty has made life very bitter for me" (Ruth 1:20). The rest of the book refers to her as Naomi, though. In 2014, Mara gained 50 spots and it's been gaining since 2011 after falling to #866.
"from Lydia" or "from the almond tree"
Ranked #84 in 2014
Lydia is a lovely New Testament name belonging to a prominent woman, a seller of purple cloth, who obeyed the gospel. Lydia has been rising pretty consistently for awhile and it rose 8 spots in 2014. It has an old-fashioned charm to it, though it's maintained a certain degree of popularity for generations. Lydia is also an ancient place name that means "almond tree", so Lydia means "from the almond tree".
Ranked #203 in 2014
Esther is the name of one of the Bible's most memorable women. She was a Jewish girl who became queen of Persia. The book of Esther is one of two biblical books names for women. The name Esther has been rising consistently since 2008 and rise 21 spots in 2014. Esther's Hebrew name was Hadassah (see above). Esther is still more popular than Hadassah but Hadassah is rising faster. My favorite thing about the name Esther is the nickname Essie!
Ranked #80 in 2014
Naomi is such a cute name! I especially love the meaning! The biblical Naomi had a hard life (see Mara above) but she was very blessed by God through her daughter-in-law Ruth. Naomi's rise has been fairly consistent. It gained 7 spots in 2014. Naomi was least popular in the late 60s and early 70s but it's inched it's way up to #80 now. I love Naomi's fun, different sound! I think it could make a cool way to honor a Ruth!
Ranked #298 in 2014
Phoebe is a woman that Paul speks very highly of in the book of Romans. Phoebe has an attractive sound een though its spelling can get a little confusing for English speakers. Phoebe's rise has been pretty consistent for severl years, even though it's been slow (only rising 2 spots in 2014). Phoebe is more popular now than it's ever been in the U.S.
Ranked #941 in 2014
Noa is such a sweet little name for girl! It might be hard to pull off right now with Noah being the #1 boys name (and tht not likely to change anytime soon) but Noa entered the top 1000 for the first time in 2014. In most bible translations this name is translated as Noah but in the Hebrew text the female name and the male name are spelled differently and have almost opposite meanings. That's why I chose to feautre the Noa as opposed to Noah (also, Noah doesn't appear on the top 1000 list for girls). In the Bible, Noam (we'd spell it Noah in the U.S.) and Noa are the most popular names for Jewish babies in Israel.
Ranked #315 in 2014
Ruth is probably one of the sweetest stories in the Bible. After the death of her husband, she followed her mother-in-law back to her homeland in Israel and became a follower of God. Ruth became the great-grandmother to King David, meaning that Jesus is a descendant of Ruth. Ruth was very popular in the early 1900's (#5) and since then has come down to the 200-350 range. Ruth gained 14 spots in 2014. I love the nickname Ruthie!
1 Samuel 1:3
Ranked #609 in 2014
Shiloh is a unisex biblical place name that's only in the top 1000 for girls, despite ending in the "oh" sound that's more typical in boys names. Shiloh entered the top 1000 for girls in 2007, the year after Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie chose it for their daughter. The fascinating thing about Shiloh's entrance into the top 1000 is that it entered all the way up at #788! It's fluctuated some in but Shiloh gained 23 spots in 2014. I love the way Shiloh sounds and the meaning "peace" makes it super appealing! Personally, I prefer Shiloh on a boy but it's nice for either gender.
There were a lot of names I expected to see on this list but didn't and several names that surprised me! Even though finding the perfect biblical girls name can be a challenge (especially if you're looking for something less conventional), there are still some great options!
Which name on this list is your favorite?
God bless and thanks for reading!
*Note: I only used names in the top 1000 for this list. There are likely more rising biblical girls names outside the top 1000.