Names That Sound Good in English But Really Bad in Hebrew

Do you really want your kid's name reminding people of an elephant?

Think of this list like a public service announcement. We don’t want you to find the perfect name for your baby just to later discover that it’s one of those names that makes Israelis say “huh?” It’s not that these names are bad, per se, it’s just that in Hebrew, your kid will sound like they were born in the year 1952…BCE.

(And don’t worry—we have a list of names that sound good in Hebrew but bad in English…and some of those are even worse!)


1)    Matthew (Mattityahu, biblical character)
2)    Phil (would be pronounced “peel” in Hebrew, which means elephant)
3)    Zachary (Zechariah, biblical character)
4)    Jeremy (Yermiyahu, biblical character)
5)    Abel (Hevel, biblical character)


1)    Lilith (Leeleet, a devil character from the Bible)
2)    Ruth (Root, might be tough sounding like a tree part)
3)    Beth (Bait, means house in Hebrew)
4)    Chana (currently a name that seems to only belong with grandmothers)
5)    Jessica (just hard for Israelis to pronounce)

Check out the most popular Jewish names in America or see the complete set of lists of baby name suggestions.

Take action. Take control. Get screened to protect the health of your future family. Request your kit at Jscreen.org!

Kveller StaffThe Kveller staff is made up of the hard-working folks behind your favorite Jewish parenting website, Kveller, of course.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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