Baby Names That Work in English, Hebrew and Arabic – Kveller
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Jewish baby names

Baby Names That Work in English, Hebrew and Arabic

These beautiful names work in both Jewish and Muslim contexts.

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Photo by Daniel Thomas on Unsplash

While Hebrew and Arabic, as well as other Semitic languages, have much in common linguistically, sometimes it can be tough to find names that work in both languages and in both Jewish and Muslim cultural contexts. This list of beautiful crossover names is here to help you find the right one. Many of the following monikers sound essentially the same in both Hebrew and Arabic, but have separate meanings.

Jews have a long history of living in Muslim-majority cultures, where they often used Arabic names or the Arabic variant of the original Hebrew name. One such example is Suleyman, the Arabic version of Shlomo (Solomon). Many Jews today are still unaware that Jews in Arabic-speaking countries also developed their own ethnolect, Judeo-Arabic, so you’ll find some Judeo-Arabic names on the list as well. Judeo-Arabic is currently endangered, so it could be a meaningful way to pay tribute to this culturally rich ethnolect.


Boys’ Names

Abrafim: “Father of multitudes” in Judeo-Arabic

Adam: “earth” in Arabic and Hebrew

Aden/Adin: “handsome” in Arabic; gentle in Hebrew

Adi: “one who charges,” in Arabic; a special kind of jewel mentioned in the Bible or “my eternity” in Hebrew

Amir: “ruler” in Arabic; “treetop” in Hebrew

Barack: “lightning” in Arabic and Hebrew

Daniel/Danyal: “God is my judge” in Arabic and Hebrew (this name is unisex in Hebrew)

Elyas: “Lord is my God” in Arabic and Hebrew

Galaf: Judeo-Arabic for “he swore”

Hanan: “compassion” in Arabic; “pardoned, graced” in Hebrew

Omar: “long lived” in Arabic; “gifted speaker” in Hebrew

Maimon: “fortunate” in Arabic and Hebrew

Rami: “archer” in Arabic; a diminutive of Yirmiyahu (Jeremiah), Aviram or Ram. Ram means tall and lofty in Hebrew. 

Saad: “luck,” in Arabic; “support” in Hebrew

Sami: “elevated” in Arabic;  a diminutive of Samuel, a biblical prophet and Jewish leader

Yussef: “God shall add” in Judeo-Arabic

Zekaria: “God has remembered” in Arabic and Hebrew


Girls’ Names

Adara: “young woman,” in Arabic; “noble” in Hebrew

Aliya: “exalted” in Arabic; “to go up” in Hebrew

Amira: “princess” in Arabic; “treetop” in Hebrew

Aya: “wonderful” in Arabic; “honey buzzard” in Hebrew, and also an acronym for the Hebrew expressions “if Hashem wills it” (im yirtzeh hashem) and “beautiful land of Israel” (eretz Yisrael yafa). 

Dalia: “flowering branch” in Arabic and Hebrew

Dina: “judgement” in Arabic and Hebrew

Hana: “bliss” in Arabic; “grace” in Hebrew

Laila: “night” in Arabic and Hebrew

Mira: “ocean” in Arabic; “bitter water” in Hebrew

Nava: “beautiful” in Arabic and Hebrew

Nora: “light” in Arabic and Hebrew

Rania: “queen” in Arabic; “God’s joy” in Hebrew

Reena: “song” in Arabic, Urdu and Hebrew, also “joy” in Hebrew

Sahar: “dawn” in Farsi and Arabic, “moon” or “crescent” in Hebrew (the name is unisex in Hebrew)

Sara: “princess” in Hebrew and Arabic


Unisex Names

(Note: It is hard to find truly unisex names that work in both a Jewish and a Muslim context, but these are some of the more viable options.)

Amal: “labor” in Arabic and Hebrew

Dana: “judgement” in Arabic and Hebrew (though note that Dana is not typically used as a unisex name in Hebrew).

Zia: “shine” in Arabic and Hebrew

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