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The unique stories we find behind the research and meaning of a name.


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I love my job.  Not only does this work help to support my family, but the joy of ministering to others through the meanings of their names is tremendously rewarding to me.  We are constantly meeting new people, so we're constantly researching new names and the unique origins and backgrounds of personal names.  Every few months, I receive a letter or story that underlines the inspiration and encouragement that people have found through the meaning of their name.  Sometimes when I research, I stumble upon some additional history and I'm drawn to dig deeper to find the story and meaning behind the name.  Here are some of those fascinating stories.


With Joy and Blessing,


John Dehnart

Owner, CrossTimber





By Angela Blount

© 2008

Angel, Angela, Angelina

A name with a Message.

Angela is a derivative of Angel, and means: messenger of God. My parents gave me this name with the intent of using Angel as my nickname. As it turned out, I was more of a holy terror than anything remotely angelic as a child. I never got to wear the shortened version I was deamed undeserving of.


Fortunately for my family, and the public at-large, I had a revelation of conscience at the age of twelve when I realized that eternity was a far worthier goal to be focusing on rather than whatever unfulfilling kicks I could get out of my exceptionally limited lifespan.


So I suppose that was about the time I started trying to live up to my name. I've lost count of how many times I've clearly understood the saying: 'Don't shoot the messenger.'


An angel is not a delicate thing. The impressions of the world have lost a handle on their true nature. Angels are poorly represented by porceline figurines, plump cherub paintings, or as images of lovely women. From what we see of them in scripture, an Angel is a servant, a messenger, and a warrior. A creature of great strength, poise, and purpose. No shortage of inspiration there.


It has taken me some years and a lot of struggle before I accepted that trying on my own abilities wasn't nearly as effective as surrendering to the One I was promoting and simply allowing Him to work with and through me. This has become an on-going process in my life. It never fails to surprise me the ways that God has used me to get through to people. I'm not the most charismatic, tactful, or qualified of candidates, which I suppose makes it all the more obvious that it's about Him and not about me.


Send us YOUR name story!

We love hearing from our customers, and especially when it's a story about choosing a new name for a baby or why the meaning of their name was encouraging to them.  Click here to contact us and tell your story!



By John Dehnart

© 2011

Anna, Anne and Hannah

historical and etymological meanings

In the case of the name Ann, our research has revealed two meanings for the name, because there are two sources or "directions" in which to look for the meaning.


Historically, its meaning comes from the bravery of Queen Anne, whose name roots back to the Greek use of the name. Her wise decisions as queen of England gave the name a reputation for courage and integrity. Alternately, in the Hebrew language, the name Ann or Anna would be a shortened form of Hannah, which was rooted in the Hebrew word for Grace. Because grace is God's favor towards us that both motivates and equips us to do His will, we included that working definition in the meaning.


Ann from Anna or Hannah, (rooted in Hebrew Language) would mean
Grace: One who pursues and achieves what is right.

Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth & love. 2 John 1:3

Ann from Anne, (English history with roots in Greek), would mean
Courageous: One who endures.

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

Interestingly, the historical meaning was based on a character quality that is strengthened only through the empowering grace found in the original meaning. I love this! Thank you!
I knew the Hebrew root of grace or graceful one, but I had not ever seen the English/Greek meaning. That one is especially meaningful because of the way God has been growing my courage through reliance in Him despite my tendency toward timidity.

Thank you so much for sharing!
Ann Hibbard
Senior Editor, HEDUA
The bravery and courage to seek and do what is right can only be found through the empowering mighty grace of God. Perhaps Queen Anne took courage through her connection with Grace in her name meaning.  A combined, more complete meaning would be best worded like this:

Ann, from English, from Hebrew
Enduring Grace: One who Bravely Pursues and Achieves of what is Right

Only be thou strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that you will prosper wherever you go.
Joshua 1:7

Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside there from to the right hand or to the left.
Joshua 23:6







By John Dehnart

© 2011


deep beneath the research

With just a few minutes of effort, a wealth of research can be found for the name Blake.

The first interesting milestone is that it can be from aparent contrasting roots, 'Blæc' (black, dark) or 'blac' (bright, shining). Originally a surname this is now also used as a given name. Blake's 7 was a British science fiction TV series, shown in the late 1970s. The main character was named Roj Blake. The name Blake enjoys it's American popularity in the central states of the US, being noticeably absent from the top 100 of the majority of the Northeastern states (eg Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut), and southwestern states (eg California, Arizona, New Mexico).

From our research, we found that the name is Anglo-Saxon, meaning "Attractive, Forgiven: Redeemed: Forgiving through Grace"
With that name, we chose Ephesians 4:32, which my mom used to sing to me with a happy tune when my brothers and I needed to be reminded not to fight.

"Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another,
   even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."

Other research also adds "Harmonizer" "Son of Lake", "Pale Blond, "Dark" or in contrast "Light". When we research a name, we often find many language or cultural backgrounds to a name, but for our Name Gifts, we look further for an Encouraging application of those historical qualities.

For example, almost every Sarah I've met already knows their name means "Princess", but on our plaques, we look for the application of Princess. We are Princes and Princesses because we are the children of the Sovereign God, the King of Kings.

You may have had a hard time finding a "Christian Meaning" of the name Blake, simply because researchers won't find it mentioned in the Bible, and it's not a name based on religious elements like the names "Faith" or "Hope" or even "Christian". What you're looking for is a Christian understanding of the name; how the name's background and inherent meaning are viewed by God in light of Christ's Love and Salvation. Blake inherantly means Forgiven, with some thought and research into Biblical principles, forgiving others first requires God's redemption of our lives, and His grace. Ephesians 1:7, Colossians 1:14 And with what measure we forgive, we will be forgiven.


decorative divider

A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver
and gold. The rich and poor meet together: Yahweh is the maker of them all.

By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.
Proverbs 22:1

decorative divider



By John Dehnart

© 2011

Caleb, Kaleb, Kehleb

A Leader's Courage found in Courageous Faith.

The name Caleb likely originated from the Hebrew word word for "dog", which is Kehleb, but the word was also used to mean "forceful", much like we would say "He's strong as an ox!" or "Cunning as a fox" to compliment someone's strength or sharp mind. Dogs have such a distinct set of characteristics, and it is most likely that people originally chose the name to reflect the fearlessness or loyalty associated with the word Kehleb. (Numbers 13:6)


But rather than look into language for the meaning of Caleb, we can also look into the historical and Biblical meaning of the name. Caleb has no doubt remained a popular name because of the integrity and character of the Bible's Caleb. He was indeed strong and fearless, and also a loyal friend and encourager to Joshua, the man God would later choose to lead the nation of Israel.


Caleb is perhaps best known for his courageous report concerning the land of Caanan. After the Exodus from Egypt, God lead the people directly to the Promise Land, and instructed Moses to send 1 man from each tribe, to explore the land. After 40 days, eleven out of twelve came back with a fearful report, except Caleb. He was the only one brave enough to speak out, and his bravery was rooted in a faith in God. Numbers 13:30, and 14:7 says, "And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it." And then the people grumbled, complained, and totally rejected God's plan. Moses, Aaron, Joshua and Caleb fell on their faces and tried to stop the people: "The land we explored is fantastic! --it's an exceedingly good land. If Yahweh delights in us, then He will bring us into this land, and give it to us; a land that flows with milk and honey. Just don't rebel against Yahweh, and don't fear the people in the land; they'll be like bread for us to eat: they don't have any defenses, and Yahweh is with us: fear them not!" Being 1 of only 4 men who would stand up in faith, in opposition to an entire nation of angry people.... -especially when they were about to stone the four of them! --That took great courage, but a courage grounded in a trust in Yahweh.

I think above all, Caleb was a brave man, of diligent faith. Four times, the Bible says that Caleb wholly followed Yahweh. "But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land that he explored; and his children will own it." Numbers 14:24 (also Numbers 32:12, Deuteronomy 1:36 and Joshua 14:14) Out of all the Israelites that were older than 20 when God rescued them from Egypt, Joshua and Caleb were the only two that God allowed into the Promise Land, leading the children of Israel.

There is a host of meaning to be drawn from both the Hebrew language, and the brave, loyal qualities of Caleb in the Bible. Our plaques try to sum that up with this meaning and verse, that I think Caleb in the Bible would boldly represent:

From: Hebrew
Fearless, Bold, Loyal: Courage Grounded in Diligent Faith



The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
the LORD is the strength of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
...my heart shall not fear:
in this will I be confident.

Psalm 27:1


A Post Script: On Father's Day of 2012, John & his family were blessed with their first born son, Rigby Caleb.  Click here to read the story of his arrival, and why The Name Guy chose the name for his son.




By John Dehnart

© 2009


a name redeemed

Dear CrossTimber,  Having a baby in two months. His name is going to be Cross. Can you please tell me the meaning of his name?




And congratulations on your new son. Very cool choice of name for him. A wonderfully redeemed name. Let me explain...


Because Cross is an English word, there are several sources for meaning.  Some of them are negative, like "crossing" or "doublecrossing" someone, meant to be contrary to them or betray them. It was also used as an adjective, to be cross at someone meant you are angry with them. In the Roman empire, a cross was a very negative symbol, which stood for a torturous execution. But the word Cross also means a turning point and a place of decision, like being at a crossroads or to crossover to a new belief. It is also a word used to connect one place to another, as in, to Cross a river, or to Cross over a mountain range.


But all these meanings are but a shadow compared to the symbolic meaning of the name given by Jesus.  The name Cross is completely redeemed.  Even though it used to be a word that reflected betrayal, anger, and execution, the Cross has come to be a place of decision, a turning point, and a symbol of the only connection between us and God: Jesus' love for us.


Now how I would fit all that on a bookmark or nameplaque, I'm not quite sure. But I would definitely include this verse, from Galatians 6:14


May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.


Congratulations on your new baby boy!


John Dehnart & Family.


A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold. The rich and poor meet together: Yahweh is the maker of them all. By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.
Proverbs 22:1






By John Dehnart

© 2009


meaning from the heart

What does the name David mean, and who was David?  Faithful shepherd, courageous warrior, a great harp-player, and God's chosen to be king over Israel. Hundreds of insights have been drawn from the life of history's best-known David, and the meaning of his life, and the meaning of the name today.

Whenever possible, we look into the Biblical Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek roots of a name for its meaning. When we looked into the meaning of David's name, we found that the root Hebrew word meant "loved" or "beloved". But sometimes, when a name is known because of a positive historical reputation of a person, we choose the historical meaning.

In 1 Samuel 13:14, the prophet Samuel says to Saul (David's predecessor), "But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee."

For the meaning of the name David, we included "Man after God's own heart", because that was the positive reputation of the historical character. Several times in Scripture, God refers to David as a man after his own heart. See Acts 13:22 and 1 Kings 15:3 and 1 Kings 14:8



The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
the LORD is the strength of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
...my heart shall not fear:
in this will I be confident.

Psalm 27:1







By John Dehnart

© 2011


strength submitted to God

The name Demaris is mentioned once in the Bible, and is a Greek name.  It means Gentle, and Tamed, though I hesitate to use the word Tamed, because American English implies weakness.  Rather, the root of the name Demaris reflects an inner strength that has been surrendered in obedience.  Think of a strong horse, that has let go of its wild instincts, and instead chooses to obey it's master.


Demaris, from Greek.  Submitted, Mighty Strength: One who is Gentle

"Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you... For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."  1 Cor. 6:19




By John Dehnart

© 2011


a name bearing the Name above all names



Elijah is a great name.  Not only was the historical Elijah a champion
for the Lord, but the name also comes from two of my favorite Hebrew words. 
The last portion, as you can see, is the first part of Yahweh's name, "Jah".  The first part of the name comes from El, the Hebrew word that means "God".  The name means "Yahweh is my God: Spiritual Champion"


"And Elijah took twelve stones, for each of the twelve tribes of Jacob,
unto whom the word of Yahweh came, saying, "Israel shall be thy name":
And with the stones, Elijah built an altar in the name of Yahweh.
1 Kings 18:31





Hannah (see Anna, above.)



By John Dehnart

© 2009

Isaiah, Joshua & Jesus

three names of salvation

God places tremendous significance on names, and the meanings of them, starting with the creation of Adam, "One formed of the earth", following to the naming of his own Son, Jesus.




In Bible Hebrew, the name Isaiah is written YeshaYah.  Is surprisingly similar to the name Yeshua or Yehowshua, the Hebrew name for Jesus or Joshua.  These three names Isaiah, Jesus and Joshua are each made up of the same two Hebrew root words: Yah, which is the first syllable of the name of Yahweh, and Yasha, which means to deliver and save.  The names both reflect God's (Yahweh's) work of Salvation to deliver us from sin and bondage.


When the Angel of God appeared to Joseph in a dream, he came with a very specific message about the meaning of Jesus' name.  "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."  Matthew 1.21

As you can see, it was no mistake that Yahweh named His son with the word SALVATION, combined with the name of God, Yahweh.  The name Isaiah was made from the same two words.


At the dawn of Jesus' earthly ministry, He was asked to read in the synagogue from the book of Isaiah, (or, Esaias, as it is translated in the Greek New Testament.)  Luke 4:17 recounts this description of the mission of Jesus' life on earth:


And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.  And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.  And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.  And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son?


In Isaiah 12:2, Isaiah wrote, "Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD YAHWEH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.  Praise Yahweh, call upon his name!" 


To reflect the message of Salvation embedded into the meaning of Isaiah, our research for the name reads,  "Yahweh Is My Salvation: One who is Steadfast", and includes the verse above.




By John Dehnart

© 2009

James, Jim, Jimmy, Jaime. Jacob

a name defined by the bearer


My Dad's name, James, shares the same roots as the name Jamie, and several other names that take their roots from the ancient Hebrew name Jacob.  We draw the meaning for the name from the Biblical account of Jacob, the son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham.  The literal meaning of the Hebrew word used for Jacob's name meant "heel-grabber", because the Jacob of the Bible struggled to be born first, even though his twin, Esau, was older (by a minute or two, anyway).
In his youth, Jacob traded with his brother for the right of the firstborn (which, in Bible days, meant both a spiritual blessing, and a double portion of the inheritance.)  Later still, his mother persuaded him to disguise himself as Esau, and he tricked his elderly father into giving him a special blessing from God.  For those reasons, many name books will say that the name Jacob means "Deceitful", or "Supplanter." (as in, one who supplants a king's throne, usually through trickery.)


However, with a deeper inspection into the life of Jacob, we find that his actions, though sometimes less than honest, were often aligned with a positive, underlying motivation.  It is most clearly seen later in his life when he was walking alone on the far side of the river, and met an Angel of the Lord.  The dialog indicates this may have been God himself, and not a separate messenger. 


The account isn’t clear what provoked a fight, but the two wrestled all through the night, until finally the Angel supernaturally dislocated Jacob's hip, and still Jacob refused to let go until the Angel gave him a blessing.  And so, God blessed Jacob, and also changed his name to Israel.


The point is that throughout Jacob's life, he always sought the blessing.  He didn't always do it in the right way, but his actions repeatedly show that it’s exactly what he wanted.  His mother's blessing, his father's blessing, and ultimately, God's blessing.  So if a historical meaning is to be drawn from this namesake, then it is: “One who Seeks the Blessing" with this verse:


...seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  Matthew 6:32







By John Dehnart

© 09-12-13

Jonah, Jonas

meaning in a bird symbol


Jonah is from the Hebrew word for a bird: the dove. Not many names have connections with birds, but those that do usually reference the dove, more than any other bird. Janice, Caolionn, Paloma and Coleman, to name a few. So in our journey towards a name meaning, why not start with the obvious and examine the bird itself. Ornithology (the study of birds) reveals some unique characteristics of the dove, not the least of which is it’s lifetime loyalty to its mate, and it’s cooperative efforts to incubate, feed and care for their young as a couple.


But admittedly, it’s rare that bird studies mix with name research (Anthroponomastics), so let’s turn to the language and culture from whence the name Jonah came. While American culture now looks on the dove as an icon of peace and tranquility, the Bible reflects a different symbolism for the dove. Symbolism and iconography are important to consider in the culture in which the name was given, because it can sometimes reveal the reason why a name was chosen, and therefore be a clue as to the meaning that the parents intended.


For the Jonah of the Bible, his father, Amittai, would have been Hebrew, and well acquainted with the Torah, the first 5 books of the Bible. The Torah's first mention of a dove has become the world's most famous dove story; the first creature to exit Noah's Ark after 150 days of flood waters covering the earth. God had instructed Noah to bring seven pairs of all clean animals, two pairs of animals that were unclean, and seven pairs of all birds, "to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth". Seven is one of God's favorite numbers, and sometimes signifies eternity or perfection. In the floating zoo for 5 months, the simple presence of the seven pairs of doves would have been a reminder to Noah and his family that God's perfect plan extended beyond the destruction of the flood and included the birds' natural roles for repollination (ornithophily) of the earth’s vegetation.


Of all the many birds or creatures Noah could have chosen for the task, he picked a raven and a dove to fly out of the ark to seek land. On its second trip, the dove brought back an olive leaf, becoming the first dove to land with a message of hope, evidence of coming salvation from a desolate and impossible situation.  (Sorry Raven, better luck next time.)


In the book of Leviticus, we read that God chose the dove as a suitable sacrifice for sin offerings for the Israelites. As a sacrifice for sin, the dove became a symbol of atonement and reconciliation between man and God. This would be a second message brought by the dove, one of restoration and reconciliation to God.


Finally, the dove is mentioned in all four gospels, once again conveying the message of salvation and reconciliation to God.

And when he was baptized, Jesus immediately went up out of the water, and the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him, and a voice from heaven said,

"This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

With the dove’s connection to sacrifice, this indicated the pure

sacrifice of Jesus that was to come: a sin offering, to reconcile us to God.


Although the life of the historical Jonah takes place before Christ, Amittai and his wife may have chosen a name that meant Dove because of the strong connections to being a messenger of reconciliation and salvation to the bird. Interestingly, that “Life Meaning” represented what Jonah was called to do by God as a prophet, and in that way, Jonah really lived up to his name!


This research provides us with both a literal and historical meaning of the name, and with some thought and consideration, we settled on this life meaning:


Jonah, from Hebrew
Dove: Declarer of Truth, Symbol of Hope, Messenger of Salvation.




By John Dehnart

© 2009


deep roots, broad branches

This name, Linden, has its roots in the name of a tree. The linden tree (also known as the teil or lime-tree) is a tall evergreen tree commonly growing in Palestine and central Europe. It is a handsom tree, with cymes of light yellow flowers and large cordate leaves, which are used in herbal teas and cures. In Bible times, linden trees were also used as landmarks and in designating places. In winter when the linden and the oak trees shed their leaves, they appear withered and dead, but their life-giving substance is still within them, and faithfully returns with buds and blooms that continue to reveal beauty, direction, and healing.


Based on this and other research, we chose this meaning for the name Linden:


From: Old English

From the Hillside Linden Tree: Healer, One who Reveals the Path


And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.  Isaiah 42:6-16




By John Dehnart

© 2009

Mary, Mariam, Maria, Marie

from bitterness to forgiveness

Mary's name is a story of Healing


The story behind the names Maria, Marie, Mariam and Mary, has been one of my favorites for a long time.  In many name-meaning books, you will find the name to mean BITTERNESS. Such was the use of the word when Naomi had lost her husband and two sons, and spoke to her daughter-in-law, Ruth: "Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me."  (Ruth 1:20)


See, Maria comes from the Hebrew word for "Myrrh", and the myrrh plant, if you taste it, is very bitter. Even it's appearance is knarled and twisted, with it's long thorns sometimes even piercing it's own vine-like trunk. This has lead many name-researchers to say that the name Mary means Bitter.


A note from customer, Nichole Marie:

I have had so many things happen in my life that could cause anyone to die of bitterness, but why choose that path. Transforming that bitterness into forgiveness has healed so many hurts. Responding with anger and bitterness only stops us in our tracks and provides no real progress in our lives. Forgiveness is a sweet aroma of God, letting him shine through us, getting over the hurt and accepting it as a lesson in life to make us stronger.
However, with a closer inspection into the word for the myrrh plant, a much more beautiful meaning is revealed. You see, if the myrrh plant is hurt, or cut, it produces tears of sap, just as we do when we are hurt. Those tears, while bitter to the taste, can be collected. And if properly prepared, can be transformed into a most fragrant perfume, or a costly healing balm, or in Bible times, even an anointing for burial. Those three uses are why it was so significant that the wise men who sought after the Baby Jesus brought Him a gift of myrrh.  You see, Myrrh, --like the hurts and wounds in our life--, was never meant to be tasted and bitterly ingested, but to be transformed through forgiveness, into a beautiful, healing fragrance.

A much better meaning that "bitter" for the name Mary is one about the positive qualities of the plant, which are very costly, useful and comforting.


It's true that hurts in our lives can cause deep wounds, and we can respond with anger and bitterness, but if we respond rightly to such hurts, our forgiveness can be a sweet aroma to God, and a priceless healing balm for us, and those around us. So on our name gifts, the meaning for the name Maria reads "Fragrance and Healing from Rightly Responding to Hurts."


The verse we include on those name gifts is Ephesians 4:32, which speaks of forgiveness.

"Let all bitterness, and wrath be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."


A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold. The rich and poor meet together: Yahweh is the maker of them all.  By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.
Proverbs 22:1





By John Dehnart

© 11-08-2013

Melanie and Oceola

Every name has a positive meaning!

Melanie's Bright Meaning


Howdy, all the Melanies of the world!


I've been delighted to discuss name meanings with two Melanies who thought their name had a negative meaning.  We have researched thousands and thousands of names, and have never found one that did not have a positive meaning.  Yours is no exception.  It has a wonderful meaning! 


Several of our name meaning books included what your friend said, that the first part of your name, "Mel-" is from the Greek "Melos", which is the word for darkness or darker, as in a darker shade of color, or "dark-skinned."  We also found "Child of God", and "Hidden", and I recently noted that it could come from the Greek root "Meli-", meaning Sweet, or Honey, like the name Meli-ssa, which means Honeybee.


We always look for the most encouraging interpretation of someone's name meaning through the linguistic, cultural or historical significance of a name.  Some names can have negative meanings, like the popular "Mary" or "Marie".  (There is a fascinating story behind the name Marie in the article above.)


The one that really stands out in my mind is the name Oceola, which meant "Black Tea Drinking Shout" in its original (Creek Indian) language.  At the time, there was a black tea made out of a tremendously caffinated plant, which created a sugar high and plenty of shouts and whoops during a young brave's coming-of-age ceremony.  Hence the term "Black Tea Drinking Shout."    


But with further research, we found that it was also the name of a city that still stands today, and a famous Indian who fought for women's rights, and the rights of African American slaves.  A parent who chose the name Oceola today would have known it from the historical significance of a Freedom Fighter, rather than the original Creek translation of a tea that was so caffinated it made Indians shout.  There are even several U.S. Navy ships named USS Osceola.


Melanie also has a legitimate historical meaning, because parents chose it for their children after two saints with the name Melanie in the 5th century.  She was a Roman who gave all her wealth to the poor.


For the name Melanie, we avoided linguistic meanings that could imply negative qualities, or meanings that would only appeal to certain groups of people.  Not all Melanie's are dark-skinned, dark-haired or have dark personalities, so we looked for the positive, functional qualities. 


Melanie, from Greek, "Hidden and Protected, Generous: One who is a Child of God"
He that abides in the secret place of the Most High, El Elyon, will abide under the shadow of the El Shadday, the Almighty, the Faithful Provider.  I will say to Yahweh, "You are my refuge and my fortress, my Elohim, in whom I trust."  Psalm 91:1-2




For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
...ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.  Romans 8:14




By John Dehnart

© 2009

Noel, Noelle, Noelany, Noella

a look at the first noel and the meaning of the name

The traditional Christmas Carol, "The First Nowell (Noel)" was written during the 18th century, and was first published in it's current form in 1823 by Gilbert and Sandys.


The two Hebrew words that form the name Noelle mean "Birth of God", signifying the arrival of Jesus to Mary and Joseph. In the middle ages, it became a popular name for those whose family was especially involved with the Christmas season, or someone born near the holy night. It also have a connection with the Gaulish root words, "noio" and "helle", meaning "New Light", which is also an appropriate link to Christmas.


During Jesus' earthly ministry, He said, "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." John 8:12


It is reminiscent of the Psalms which were taught in Jesus time, and still are today. "O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles." Psalms 43:3


And in Matthew 5:14, Jesus said, Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.


Finally that Light of God revealed Jesus' mission on earth, which can be seen in Matthew 1:21 and John 3:16


"And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."


"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."




By John Dehnart

© 2009

Names that mean Trusting

Abbi, Coen, Faith, Grant, Hope, Keely, Winston

Camella asked, "Is there a name that means I put my Trust in the Lord?"


Dear Camella,


Thank you for your question! There are several ways to look into a meaning of a name. Some names can have an associative meaning, like "Rose" or "Grace", or someone named after a family or relative, who was known for a certain quality or characteristic. Names can also have historical meanings, based on someone who's name carries a certain amount of synonymy with their lives or reputation. Giving a son the name of "Bill" and the middle name of "Clinton" carries with it a certain amount of meaning based on past historical figures.


For names originating in Greek or Hebrew, my favorite source is to look into it's languages and words in scripture. To my knowledge, the Bible doesn't contain a name that was specifically given to mean "I put my Trust in the Lord". However, there are dozens of name meaings with the concept of both being trustworthy, and trusting in God. What may help first, is a study into the word for trust.


Psalm 71:1 begins, "In thee, O LORD (Yahweh), do I put my trust."


There are at least four words translated "Trust" in the Bible. The first is Chacah, Hebrew, which was used to communicate a sense of urgency to get to what you trust in, like the way one would flee to a structure for protection because you have a trust in it's strength. The second Hebrew word, Batach, shows a confidence and boldness in a power or principle, like a soldier striving forward towards the enemy because of the trust in his commander. Were you to take from either of these two words, a Hebrew name such as Chaciah or Yahbatach would directly translate "Trusting [in] Yahweh" or "[In] Yahweh is my Trust." (You'd have to consult a Hebrew Scholar for the best way to construct names like those.)


There are many names that contain God's name in them. The suffix of "-iah" or "-jah" is the poetic form of the name Yahweh. Josiah means "The Fire of Yahweh". Tobiah means "Yahweh is Good", Zechariah means "Yahweh has Remembered."


In the New Testament, the concept of Trusting in God was usually translated Faith, while the word for expectation or confidence was usually translated Trust. That word is Elpizo, usually based on plans or arrangement, (e.g. I trust that I'll see you on Monday.) Or an expectation based on reasoning and observation of evidence, (e.g. The sky looks clear now, we can trust that the weather will be good tomorrow.)


Pisteuo is the other Greek word, which is usually translated believe or faith, as in Matthew 21:22, "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." or Mark 9:29, which says "Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth." Or 1 John 3.23, which says, "And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment." Hebrew 11:6 gives us some keen insight into the use and meaning of the word, when it says, "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."


This kind of trust in God can be seen through life-choices that reflect an obedience to God regardless of the circumstance or situation. That trust must be grown through a relationship with God, and an understanding of His commandments and principles. By walking with Him and following those beliefs, we demonstrate our faith -our trust- in Him.


If I had to choose a name whose meaning most reflected the faith and trust we have in our Lord, then I would choose the name Elijah. Both historically and etymologically, the name means "Yahweh is my God". To read a little more about the name Elijah, click here!


More names with similiar meanings are:

  • Keely, Gaelic, means Beautiful: One of Trust
  • Faith, English, "Firm Believer: Secure Trust in God"
  • Hope, Anglo Saxon, "Trust in God's Future: Faithful, Understanding Heart"
  • Abbi, Hebrew, "Joy from Trust in the Father: One who is Directed of God"
  • Winston, Old English, "From the Friendly Town: One who is Trusting"
  • Coen or Koen, German, "Brave: One with Confident Trust in God"
  • Grant, French, "Tall; Assurance: One of Solid Trust"










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