Gabriel, Gabriella

Origin: Hebrew גַבְרִיאֵל  Γαβριηλ
Meaning: “strong man of God.”
Eng (GABE-ree-el); (gah-bree-EL-ah); Fre (gah-bree-EL); Germ (GAHP-ree-el); Pol (GAHP-ryel)

The name is derived from the Biblical Hebrew, גַבְרִיאֵל (Gavri-el) meaning, “strong man of God.”

In Judeo-Christian religions, it is the name of a powerful archangel, who is often viewed as a messenger of God. He appears several times in the Old and New Testaments.

Among Christians, one of his most important messages was relayed to the Virgin Mary that she would be the mother of Jesus. Islamic tradition also believes the same, and in Islam, it was the angel Gabriel who revealed the Qu’ran, (through God), to Mohammed.

In Mormon theology, Gabriel is believed to be the embodiment of Noah in the afterlife.

Gabriel is a fairly common name among Christians, Jews and Muslims, making him an extremely cross-cultural portable name.

Currently, in the United States, his popularity has been rising. He is the 24th most popular male name, (2011). In other countries, his rankings in all his various forms are as follows:

  • # 2 (Gabriel(e), Liechtenstein, 2010)
  • # 3 (Brazil, 2011)
  • # 4 (Romania, 2009)
  • # 6 (Gabriele, Italy, 2009)
  • # 7 (France, 2010)
  • # 9 (Quebec, Canada, 2011)
  • # 19 (Croatia, 2009)
  • # 26 (Belgium, 2008)
  • # 28 (Canada, BC, 2010)
  • # 28 (Mexico, 2010)
  • # 29 (Austria, 2010)
  • # 35 (Spain, 2010)
  • # 40 (Poland, 2009)
  • # 47 (Sweden, 2011)
  • # 48 (Norway, 2011)
  • # 52 (Catalonia, 2010)
  • # 78 (England/Wales, 2010)
  • # 95 (Australia, NSW, 2011)
  • # 124 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 189 (Djibril, France, 2010)
  • # 313 (Jibril, France, 2010)

Other forms of the name include:

  • Jibrail/Jibrīl جبرائيل ጂብሪል (Arabic/Ethiopian)
  • Gabriel გაბრიელი ገብርኤል
    (Armenian/Catalan/Coptic/Czech/Danish/English/Ethiopian/Finnish/French/Georgian/German/Norwegian/Polish/Portuguese/Romanian/Romansch/Spanish/Swedish)
  • Gavrik (Armenian)
  • Cəbrayıl/Cibril (Azeri)
  • Gawryil Гаўрыіл (Belarusian)
  • Džibril/Džebrail (Bosnian)
  • Gavrail Гавраил (Bulgarian)
  • Zheberejil Жәбірейіл (Central Asian)
  • Gabrijel (Croatian/Maltese/Serbian)
  • Gabriël (Dutch)
  • Gaabriel (Estonian)
  • Gabrel (Ethiopian)
  • Kaapo/Kaapro (Finnish)
  • Gabriél Γαβριήλ (Greek)
  • Gavril Γαβριηλ (Greek)
  • Gavriel גַּבְרִיאֵל (Hebrew)
  • Gábriel (Hungarian)
  • Gábor (Hungarian)
  • Gabríel (Icelandic)
  • Jibril (Indonesian)
  • Gaibriéil (Irish-Gaelic)
  • Gabo/Gabbo (Italian)
  • Gabriele (Italian: more common form)
  • Gabriellino (Italian)
  • Gabriello (Italian)
  • Gabrio (Italian)
  • Cibrayîl (Kurdish)
  • Gabrielus (Latin)
  • Gabriels (Latvian)
  • Gabrielius (Lithuanian)
  • Jibrail (Malaysian)
  • Gavriilu Гаврїилъ (Old Church Slavonic)
  • Khabbriele (Puglian)
  • Gabin (Provençal)
  • Gavril Гавриил (Romanian/Russian)
  • Crabiele/Gabilele/Gabriello (Sardinian)
  • Cabbrieli (Sicilian)
  • Gabri’el ܠܒܪܝܐܝܠ (Syrian)
  • Gebrael (Syrian)
  • Cebrâîl (Turkish)
  • Gavrel גַאבְֿרֶעל (Yiddish)

English short form is Gabe.

Its feminine form of Gabriella/Gabriela is also rising in popularity. Currently, Gabriella is the 34th most popular female name in the United States, (2011). Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 3 (Gabriela, Bulgaria, 2009)
  • # 5 (Gabrielė, Lithuania, 2011)
  • # 5 (Gabrielle, Philippines, 2011)
  • # 7 (Gabriela, Columbia, 2011)
  • # 8 (Gabriela, Romania, 2009)
  • # 9 (Gabriela, Puerto Rico, 2011)
  • # 10 (Gabriela, Brazil, 2010)
  • # 13 (Gabriela, Poland, Warsaw, 2010)
  • # 19 (Gabriela, Poland, 2009)
  • # 28 (Gabrijela, Croatia, 2009)
  • # 30 (Gabriela, Mexico, 2010)
  • # 30 (Gabrielly, Brazil, 2010)
  • # 36 (Gabriela, Croatia, 2009)
  • # 38 (Gabriela, Chile, 2010)
  • # 64 (Australia, NSW, 2011)
  • # 64 (Gabriela, Spain, 2010)
  • # 67 (Gabrielle, France, 2010)
  • # 72 (Canada, BC, 2010)
  • # 94 (Gabrielle, Canada, BC, 2010)
  • # 119 (Gabrielle, United States, 2011)
  • # 466 (France, 2010)

Other feminine forms include:

  • Gebre’elwa ገብርኤሏ (Amharic/Ethiopian)
  • Gabriela (Bulgarian/Croatian/Czech/German/Polish/Portuguese/Romanian/Scandinavian/Slovak/Spanish)
  • Brielle (Cajun: abbreviated form of Gabrielle)
  • Gabrijela (Croatian/Serbian)
  • Gabriëlle (Dutch)
  • Briella/Briela (English)
  • Gabrielle (French/English)
  • Gabria (Italian)
  • Gabrielina (Italian)
  • Gabriella (Italian/English/Hungarian/Scandinavian: more common form in Italy)
  • Gabrielė (Lithuanian)
  • Gavriila Гавриила (Russian)

Czech diminutives are: Gába, Gabika, Gábina, Gabrina and Gabby.

A Polish diminutive is Gabrysia (gah-BRIH-shah).

English short forms are: Gabby and Ella.

Designated name-days are: February 10/27 (Poland), February 19 (Sweden), March 24 (Czech/Finland/Poland/Slovakia/Sweden), September 29 (France/Germany), December 12 (Hungary)

Raphael

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Hebrew רָפָאֵל Ραφαηλ
Meaning: “God is healer.”
Fre (ra-fa-EL); Eng (RAF-ee-el; RAY-fee-əl)

The name is found in Judeo-Christian and Islamic legend as the name of a major archangel. In the Bible, he is mentioned in the Book of Tobit, which is considered canonical in the Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican tradition. Due to Raphael’s deliverance of Sarah from the demon Asmodeus (who killed every husband she married before consumation), Raphael has been invoked as a matchmaker by Catholics.

Raphael also appears in the non-canonical Book of Enoch in which he is responsible for binding the fallen angel Azazel

In Islamic tradition, he is known as Israfel/Israfil and it is believed that he will blow the trumpet on Judgement Day.

It is interesting to note that the modern Hebrew word for a medical doctor is  דוֹקטוֹר (rophe), compare to the first element of Raphael.

Raphael is currently a trend across Europe, in France, Raphaël is the 11th most popular male name, (2010). His rankings in his various forms are as follows:

  • # 3 (Liechtenstein, 2010)
  • # 11 (Rafael, Brazil, 2010)
  • # 17 (Austria, 2010)
  • # 40 (Rafał, Warsaw, Poland, 2010)
  • # 48 (Rafał, Poland, 2009)
  • # 50 (German-speaking, Switzerland, 2010)
  • # 54 (Raphaël, Belgium, 2008)
  • # 55 (Rafael, Spain, 2010)
  • # 56 (Rafael, Croatia, 2009)
  • # 63 (Rafael, France, 2010)
  • # 189 (Rafaël, Netherlands, 2011)
  • # 274 (Rafael, United States, 2011)
  • # 668 (United States, 2011)

Its feminine form of Rafaela is currently the 8th most popular female name in Brazil, (2010), while the French form of Raphaëlle ranked in as the 273rd most popular female name in France, (2010).

Other forms of the masculine include:

  • Rafael (Albanian/Armenian/Catalan/Croatian/Czech/Finnish/Hungarian/Portuguese/Romanian/Romansch/Scandinavian/Slovene/Spanish)
  • Raphel ሩፋኤል (Amharic/Ethiopian)
  • Rupha(e)l ራፋኤል (Amharic/Ethiopian)
  • Israfil اسرافيل, Исрафил (Arabic/Central Asian: used among Muslims)
  • Rapael რაფაელ (Armenian/Georgian)
  • Rafail Рафаил Ραφαήλ (Bulgarian/Greek/Macedonian/RomanianRussian/Serbian)
  • Rafel (Catalan)
  • Raphael (Coptic/English/German)
  • Rafaël (Dutch)
  • Raafael (Estonian)
  • Raphaël (French)
  • Raiféal (Gaelic)
  • Raffaele (Italian)
  • Raffaello (Italian)
  • Raffaelino (Italian)
  • Îsrafîl (Kurdish)
  • Rafla (Lebanese/Syrian: used among Christians)
  • Rafaelis (Lithuanian)
  • Rapolas (Lithuanian)
  • Rafel (Maltese)
  • Rafał (Polish)
  • Arrafieli (Sardinian)
  • Rafiele (Sardinian)
  • İsrafil (Turkish)
  • Rafayil Рафаї́л (Ukrainian)
Common diminiutives are: Raf (Dutch); Rafe (English); Ralph (English); Rafinha (Brazilian-Portuguese); Rafa (Spanish).
Feminine forms include:
  • Rafaela (Croatian/Macedonian/Portuguese/Romansch/Slovene/Spanish)
  • Raphaëlle (French)
  • Raphaela (German)
  • Raphaele (German)
  • Raffaella (Italian)
  • Raffaellina (Italian)
The name was also notably borne by Raphael, or Raffaello Sanzio (1483–1520), an Italian master painter.

Safiyya

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Arabic صفيّة
Meaning: “pure.”
(sah-FEE-yah)

The name is derived from the Arabic word, saf صاف (pure).

The name was borne by Safiyya Bint Huyayy, a Jewish-Bedouin woman who converted to Islam and became one of the Prophet Mohammed’s wives. It was also borne by Safiyya bint ‘Abd al-Muttalib, a Sahaba of Mohammed.

As of 2010, its Maghrebin form of Safia was the 293rd most popular female name in France. Her variant forms appear throughout the French top 500; their rankings are as follows:

  • # 297 (Safa)
  • # 466 (Safiya)
Safiyyah was the 10th most popular female name in Malaysia (2011)

Other forms of Safiya include:

  • Safija Сафия (Albanian/Bosnian/Bulgarian/Central Asian)
  • Safia (Algerian/Berber/Moroccan/Tunisian)
  • Safa (Arabic)
  • Saffiya (Arabic)
  • Safiye (Azeri/Kurdish/Turkish)
  • Shafiyah (Indonesian)
  • Safiyyah (Malaysian)
  • Safiya صفیه (Persian)

Nawal, Nawel

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Arabic نوال
Meaning: “present; gift.”
(nah-WAHL; nah-WEL)

The name is from the Arabic meaning, “gift; present.”

As of 2010, Nawel was the 312th most popular female name in France.

The name is borne by Comorian folk-singer, Nawal.

Jihane

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Arabic جيهان
Meaning: debated
(jee-HAHN)

There are several possible origins to this name. It is most widely accepted to be derived from the Persian word, جهان (jahan), meaning, “world; universe.” However, it can also be traced to several different Arabic words with JHN as their roots. These include:

  • جهانة (juhanhun), meaning, “young.”
  • جهن (jhen), meaning, “closer.”
  • جهنة (jhenh), meaning, “twilight blue.”

As of 2010, Jihane was the 334th most popular female name in France.

A variant transcription is Jihene.

Qays, Kais

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Arabic قيس‎
(kah-EES)

Qays was the name of a pre-Islamic marauding Arabic tribe who were eventually converted and absorbed into the general Arab population.

The name later appears in the Arab epic romantic poem, Qays & Leila.

As of 2010, its Maghrebin form of Kaïs was the 86th most popular male name in France.

Wassim

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Arabic  وسیم
Meaning: “handsome.”
(WAH-SEEM)

The name is derived from the Arabic meaning, “handsome.”

As of 2010, Wassim was the 102nd most popular male name in France.

A variation transcription is Wasim.

Feminine form is Wassima.

Sufian

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Arabic
Meaning: debated
(SOOF-yahn)

The name could either be derived from the Arabic ṣafā (صَفا) meaning, “pure” or the Arabic,    ṣūf (صُوف), meaning, “wool.”

The name was borne by Abu Sufyan, originally a staunch opponent to the Prophet Mohammed, he later became a devout Muslim. It was also borne by Sufyan ath-Thawri ibn Said (716–778), a notable Islamic scholar who is credited for putting together many of the hadiths.

A modern notable bearer is American musician, Sufjan Stevens (b.1975).

As of 2010, its Maghrebin form of Sofiane was the 106th most popular male name in France.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Sufyan (Albanian/Arabic)
  • Sofiane (Algerian/Moroccan/Tunisian)
  • Sufian (Arabic/Persian)
  • Süfyan (Azeri/Kurdish/Turkish)
  • Sufjan Суфьян (Bosnian/Bulgarian/Central Asian)
  • Sufyaan (Somalian)

Sakina

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Arabic  سكينة Сакина
Meaning: “calm; peace; tranquility.”
(sah-KEE-nah)

The term sakina is derived from the Arabic, sukun, meaning, (calm; tranquility; serenity; peace of mind). The term appears in the Qu’ran as the name of an attribute that fell upon Mohammed and his followers from Allah when they entered Mecca unarmed.

Sakina shares the same etymological root with the Hebrew abstract feminine noun, shekinah שכינה‎, which means “dwelling; settling” but in Judaism is used to describe the presence of God in the world.

In Arabic Sakina appears in various forms such as Sukina and Sukayna.

The name was borne by the daughter of Hussein and the great-granddaughter of the Prophet Mohammed, Sukayna bint Hussein. She is revered as a great saint among Shi’a Muslims, known in her life time for her devotion, piety and charity, she was the favorite daughter of Hussein.

As of 2010, Sakina was the 444th most popular female name in France while its Maghrebin form of Soukaina came in lower at # 487.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Soukaina (Algerian/Moroccan/Tunisian)
  • Sukaina/Sukayna (Arabic)
  • Sukina (Arabic)

Samia

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Arabic سامية
Meaning: “elevated; high; lofty.”
(sah-MEE-ah)

Actress and comedienne, Kathy Najimy bestowed this Arabic beauty upon her daughter (named in honour of Kathy’s Lebanese-born mother). Samia is a feminine form of Sami, and is used throughout the Islamic world, though Samia itself is used equally among Arabic-speaking Muslims, Christians and Jews.

As of 2009, Samia was the 392nd most popular female name in France. Her variant spellings of Samiya just entered the U.S. top 1000, coming in as the 959th most popular female name in the United States (2011), while Samiyah ranked in slightly higher, being the 793rd most popular female name.

An Eastern European and Central Asian form is Samija.