The name can have a few derivations and meanings depending on the ethnic background of the bearer. In Hebrew, it is the word for lion אֲרִי, Lev, its Russian counterpart, was a popular cognate among Eastern European Jews.
In Albanian it means “gold” and is a common element that appears in many traditional Albanian names.
It is a common Badaga male name, (Badaga is a dialect of Kannada, an Indian language) and it means “sun-like”, it is often anglicized as Harry.
In Finnish and Estonian it was originally used as a form of Adrian and also used as a borrowing from the Old Norse, (see below).
Among Greeks, it is the modern form of the mythological name, Ares, meaning “best”, though commonly used as an independent given name it is also used as a short form of Aristostle.
In Armenian it means brave Արի, and it is also an Old Norse name meaning “eagle.”
Currently, Ari is the 502nd most popular male name in the United States, (2010).
In recent years, Entourage has brought this name to the forefront as the name of one of the key characters.
It is also borne by the husband of Princess Märtha Louise of Norway, Ari Behn (b.1972).
Other notable bearers include:
- Ari Þorgilsson (Iceland’s foremost Medieval Chronicler 1067-1158)
- RabbiIsaac Luria (1534–1572), Jewish rabbinical scholar and mystic known also as Ari
- Ari Emmanuel (brother of Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emmanuel and a famous American talent agent)
- Ari Fleischer (b.1960, U.S. press secretary for George W. Bush).