Elijah, Elias


Gender: Masculine
Origin: Hebrew
Meaning: “Yahweh is God.”
Eng (ee-LIE-jah ; e-LIE-jah)
Eng (ee-LIE-us; eh-LIE-us)

The name is derived from the Biblical Hebrew, אֱלִיָּהוּ, (Eliyyahu), meaning, “Yahweh is God.”

The name is borne in the Old Testament by an extremely important prophet who is speculated to have been alive around the 9th-century C.E.

Many miraculous occurrences were attributed to him, the most spectacular being that he could raise the dead, invoke fire from the sky and it is also believed that he ascended into heaven, (body and soul), via a chariot of fire flanked by cherubs.

He is an extremely popular figure in both Judaism and Christianity.

In the New Testament, it is believed that Elijah appeared with Moses during the Transfiguration of Christ.

Elijah has always been revered as a great saint by the Eastern Orthodox Churches, and in Russia and other Slavo-Orthodox nations, Elijah has been equated as a sort of folk character: he is responsible for bad weather if angered.

In Judaism, Elijah is invoked during the weekly Havdalah, the Passover seder and during the ritual circumcision.

In the the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, it is believed that Elijah visited Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in 1836.

Unlike other Old Testament names, Elijah has had a longer usage among Christians, going as far back as the Middle Ages. However, in Medieval England, the Middle English form of Elis, was more widely used.

In addition to the prophet Elijah, the name was also borne by at least two Catholic/Orthodox Saints.

Currently, Elijah is the 18th most popular male name in the United States, (2010). So far, this is the highest he has ranked in U.S. naming history. His rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 45 (Australia, 2010)
  • # 78 (Canada, B.C., 2010)
  • # 311 (the Netherlands, 2010)
  • # 427 (France, 2009)

His Hellenized counterpart of Elias, is also an up-and-comer, he is currently the # 141st most popular male name in the United States, (2010) and his rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 4 (Sweden, 2010)
  • # 9 (Austria, 2010)
  • # 10 (Norway, 2010)
  • # 13 (Germany, 2011)
  • # 18 (Denmark, 2010)
  • # 44 (Belgium, 2009)
  • # 119 (France, 2009)
  • # 225 (the Netherlands, 2010)

Other forms of the name include:

  • Ilyas إلياس (Arabic)
  • Ilia/Ilya Илья (Bulgarian/Old Church Slavonic/Russian)
  • Ilija Илија (Bulgarian/Croatian/Macedonian/Serbian)
  • Elies (Catalan)
  • Elijáš (Czech)
  • Elia (Dutch/Finnish/Georgian/Italian/Norwegian)
  • Eliah (English)
  • Eelis (Finnish)
  • Eljas (Finnish)
  • Élie (French)
  • Elias Ηλιας (English/Estonian/Finnish/German/Greek/Portuguese/Scandinavian)
  • Ellis/Elis (English)
  • Elija (German)
  • Elise ელისე (Georgian)
  • Eliou Ηλιου (Greek)
  • Eliyyahu/Eliyahu אֱלִיָּהוּ (Hebrew)
  • Éliás (Hungarian)
  • Illés (Hungarian)
  • Elías (Icelandic/Spanish)
  • Illyas (Indonesian)
  • Oillil (Irish-Gaelic)
  • Eliya (Kiswahili)
  • Helias (Latin: Biblical)
  • Habacus (Latin: Vulgate)
  • Elijas (Lithuanian)
  • Eliasz (Polish)
  • Ilie (Romanian)
  • Eliáš (Slovakian)
  • İlyas (Turkish)

A Romanian feminine form is Ilinca, (ee-LEEN-kah).

The name is borne by American actor, Elijah Wood (b. 1981)

The designated name days are March 24, July 20 and August 2nd.

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