Tamar, Tamara

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Hebrew
Meaning: “date palm, palm tree.”
Тамара
თამარ

The name was borne in the Old Testament by a daughter-in-law of Judah (Genesis 38) and also by the daughter of King David (2 Samuel 13) .

The name is derived from the Hebrew meaning, “date palm” or “palm tree.”

Since both characters are involved in some seamy controversy, the name was never historically a common name among Jews or Christians. Its popularity may have been awakened when it was introduced into the Western World via the Ballet Russe where a few Russian ballerinas of Georgian descent bore the name. Its popularity may have been further realized via Polish cubist painter Tamara de Lempicka (born Maria Gorska) 1898-1980.

The name had always been common in Russia, Armenia and Georgia, but in this case, the name seems to have been borne by a sky goddess in Georgian mythology and was also the name of a famous Georgian queen and saint and therefore has no relation to the Biblical name.

During the 1940s-50s, the spin-off diminutive form of Tammy became popular as a given name in its own right, most likely due to the popularity of the Tammy movies. In 1966, it was the 8th most popular female name, as of recent years, she does not appear in the U.S. top 1000.

Tamara’s popularity has spread outside of Russia and Georgia. Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 52 (Chile, 2006)
  • # 147 (Germany, 2009)
  • # 57 (Hungary, 2008)
  • # 59 (Slovenia, 2005)

The designated name-days are: January 26 (Slovakia), March 22 (Latvia), April 28 (Russia), May 1 (France), May 2 (Russia), June 3 (Czech Republic/Poland), December 29 (Hungary).

Tamara also happens to coincide with a Sanskrit word for spice and in Malayalam and Tamil, Tamara means “lotus flower.”

Other forms of the name include:

  • T’amar (Georgian)
  • Tamari (Georgian)
  • Tamro (Georgian)
  • Tamuna თამუნა (Georgian)
  • Tamwili (Georgian)
  • Tako (Georgian)
  • Támár (Hungarian)

An Armenian diminutive is Tamarig and a  Russian short form is Toma.

Sources

  1. http://www.askoxford.com/firstnames/tamara?view=uk
  2. http://www.behindthename.com/php/find.php?name=tamara
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamar_of_Georgia
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