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The Names Project. Mr. Feeley. My name is from WHAT language?!?!. You may be wondering why your given name or surname has its origins in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, or Arabic? Here is why! . Hebrew. עִבְרִית.

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The names project

The Names Project

Mr. Feeley

My name is from what language
My name is from WHAT language?!?!

You may be wondering why your given name or surname has its origins in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, or Arabic?

Here is why!



The Iron Age Kingdom of Israel (blue) and Kingdom of Judah (yellow), with their neighbors (tan) (8th century BCE).

Hebrew flourished as a spoken language in the kingdoms of Israel and Judah during the 10th to 7th centuries BCE.

The Old Testament emerged from the Jewish traditions of Ancient Israel.

Greek (yellow), with their neighbors (tan) (8th century BCE).


Greek has been spoken in the Balkan Peninsula since around the late 3rd millennium BCE.

Greek Civilization Archaic Period 800 BCE to 500 BCE

Classical Period 500-323 BCE

Hellenistic Period 323 BC to 146 CE

GREEK EMPIRE: Alexander the Great’s empire at the time of its maximum expansion (Hellinistic Period)

Latin its maximum expansion (Hellinistic Period)


Roman Era

500 BC - early 400’s CE

Latin was the dominant language of the Roman Empire.

Roman Empire at its most extensive. 117 AD its maximum expansion (Hellinistic Period)

Emperor constantine of rome
Emperor Constantine of Rome its maximum expansion (Hellinistic Period)

  • Roman Emperor 306 to 337 AD

  • Christianity became the dominant Roman religion after 2 ½ centuries of persecution

  • Much of the New Testament emerged during this era.

  • Stories and names from the Christian Old and New Testaments received a big push into Europe’s future.

Western Roman Empire Falls in the 400’s CE. its maximum expansion (Hellinistic Period)

Barbarian Invaders

500’s CE:



Visigoths ***


Arabic its maximum expansion (Hellinistic Period)

  • Classical Arabic 500’s CE

  • Greatly impacted Spanish between 700’s CE and 1492 (4,000 words, 8% of dictionary)

  • Second greatest impact after Latin

  • Islamic Empire its maximum expansion (Hellinistic Period)

  • Spread of Islam and Arabic (622-750)

The province of al-Andalus just after the Islamic conquest, its maximum expansion (Hellinistic Period)

720 CE

Al-Andalus & Christian Kingdoms circa 1000 CE

Romance languages derived from Latin (including!)

Map of Spanish America at the end of the 1700’s

My name means what why
My name means WHAT?!?! WHY?!

You may be wondering why one of your names means, “exalted one” or “warrior” or “skinny guy” or “fortress” or “cave.”

Here is why!

Customs for first names
Customs for first names

Aspiring personal traits. For example, the name Clement means "merciful." (e.g Faith, Prudence)

Occupations. (e.g. George means "earth-worker", i.e., "farmer").

Circumstances of birth. (e.g. Thomas means"twin" or the Latin name Quintus, which was traditionally given to the fifth male child.

Objects. (e.g. Peter means "rock" and Edgar means "rich spear.”)

Physical characteristics. (e.g. Calvin means "bald.”)

Variations on another name, especially to change the sex of the name (e.g. Pauline, Georgia) or to translate from another language (fe.g. the names Francis or Francisco that come from the name Franciscus meaning "Frenchman").

Surnames. (e.g. Winston, Harrison, and Ross). Such names can honour other branches of a family, where the surname would not otherwise be passed down (e.g., the mother's maiden surname).

Places. (e.g. Brittany, Lorraine.)

Characters/Words from Myths, Legends, the Bible, Names of saints. (e.g. Jesse, Noah, Genesis, Santiago, Jesus, Maria).

Surname customs english
Surname customs -ENGLISH

Occupational surnames e.g. Baker, Brewer, Butcher, Hunter, Knight

Personal characteristics e.g., Brown, Black, Whitehead, Young, Long, White

Geographical features e.g., Bridge, Camp, Hill, Bush, Lake, Lee, Wood, Fields

Toponymic surnames:

Place names e.g., Hamilton, London, Flint,

Estate names For those descended from land-owners, the name of their holdings, castle, manor or estate, e.g. Ernle, Windsor, Staunton

Patronymics, matronymics or ancestral, often from a person's given name. e.g., from male name: Richardson, Stephenson, Jackson,Wilson, Thompson, Johnson, Nicholson, Robinson, or female names Molson (from Moll for Mary), Madison (from Maud), Emmott (from Emma), Marriott (from Mary) or from a clan name (for those of Scottish origin, e.g., MacDonald, Forbes, Henderson, Armstrong, Grant, Cameron, with "Mac"Scottish Gaelic for son.

Surname customs spanish
Surname customs SPANISH

Patronymic system was used in the Middle Ages. (e.g. Álvaro, the son of Rodrigo would be named Álvaro Rodríguez. His son, Juan, would not be named Juan Rodríguez, but Juan Álvarez. Over time, many of these patronymics became family names and are some of the most common names in the Spanish-speaking world.

Personal appearance or habit, e.g. Delgado ("thin") and Moreno (polysemous word, it can mean "brown skined", "dark skined", "tanned skined", "brunette hair" or "black hair")

Occupations, e.g. Molinero ("miller"), Zapatero ("Shoe-maker") and Guerrero ("warrior")

Geoographic location or ethnicity, e.g. Alemán ("German")

In Spain and in many Spanish-speaking countries, people traditionally have two family names: the first family name is the paternal one, inherited from the father's paternal family name, while the second family name is the maternal one, inherited from the mother's paternal family name.

e.g. Javier Serratos-Gonzalez


Al-Andalus. (2014, March 4). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 14:39, March 10, 2014, from

Archaic Greece. (2014, February 21). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 13:45, March 10, 2014, from

Barbarian. (2014, February 26). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 14:31, March 10, 2014, from


Constantine the Great. (2014, March 4). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 14:16, March 10, 2014, from

Family name. (2014, March 10). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 21:13, March 10, 2014, from

Given name. (2014, February 22). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 21:13, March 10, 2014, from


Hebrew language. (2014, March 9). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 13:55, March 10, 2014, from

History of ancient Israel and Judah. (2014, March 2). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 13:50, March 10, 2014, from

Latin. (2014, March 10). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 14:08, March 10, 2014, from


Roman Empire. (2014, March 9). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 13:59, March 10, 2014, from

Spanish colonization of the Americas. (2014, March 7). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 15:40, March 10, 2014, from

Spread of Islam. (2014, March 3). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 14:27, March 10, 2014, from