Biblical Girls Names

Drawing by Kemmu from fiverr.com

During the last years many Biblical girls names are getting more and more popular.

Among the most popular names, and names that has kept their popularity for many years are Anna (means ”mercy”), Maria (”beautiful”, Eva (”life”) and Elisabeth (”promises from God”). These names has been ranking quite high all the time.

Anne, Marie and Marianne can also be counted in here, but these are often recognized as ”secondary” Biblical names.


Periodes of time

In the statistics there are used 3 periods of time:

1850 – 1920

1920 – 1980

1980 - 2005


The Most Popular Name: Anna

According to this Anna has been ranking 1., 3. and 4. place.

Before 1900 almost 10% of newborn girls in Norway was named Anna.


Maria and Eva

Maria has the rank of 8., 5. and 1, while the name Eva was # 9, 1 and no.8.

Very popular during the 1940’s, but not more than 70 – 80 get named Eva each year now. The same goes for Elisabeth which had top popularity in the 1970’s.

Ester and Ruth

Ester, or Esther, means ”Star” and was no. 4 on the popularity list from 1850 – 1920. During the latest years only 10 – 15 girls in Norway are named Ester each year.

Ruth used to be very popular. It was ranked no.3 in the first periode, and no.4 in the second. Today only 20 new Ruth’s comes every year.

The name means ”friendship” and is supposed to increase popularity in the coming years.


Marta and Hanna

Marta or Martha means housewife, and was quite popular until 1925, but now it is not much used, only 30 each year.

Hanna means ”mercy from God”, and was very popular before 1900. In 2006 it actually reached the same popularity again.


Johanna and Rakel

Johanna or Johanne also means ”Gods mercy”.  For many decades it was highly popular, especially before 1920.

During the last 10 years it has again increased its popularity, and is expected to reach the ”Top Ten” again.

Rakel (Rachel) means ”sheep with lamb”, and is also one of the Biblical girls names that is increasing its popularity. The best time for ”Rakel” was around 1900.


Judith and Sara

Judith or Judit means ”the Jewish woman that is praised”. During the 1920’s and 30’s it was ranked no.8, but after that the name almost was forgotten. Today there are about 10 new Judith’s every year.

Sara or Sarah was quite unusual until the 1970’s. Then it became more and more popular, and reached a top in 2000.

It means ”princess” and it is a very common name also international.


Rebecca and Miriam

Rebecca or Rebekka is ranked no. 6 in the list from 1980 – 2005. The name means ”she keeps her promises”, but is falling down on the popularity lists the last years.

Miriam was popular for some years after 1980, but even if the name means ”beautiful, strong” the popularity is decreasing.


Lea  / Leah

Leah Lea or Leah means ”tired”, and the name has no traditions in Norway.

Before 1990 only 2 – 3 girls each year got the name Lea, and absolutely no Leah.

In 2006 there was 200 new Leah’s in Norway.





Biblical girls names are always popular, different names at different times. As you can see: Even Biblical names are trendy, and ”coming back”.

Source: Øyvind Hartberg



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