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Ariel Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

Learn about the name Ariel including the meaning, gender, origin, popularity, and more.

Ariel Overview

  • Meaning: Ariel is a Biblical Hebrew name that means “lion of God.”
  • Gender: The name is considered gender-neutral or unisex, with similar use for boys and girls.
  • Origin: Ariel comes from Judaism and made its first appearance in the Book of Isaiah as a term for Jerusalem.
  • Pronunciation: “air-EE-el.” The name rhymes with the words “aerial” or “burial.”
  • Popularity: Ariel is a popular feminine name and a fairly popular masculine name in the United States. They ranked 222nd and 560th respectively in 2021.
  • Nicknames: Ari, Aria, Arie, Ariela, Ariella, Arik, Auri, Ella, Elle.
  • Variations: Ariella, Arielle, Arihel, Arik, Asadullah.
  • Namesakes: Ariel Bloomer, Ariel Lin, Ariel Winter.

What Does Ariel Mean?

Ariel is a biblical Hebrew name that means “lion of God.” In ancient and modern Hebrew, the name was a given masculine name that portrayed a connection to God, good health, and strength.

The name Ariel is typically associated with strength, beauty, and nature.

What Is the Origin of the Name Ariel?

Ariel originates from Judaism and made its first appearance in the Book of Isaiah when it was used in reference to Jerusalem.

Its recent prominence is directly related to Harrison Fletcher, an American professor who believed he had discovered fragments from the Book of Enoch that referenced an angel named Ariel (1).

Fletcher made his discovery in the 1930s while studying a copy of fragments that had belonged to the Byzantine chronicler George Syncellus. From this, Fletcher believed that this reference to Ariel from the Book of Enoch inspired a minor character who is an angel in the epic poem “Paradise Lost” by John Milton.

However, Fletcher’s claims were not verified, and the Dead Sea Scrolls indicate that no such angel named Ariel featured in the earliest versions of the Book of Enoch.

In addition, an altar in the First Temple in Jerusalem was named Ariel due to it being used for Uriel, an archangel in Judaism that has also become significant to some Christian denominations (2).

How Popular Is the Name Ariel?

Ariel is a biblical Hebrew name and has historically been very popular in Israel and amongst Jewish communities all over the world. In Israel, Ariel was the third most commonly chosen name for boys and girls in 2020.

In the United States, the name did not gain serious popularity until 1978, when it entered the top 1000 most popular names for girls at 895th.

As a masculine name, Ariel saw slightly earlier popularity, reaching 931 in 1967. Since 2000, it has typically hovered between 500th and 600th. It held the 560th spot in 2021.

As a feminine name, Ariel exploded in popularity in 1990, going from 209th in 1989 to 94th the following year. The Disney movie “The Little Mermaid,” starring the character of Ariel released in 1989, so the popularity of the name directly correlates with the film.

Ariel dropped out of the top 100 for girls in 1992 and ranked 222nd in 2021 (3).

How Do I Pronounce Ariel?

Ariel is pronounced, “air-EE-el.” It can be rhymed with the words “aerial” or “burial.”

Is Ariel a Boy or Girl Name?

The name Ariel is considered gender-neutral or unisex. However, it was traditionally a masculine name and remains so in modern-day Hebrew.

In most English-speaking countries, Ariel has been a given feminine name. This use has especially been the case since the release of “The Little Mermaid” in 1989. The Disney movie popularized and cemented its association with girls.

Variations of Ariel

Since Ariel has deep roots in history, there have been several variations of the name over the years:

  • Ariella (English)
  • Arielle (French)
  • Arihel (Biblical Latin)
  • Arik (Hebrew)
  • Asadullah (Arabic)

Nicknames for Ariel

These are a few nicknames that help make the name Ariel short and catchy for friends, including:

  • Ari
  • Aria
  • Arie
  • Ariela
  • Ariella
  • Arik
  • Auri
  • Ella
  • Elle

Similar Names to Ariel

If you are particularly interested in Ariel, these other names should pique your interest:

Middle Names for Ariel

Since Ariel is a melodic name, it is not hard to find a middle name that fits well for a boy or girl:

Sibling Names for Ariel

Whether you’re curious or planning another baby, consider the following choices as they are some of the best options to pair with Ariel:

For a Brother:

For a Sister:

Famous People Named Ariel

Since Ariel is gender-neutral, many famous men and women have carried this name.

  • Ariel Bloomer: American singer for the band “Icon for Hire.”
  • Ariel Serena Hedges Bowen: African-American writer and activist.
  • Ariel Lin: Taiwanese singer and actress well-known for her role in the tv series “It Started With A Kiss.”
  • Ariel Pink: American musician.
  • Ariel Ortega: Argentine soccer player.
  • Ariel Ramírez: Argentine pianist and composer.
  • Ariel Sharon: Israeli soldier and prime minister.
  • Ariel Winter: American actress well-known for her role in the ABC series “Modern Family.”

Ariel in Popular Culture

Although Ariel from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” is arguably the most popular, there have been many other examples of Ariel in pop culture:

  • Ariel: Anymph character from William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.”
  • Ariel: An archangel in John Milton’s epic poem “Paradise Lost.”
  • Ariel: The main character in Disney’s 1989 film “The Little Mermaid.”
  • Ariel Alderman: A character in the TV series “Nip/Tuck.”
  • Ariel Hunter: A character in the TV series “Beverly Hills, 90210.”
  • Ariel Moore: A character in the 1984 film “Footloose.”

Ariel FAQs

To help you learn more about Ariel, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions about the name.

Does the Name Ariel Also Mean “Light of God”?

No, it does not. This is a common misconception due to Ariel being often linked to the archangel Uriel. It is Uriel which means “Flame of God” or “Light of God.”

Is the Name Ariel in the Bible?

In addition to being a metaphorical name of Jerusalem, Ariel was also the name of a messenger of Ezra in the Hebrew Bible.

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