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Esther Name Meaning

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

Esther Overview

  • Meaning: The name Esther means “star,” “hide,” “cover,” or “myrtle.”
  • Gender: Esther is predominantly female, but sometimes used as a male name.
  • Origin: The name derives from the Persian word for “star.” It is related to the goddess of love, Ishtar. Esther is prominent in the Hebrew Bible.
  • Pronunciation: It is widely pronounced asESS-ter.” The H is silent.
  • Popularity: Esther was ranked 156th for newborn girls born in the United States in 2021.
  • Nicknames: Essy, Este, Etta, Ettie, Stella.
  • Variations: Eistir (Irish), Eseza (Luganda), Essi (Finnish), Estee (French), Ettie (English), Hester (English).
  • Namesakes: Esther Dean (American singer), Esther Williams (American actress).

Esther is one of the most recognizable biblical names of all time. Read on to learn everything you need to know about this classic name.

What Does Esther Mean?

Esther is a biblical girl’s name associated with courage, the stars, and justice. Well-respected and impactful in the Hebrew Bible, the name Esther often represents marriage, myrtle trees, and beauty (1).

Other Hebrew meanings include ”hide” or “conceal.” The birth-given name to Queen Esther was Hadassah, meaning “myrtle.”

What Is the Origin of the Name Esther?

Most believe that Esther derives from the Persian word for star and possibly relates to the goddess Ishtar. Babylonians believed that Ishtar represented love, political power, sensuality, and war (2).

The other source of Esther is the Hebrew Bible. In it, Queen Esther and her cousin Mortdecai persuade the ruthless ruler Haman to retract his order to annihilate the Jewish people throughout Persia. Followers of Judaism celebrate the victory during Purim (3).

Before becoming queen, Esther concealed her Hebrew girl name (Hadassah) and her Jewish faith.

How Popular Is the Name Esther?

Esther reached peak popularity in 1913 when it hit number 34 out of 4060 total births, making it a very prevalent name. During the 1930s through 2000, Esther remained in the popular range of the top 200-300 (4).

In 2010, Esther ranked 260 out of 1,000 popular baby names. In 2021, Esther sat at 156 for girls born in the United States.

How Do I Pronounce Esther?

Thankfully, Esther is pretty straightforward to pronounce—most people recognize the name to some degree. You pronounce Esther as “ESS-ter” and do not enunciate the “H.”

While the average person may know the name, some may pronounce it differently. Possible variations may be “EAS-ter,” “EST-her,” or “EAST-er.”

Is Esther a Boy or Girl Name?

Esther is a female name and has not ever gained popularity as a male name. Since 1880, the Social Security Administration has listed 97 males named Esther. Compared to the staggering 246,020 baby girls named Esther.

Some parents name their son Hadas, the male version of the Hebrew Hadassah.

Variations of Esther

If you love the name Esther but do not think it suits your baby girl, there are several alternatives. Almost every continent worldwide has its version of Esther, perfect for tying back to your heritage.

A few versions of Esther are:

  • Eistir (Irish)
  • Eseza (Luganda)
  • Essi (Finnish)
  • Estee (French)
  • Ettie (English)
  • Hester (English)

Nicknames for Esther

Almost every child has a nickname, and Esther comes with several options. Whether you want to shorten the name permanently or keep it in the family, the following are the most popular nicknames for Esther:

  • Essy
  • Este
  • Etta
  • Ettie
  • Stella

Similar Names to Esther

Esther, while lovely, has strong connotations. If you want a lesser-known name or something a bit secular, there are a few Esther-adjacent names that may suit your little one more, including:

Middle Names for Esther

Finding the perfect middle name can be challenging, especially if you are unsure if you want to call your baby girl by her surname or use her middle initial.

Some options for middle names for little girls named Esther are:

Sibling Names for Esther

Whether Esther is your first child or you know you have more on the way, having cohesive sibling names can be fun for parents.

A few ideas for future siblings:

For a brother:

For a sister:

  • Chaya
  • Ellie
  • Emma
  • Estella
  • Leah
  • Meredith
  • Miriam
  • Rachel

Famous People Named Esther

Other than the famous biblical figure, several famous people claim the name Esther, including writers and revolutionaries.

Important people named Esther include:

  • Esther Aghatise: Nigerian long jumper.
  • Esther Bejarano: One of the last survivors of the Auschwitz camp.
  • Esther Clayson: American suffrage activist.
  • Esther Dean: American songwriter.
  • Esther Dyson: Swiss-American investor and entrepreneur.
  • Esther McCracken: British actress and playwright.
  • Esther Rantzen: British journalist and television presenter.
  • Esther Williams: American actress.
  • Esther Wong: Chinese-American icon is known as the “Godmother of Punk.”

Esther in Popular Culture

Esther has countless appearances in literature, film, television, and the fashion industry, and most are unrelated to the Hebrew Bible.

The most notable people named Esther in pop culture are:

  • Esther: Character in “Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.”
  • Esther Bloom: Character from the TV show “Hollyoaks.”
  • Esther Clavin: Character from the show “Cheers.”
  • Esther Greenwood: Protagonist in the semi-autobiographical novel “The Bell Jar” by Sylvia Plath.
  • Esther McQueen: Character from the “Honorverse” book series by David Weber.
  • Esther Valentine: Character from soap opera ‘The Young and the Restless.”

Esther FAQs

Are you still unsure about naming your baby girl Esther? Below are frequently asked questions from other soon-to-be parents.

Why Is Esther Associated With Myrtle Leaves?

Hadassah, the birth name of Queen Esther, derives from Hadas—the Hebrew word for Myrtle. The myrtle leaf and tree represent fertility, growth, and femininity in Judaism. Myrtle plants are evergreen and can grow up to 24 feet.

Is Esther Short for Elizabeth?

Esther is not short for Elizabeth or any other name. The only other title associated with Esther is the English Hester, but both mean the same thing.

What Other Baby Names Mean Star?

If you want to name your baby girl after the night sky but do not want to use Esther, other lovely names that symbolize the same thing are Seren, Vega, and Celeste. These could also work well as sibling names!

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