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Ira Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

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

Ira Overview

  • Meaning: When translated from Hebra, Ira means “watchful” or “roused.”
  • Gender: Ira is a gender-neutral name.
  • Origin: The name Ira originates from the Hebrew Bible and the Old Testament.
  • Pronunciation: “EYE-ruh” or “EER-uh.”
  • Popularity: The name is relatively popular in the United States, often ranking in the top 1,000 most common baby names. It’s far more popular in Russia and Belarus.
  • Nicknames: Irina, Irene, and Iris.
  • Variations: עִירָא, Hera, Îrâ
  • Namesakes: Ira Gershwin (lyricist), Ira Glass (radio personality).

Ira is an enchanting name with a powerful meaning and unique origin, and it’s becoming increasingly popular. Here’s everything you need to know about it, along with some answers to popular questions about it.

What Does Ira Mean?

The name Ira had several meanings, each varying depending on the precise origin of the name. In Hebrew, the name Ira means “watchful,” though it can also mean “roused.” When translated from Sanskrit, Ira means “god of wind” or “god of knowledge.”

When the name Ira is used as a shortened form of the Russian name Irina, it means “peace.” In Polynesia, Ira means “goddess of the sky.” In nearly all cases, this name is associated with protection, power, and spirituality.

What is the Origin of the Name Ira?

The name Ira has biblical origins. You can find it in both the Hebrew Bible (which contains the Torah) and the Old Testament. It was the first name of the biblical figure, Ira the Jairite (1). This figure is described as a minister, friend, and officer of King David of Israel.

This name is similar to the Hebrew word “עוּר,” which means “to rouse oneself.” Ancient Hebrew populations may have used Ira as a masculine first name due to its similarity to this verb, which is often associated with the act of being alert and watchful.

However, this name also originates from the Greek name Hera (wife of Zeus). Ira is also associated with the Sanskrit gods Vayu (god of wind) and Saraswati (goddess of knowledge), as well as Irā, a Hindu religious figure responsible for creating grass, trees, and plants (2).

How Popular is the Name Ira?

Ira is a fairly popular name in the United States, typically ranking within the top 1,000 baby names. This name was very popular in the 1880s, ranking within the top 100 baby names until 1896.

From this point (until 1980), Ira enjoyed continued popularity, falling within the top 500 names in the U.S. The lowest point of popularity for this name was 1992 to 2017. However, since 2018, Ira has steadily climbed in popularity, particularly in the United States (3).

This name is most popular in Russia and Belarus, often ranking in the top 200 baby names.

How Do I Pronounce Ira?

There are two primary ways to pronounce the name Ira. The first way is “EYE-ruh,” and the second pronunciation is “EER-uh.”

Is Ira a Boy or Girl Name?

Ira is a gender-neutral name used as both a boys’ and girls’ name. Though it’s traditionally a masculine name, in the present day, it’s more commonly given to females.

Variations of Ira

There are a few variations of the name Ira, but the most common include:

  • עִירָא (Traditional Hebrew)
  • इरा (Sanskrit)
  • Hera (Greek)
  • Îrâ (Tiberian Hebrew)

Nicknames for Ira

Because the name Ira is relatively short, there are few nicknames associated with it. However, Ira is often used as a nickname or a shortened version for longer names, including:

Similar Names to Ira

There are several names similar to Ira, including:

  • Asa
  • Ire
  • Irene
  • Irina
  • Iris
  • Irvin
  • Isaac
  • Lyra
  • Myra
  • Tyra

Middle Names for Ira

Are you thinking of naming your child Ira? If so, you’ll want to choose a compatible middle name. Fortunately, there are several options to choose from, including:

Sibling Names for Ira

Several names pair well with Ira, making them top-notch sibling names. Some of the most complementary include:

Famous People Named Ira

There have been quite a few famous people with the first name Ira, with some of the most notable including:

  • Ira Brown: American basketball player.
  • Ira Deutchman: American independent film producer.
  • Ira Gershwin: American lyricist.
  • Ira Glass: American radio personality.
  • Ira Levin: American author.
  • Ira von Fürstenberg: European public figure and actress.

Ira in Popular Culture

Several characters throughout popular culture have the name Ira. Some of the most well-known of these include:

  • Ira Gaines: Character in the television show 24; portrayed by Michael Massee.
  • Ira Hogeboom: Character in the 2011 video game L.A. Noire; voiced by J. Marvin Campbell.
  • Ira Lowenstein: Character in the 1992 film A League of Their Own; portrayed by David Strathairn.
  • Ira Rosenbloom: Character in the television show Young Sheldon; portrayed by Richard Kind.
  • Ira Wright: Character in the 2009 film Funny People; portrayed by Seth Rogen.

Ira FAQs

Do you have additional questions about the name Ira? If so, you may find the answer you’re looking for below!

What Does the Name Ira Mean in Russian?

In Russia, the name Ira is often used as a nickname for Irina (meaning “peace”), which is a Russian permutation of the Greek name Hera.

What Does Ira Mean in Latin?

In Latin, the name Ira translates to “anger.” The complete Latin adjective for this term is “iratus,” which is currently associated with the English word “irate” (4).

Is Ira a Hindu Name?

Ira has multiple origins, including Hindu religious texts. This is the name of an important female figure from The Puranas, Irā (इरा). In The Puranas, this figure is described as the mother of three goddesses who created plants and trees.

How Rare Is the Name Ira?

The name Ira isn’t rare, but it isn’t as popular as it was during the 1800s. Currently, the name is seeing a slight resurgence, placing it within the top 100 most popular baby names in the United States.

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