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Naomi Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

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

Naomi Overview

  • Meaning: Naomi means “pleasant” in Hebrew and “straight and beautiful” in Japanese.
  • Gender: Naomi is a girls’ name in North America. While some countries use it as a unisex name, it remains predominantly female.
  • Origin: Naomi evolved concurrently in Hebrew and Japanese.
  • Pronunciation: There are several ways to pronounce Naomi. The most common is “Nay-OH-me.”
  • Popularity: In North America, Naomi is a very popular girls’ name.
  • Nicknames: Noma, Nomi, Mimi, Mims.
  • Variations: Nahome (Hattian Creole), Náoimí (Irish), Naomé (Belgian), Naomie (English), Noomi (Finnish).
  • Namesakes: Naomi Campbell (model), Naomi Castle (athlete), Naomi Jacob (actress), Naomi Kawasi (director), Naomi Novik (author).

Naomi Name Meaning

Naomi is a very popular North American girl’s name. But what does it mean and where does it come from? We’ll answer these questions and a few you didn’t know you had to help you learn more about the name Naomi.

What Does Naomi Mean?

Naomi is a name with several meanings. In Hebrew, Naomi means “pleasant”. The flexibility of translation from Hebrew allows interpreters a certain amount of fluidity, and other prevalent translations include “pleasant one,” “above all,” and “beauty.”

The linguistic root of Naomi is the Hebrew “Nam.” This determines much of the name’s meaning because “Nam” means “pleasant” or “beautiful.”

Interestingly, Naomi is not only a Hebrew girl’s name. It’s also Japanese, where it appears as a gender-neutral name. In Japanese, Naomi means ‘straight and beautiful’ (1).

What Is the Origin of the Name Naomi?

Typically, when used in North America, Naomi has a Hebrew origin. In Judaism, it’s a popular name to give to young girls during Shavuot because of the festival’s association with the Book of Ruth.

Memorably, the Book of Ruth capitalizes on the wordplay inherent in Naomi’s name. Understanding her name means pleasant, Naomi turns to her daughter-in-law in the middle of a crisis and asks to instead be called Marah, Hebrew for “bitter”.

Hebrew readers would recognize the positive associations with Naomi’s name, as well as the negative meaning of the name she chooses. Mara means “bitter,” and by renaming herself, Naomi disassociates herself from all things pleasant or beautiful.

How Popular Is the Name Naomi?

At present, Naomi is a very popular girls name. Data collected in 2020 shows the name Naomi moving seven positions up the charts for popularity. Whereas in 2019, it was ranked 59th, by 2020, it was the 52nd (2).

Due to the fame of Naomis as actresses, singers, and supermodels, its popularity is likely to persist.

How Do I Pronounce Naomi?

There are several ways to pronounce Naomi. In North America, the most common pronunciation distinguishes between the first two vowels. Said this way, and written phonetically, you pronounce Naomi as “Nay-OH-me,” with the stress on the middle syllable.

Across the Atlantic, the more common British pronunciation treats the “ao” letter combination like a diphthong. Said this way, you pronounce Naomi like “NIGH-oh-me,” with the stress on the first, elongated syllable.

Usually, this happens because of the atypicality of the “ao” letter blend in English. When paired with certain regional UK accents, you get an incorrectly stressed syllable that tries to compensate for the letter combination by lengthening it into one more recognizable sound.

In a moment of synchronicity, the Japanese pronunciation is similar to Hebrew. Typically, traditional Hebrew spells the name Naomi as “Na’Omi,” and you hear this in the pronunciation, which sounds like “Nah-Oh-Mi.”

This phonetic pronunciation is consistent with the Japanese pronunciation of Naomi.

Note that when pronouncing Naomi this way, the “ah” sound here should be the equivalent to “cat” or “father.”

Is Naomi a Boy or Girl Name?

Naomi is predominantly a girl’s name. While the name is gender-neutral in Japan and can be given to children of either sex, it is still significantly more common to hear it associated with girls.

Variations of Naomi

Unsurprisingly, because there are so many possible pronunciations of Naomi, there are also many regional variations. The most common include:

  • Nahome (Hattian Creole)
  • Náoimí (Irish)
  • Naomé (Belgian)
  • Naomie (English)
  • Noemi (Czech)
  • Noémi (French)
  • Noémie (French)
  • Noomi (Finnish)

Nicknames for Naomi

There are also several ways you can shorten Naomi. Some of the most popular are:

  • Noma
  • Nomi
  • Mimi
  • Mims
  • Mimsy
  • Noam
  • Noe
  • Nonna

Similar Names to Naomi

Various names share similar meanings to Naomi. These include:

Middle Names for Naomi

When it comes to middle names for Naomi, there are also several options. The most popular are:

Sibling Names for Naomi

If you want a sibling name that goes well with Naomi, there are several that have similar meanings or sounds:

Famous People Named Naomi

Part of the uptick in Naomi as a favorite baby name since the late 2010s comes from the number of Naomi’s who have put their mark on society. From actors to athletes, there are a variety of notable people named Naomi, including:

  • Naomi Campbell: British model.
  • Naomi Castle: Australian water polo athlete.
  • Naomi Jacob: British actress.
  • Naomi Kawasi: Japanese film director.
  • Naomi Novik: American author.
  • Naomi Oreskes: American scientific historian.

Naomi in Popular Culture

Another contributing factor to the ongoing popularity of Naomi as a name is pop culture. Some of the best-known fictional Naomi’s include:

  • Naomi: Antagonist on the American TV show Supernatural.
  • Naomi Bennett: Appeared on Gray’s Anatomy spin-off show, Private Practice.
  • Naomi Clark: Recurring character on the American television show 90210.
  • Naomi Dorrit: Mercenary survivor on the television show Lost.
  • Naomi Julien: Featured in long-running British soap opera, EastEnders.
  • Naomi Misora: Supporting character in Japanese Manga Death Note.
  • Naomi Zeigler: Student in book series Pretty Little Liars.

Naomi FAQs

Here are some other questions people ask while researching the meaning and origin of the name Naomi.

Does Naomi mean moon?

There is a Greek variation of the name that translates to mean “full moon.” However, the most common version of Naomi does not mean moon.

Ruth made her vow to Naomi

Ruth, a Moabite princess, famously made a vow to Naomi to follow her wherever she went. She is now considered to be the mother of all converts to Judaism.

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