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Samara Name Meaning (Origin, Popularity & Nicknames)

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

Samara Overview

  • Meaning: Samara means “guardian” and “under God’s rule” in Hebrew. It also means “companion in night conversation” in Arabic and “seed of the elm” in Latin.
  • Gender: Samara is a girl’s name since the male variation is Samar/Samer.
  • Origin: Samara is associated with locales in Iraq, Russia, and ancient Israel (as Samaria). It was the female form of the Arabic Samir, meaning “companion in night talk” or “evening conversation.”
  • Pronunciation: Samara is pronounced “Suh-MAA-raa” in English.
  • Popularity: Samara was not popular after appearing on the naming charts in 2003, but then peaked in 2018 at 256th for U.S. girls. It currently ranks in the top 1,000 U.S. girls’ names.
  • Nicknames: Ara, Ari, Mar, Mara, Mari, Sam, Sammay, Sammi, Samms, Sammy.
  • Variations: Saimara, Samaira, Samarah, Samari, Samaria, Samariah, Samarie, Samariya, Samarra, Samarrea, Samary, Samera, Sameria, Samira, Sammara, Samora, Samra, Semara, Shemariah, Smera.
  • Namesakes: Samara Halperin, American artist who won a 2007 Goldie Award from The San Francisco Bay Guardian Newspaper. Samara Heavrin, American representative from Kentucky.

What Does Samara Mean?

Samara has roots in ancient Hebrew, where it means “guardian.” It’s also found in Arabic, where Samara means “under God’s rule” and “companion in night conversation.” The biblical name Samara can mean “protected by God” when derived from the Hebrew “shamar,” meaning “to guard or protect.”

In Latin, Samara refers to the “seed of the elm” and is associated with the fruit that grows on elm trees. Samara is also a geographical Spanish surname taken from the Zamora province in northwest Spain.

What Is the Origin of the Name Samara?

Samara is linked to Samarra, a location in Iraq, or Samara, which is in Russia. It’s thought to have originated with the biblical city of Samaria, considered the capital of the Kingdom of Israel, founded in the 9th-century BCE. It was named after Shemer, who first owned the hilly land.

Samara is also Arabic and the female equivalent of Samir, meaning “companion in night talk” or “evening conversation.” It was rare as a female name until the late 20th-century and became common in the modern world because of the 2002 horror film “The Ring.” The scary little girl at the bottom of the well in the film is named Samara, making the name more trendy as time passed.

How Popular Is the Name Samara?

Though one of the most ancient names, Samara only debuted on the U.S. naming charts in 1997. It was pretty uncommon until 2003 when a character named Samara appeared in “The Ring” horror film. Samara peaked in 2018 at 256th and more recently ranked 259th in 2023 for girls in the U.S.

How Do I Pronounce Samara?

Samara is pronounced “Suh-MAA-raa” in English.

Is Samara a Boy or Girl Name?

Samara is a girl’s name whose male equivalent is Samar or Samer.

Variations of Samara

Read on for more variations of Samara to fit your little one’s liking:

  • Saimara (Hebrew)
  • Samaira (Hebrew)
  • Samarah (Hebrew)
  • Samari (Hebrew)
  • Samaria (Hebrew)
  • Samariah (Hebrew)
  • Samarie (Hebrew)
  • Samariya (Hebrew)
  • Samarra (Hebrew)
  • Samarrea (Hebrew)
  • Samary (Hebrew)
  • Samera (Hebrew)
  • Sameria (Hebrew)
  • Samira (Arabic)
  • Sammara (Hebrew)
  • Samora (Hebrew)
  • Samra (Arabic)
  • Semara (Hebrew)
  • Shemariah (Hebrew)
  • Smera (Hebrew)

Nicknames for Samara

Find the perfect pet name for your guardian girl:

  • Ara
  • Ari
  • Mar
  • Mara
  • Mari
  • Sam
  • Sammay
  • Sammi
  • Samms
  • Sammy

Similar Names to Samara

Many of these similar names to Samara either begin with “s-” or end in “-a”:

Middle Names for Samara

Samara works well, followed by any of these distinct middle names:

Sibling Names for Samara

Why stop at Samara when you can name her brother or sister one of these fine choices:

Famous People Named Samara

Check out the most famous Samaras the world over:

  • Samara Almeida: Brazilian volleyball player competing at the 2012 FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship.
  • Samara Downs: English ballerina with the Birmingham Royal Ballet.
  • Samara Felippo: Brazilian actress known for the soap opera “Malhação.”
  • Samara Golden: American artist whose work was included in the 2017 Whitney Biennial.
  • Samara Joy: American jazz singer called Best New Artist by JazzTimes.
  • Samara Klar: American political scientist and founder of the Women Also Know Stuff database.
  • Samara Lubelski: American musician with bands including Hall of Fame.
  • Samara Weaving: Australian actress appearing in the TV series “Out of the Blue” (2008).

Samara in Popular Culture

Samara shows up where you’d least suspect it throughout pop culture:

  • Samara Morgan: The female antagonist in the 2002 horror film “The Ring.”
  • Samara: Character from the Mass Effect series of video games.

Samara FAQs

Unearth more facts that surround the ancient girl’s name, Samara.

Is Samara an Arabic Name?

Samara has both Hebrew and Arabic origins, based on the Arabic word “thamara,” which means “benefit” and “gain.” In Arabic, it often appears as Samirah, referring to someone “entertaining” or providing “pleasant company.” It’s associated with Sāmarrā, a location in Iraq whose name was once taken from “Sarre men ra’a.” This phrase means “a joy for all who see” in Arabic.

What Does Samara Mean in the Bible?

In the Hebrew Bible, Samara appears as Samaria. Its definition includes both “watch mountain” and “watch tower.” Samaria was a city located 30 miles north of Jerusalem. Omri, an Israelite ruler in the 9th century BCE, built his capital there. Many famous biblical stories took place in Samaria, such as Jesus’s conversation with a Samaritan woman.

What Is the Male Version of Samara?

Samar is thought of as the closest male variation of Samara. It’s also a Hindi boys’ name that means “manly” in Sanskrit. Samar relates to the Hebrew Shamar, meaning “preservation,” “protection,” and “conservation.” Samer sometimes stands in for the male form of Samara, meaning “evening chat companion.” This mirrors the Arabic definition of Samara as well.

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About the Author

Maryana Vestic

Maryana Vestic is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, and food photographer with a background in entertainment Business Affairs. She studied film at NYU, Irish Theatre Studies at Trinity College Dublin, and has an MFA in Creative Writing Nonfiction from The New School. She loves cooking, baking, hiking, and horror films, as well as running a local baking business in Brooklyn with her boyfriend.