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Silas Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

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

Silas Overview

  • Meaning: Silas means “of the forest.”
  • Gender: Silas is a traditionally male name.
  • Origin: Silas is biblical in origin.
  • Pronunciation: Silas is pronounced as “Sigh-Lass.”
  • Popularity: As of 2020 Silas is the most popular it has ever been in the US, ranking in the top 100 of baby boy names.
  • Nicknames: Silas’ nicknames include Si, Cye, and Sil.
  • Variations: Variants of Silas include, Sylas, Silvain, Saul, and Silvano.
  • Namesakes: Silas Weir Mitchell, an actor, and Silas House, a writer, among others.

What Does Silas Mean?

Silas can loosely be translated to “of the forest,” “god of trees,” or simply “wood forest.” It is likely derived from the older name Silvanus which comes from Roman pagan traditions.

Silas has been in use in its current form since the 16th century. The Puritan community would give their children names of lesser-known Biblical figures as an act of humility. So, if you’re looking for a strong name with historical significance Silas fits the bill.

What is the Origin of the Name Silas?

Silas is biblical in origin, though this version of the name is likely derived from the name of the Roman god Silvanus.

Silvanus was the god of the forest and countryside in the Roman religion. He’s similar to the more popular Faunus, the god of animals, with whom he is sometimes merged (1).

The two names are used interchangeably in the bible. But, it’s the shorter Silas which has remained in more popular use. In the New Testament Silas is an early Christian disciple. He accompanied Paul the apostle on one of his missionary journeys.

How Popular is the Name Silas?

Silas has been increasing in popularity, at least in the English-speaking world. As of 2020, it ranked in the top 100 most popular baby names for boys in the USA, this is according to the SSA (2).

In Germany and Switzerland, it ranked in the top 200 most popular names. This means Silas is growing in popularity worldwide. As a name, Silas is probably the most popular it’s been since the late 1800s.

How Do I Pronounce Silas?

Silas is pronounced as Sigh-Less or Si-Lass. The emphasis on the first or last syllable may change with regional accents. There aren’t a lot of ways to mess this up. Your child will appreciate always being called by the correct name.

Is Silas a Boy or Girl Name?

Silas is most commonly a name given to boys. Of course, you can choose any name you want for your child. If you name your baby girl Silas chances are she’ll be the only one in her class, or entire town, with this name making her truly unique.

Variations of Silas

Though it’s been used as a baby name for about 400 years there aren’t too many versions of the name Silas. There are slight variants of the name Silas depending on the country and the language spoken there.

  • Danish: Silas
  • Dutch: Silas
  • English: Silas, Sylas Si, Sy
  • French: Sylvain
  • German: Silas, Silvan
  • Hebrew: Saul
  • Italian: Silvano

Nicknames for Silas

It’s likely that Silas itself started out as a Greek-Roman nickname for Silvanus. Given that it’s already short there aren’t many common nicknames for Silas. However, you will sometimes see it shortened with slight spelling variations:

  • Si
  • Cy
  • Cye
  • Sy
  • Sye

All of these nicknames are pronounced “sigh.”

Similar Names to Silas

If you’re looking for a name like Silas, there are names that sound and feel similar to Silas. People looking for names like Silas tended to view other biblical names or those popular during the Victorian era.

Middle Names for Silas

Silas is an old-school biblical name. If you want to keep that trend going here are some middle names that pair well with Silas.

Sibling Names for Silas

Set on the name Silas? Planning on having more children? The following names pair well with Silas and will bring a charming quality to your family tree.

For Silas’ brother:

For Silas’ sister:

Famous People Named Silas

Though the name has only recently regained popularity, there have been famous people named Silas throughout history.

  • Silas Weir Mitchell: American actor, known for starring as Charles “Haywire” Patoshik in the Fox television series “Prison Break.”
  • Silas Katompa Mvumpa: Known simply as Silas and formerly as Silas Wamangituka Fundu, is a Congolese professional footballer who plays as a forward for the Bundesliga club VfB Stuttgart.
  • Silas Dwane House: American writer, music journalist, and columnist.
  • Silas Wright: American politician, 14th governor of New York.
  • Silas Randall Timberlake: The son of celebrity couple Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel.

Silas in Popular Culture

Silas has only been a bit more popular in popular culture than in real life. Though, of course, with the name making a comeback, this list will likely grow.

  • Silas Botwin: Nancy’s son on TV’s “Weeds.”
  • Silas: Character in Dan Brown’s book “The Da Vinci Code,” portrayed by Paul Bettany in the film version.
  • Silas Adams: Played by Titus Welliver in the HBO series, “Deadwood.”
  • Silas Sugwash: Character in Jenny Nimmo’s “The Children of the Red King” series.
  • Silas Phelps: Uncle to Tom Sawyer in “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” by Mark Twain.

Silas FAQs

Here are some other questions and answers regarding the name Silas.

How Old Is the Name Silas?

Silas became commonly used as a baby name by the Puritans in the 16th century (during Protestant Reformation). The name itself is older and appears in the bible interchangeably with the name Silvanus.

What Is Silas in Hebrew?

Silas is a New Testament name. But, it may be related to the Hebrew Old Testament name Saul which directly translates to “the youngest.”

What Does Silas Mean Spiritually?

Silas is older than the bible and derives from the name Silvanus- the Roman god of the trees and country. The name is related to nature and means “of the wood.”

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