- Meaning: Zion means “highest point” in Hebrew.
- Gender: Zion is a unisex name but is much more popular among boys than girls.
- Origin: Zion originates from the Hebrew word “ṣiyôn,” referring to the city now known as Jerusalem.
- Pronunciation: Zion is most commonly pronounced, “ZEYE-aan.”
- Popularity: Zion is a popular name among boys and a somewhat popular name among girls. In the United States, it ranked 144th for boys in 2020 and 926th for girls in 2017.
- Nicknames: Ion, Mount Zion, Sion, Zee, Zy.
- Variations: Sion, Zeon, Zionne, Zyon, Zyonne.
- Namesakes: Zion Johnson (American NFL player), Zion Williamson (American basketball player), Zion Wright (American skateboarder).
What Does Zion Mean?
Zion is a Hebrew boy’s name that means “highest point” or “holy place.” Zion represents someone holy, wise, and focused, as Mount Zion was home to the king’s palace and temple.
Mount Zion was a title given to three different mountainous locations near Jerusalem (1). At first, the name was given to a hill to the south-east of Jerusalem, then to the hill of the First Temple to the north-east of Jerusalem. Today, “Mount Zion” refers to the largest, west-most hill of Jerusalem.
What Is the Origin of the Name Zion?
The name Zion has biblical origins. In the Hebrew Bible, Zion was another name for the city of Jerusalem (2).
Originally spelled “ṣiyôn,” the true origin of the name Zion is unknown. Its first usage was in the Book of Samuel, in which King David conquered a Canaanite city. The Canaanites called the city Jebus before King David renamed it, “Zion.”
Some scholars have suggested Zion derives from the Hebrew root words “ṣiyyôn” and “ṣiyya,” meaning “castle” and “desert” respectively. It may also connect to the Arabic word “ṣuhhay,” meaning “the top of the mountain.”
Since its mysterious origins, Zion has been the root of many words across many languages. One notable usage is Zionism, a political movement that originated in the 19th Century.
How Popular Is the Name Zion?
In the United States, Zion is a popular first name for boys but is only somewhat popular for girls.
According to the Social Security Administration, Zion entered the top 1000 boys’ names in 1998 and became the 300th most popular name for boys by 2000 (3). Zion’s popularity gradually rose until reaching the 144th place in 2020.
For girls, Zion peaked in popularity in 2007 as the 575th most popular girls’ name in the United States. Zion dropped to the 926th place by 2017. At present, Zion has not since returned to the top 1000 girls’ names.
Zion is also a popular boy’s name in the United Kingdom, though its popularity there is more recent. Zion was the 950th most popular boy’s name in the UK in 2002 but rose to 192nd by 2020.
How Do I Pronounce Zion?
The name Zion is pronounced, “ZEYE-aan.” Zion is not pronounced like “lion,” but instead sounds like the words “tie on.”
Is Zion a Boy or Girl Name?
Zion is a unisex name, perfectly acceptable for any gender. At present, Zion is significantly more popular as a boy’s name than as a girl’s name.
Variations of Zion
Being thousands of years old, Zion has acquired numerous variations from its Hebrew origins:
- Sion (Welsh)
- Zeon (Hebrew)
- Zionne (Hebrew)
- Zyon (Hebrew)
- Zyonne (Hebrew)
Nicknames for Zion
Though it’s a fun name to say on its own, here are some nicknames for Zion you’re sure to love:
- Mount Zion
Similar Names to Zion
If Zion is not the name you’re looking for, here are a few notably similar names:
Middle Names for Zion
You may already have a middle name in mind for your newborn. In case you don’t, here are some middle names that go great with Zion:
Sibling Names for Zion
Zion is a unique and beautiful baby name that’s sure to go great with any sibling name. Regardless, here are a few names we think go particularly well with Zion:
For a brother:
For a sister:
Famous People Named Zion
Though it’s certainly not the most popular name, plenty of people named Zion have given this name a positive association. Here are some of the most notable Zions in recent history:
- Zion Golan: Israeli singer and songwriter; best known for his songs “Imloch, Mizmor LeDavid” and “Lelo Mila.”
- Zion Johnson: American football player for the Boston College Eagles and Davidson Wildcats; named first-team All-American in 2021.
- Zion Kuownu: Canadian singer; member of boy band PrettyMuch, formed by Simon Cowell.
- Zion Levy: Israeli religious leader; Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Panama from 1951 until 2008.
- Zion Lights: British-Indian activist and author; founder of the British newspaper “The Hourglass.”
- Zion Tzemah: Israeli football/soccer player for Hapoel Ashkelon.
- Zion Williamson: American basketball player for the New Orleans Pelicans.
- Zion Wright: American skateboarder; member of the USA Skateboarding Team since 2019.
Zion in Popular Culture
While many famous people have been named Zion, it has not had as extensive a presence in popular culture. Some of the prominent examples include:
- Shion/Zion: Character in the manga series “Ginga: The Last Wars.”
- Zion: Last human city in the film franchise “The Matrix.”
- Zion: Character in the French-Israeli film “Zion and His Brother.”
- Zion Kujou: Character in the manga “Tough.”
Below are some of the most common questions about the name Zion.