Facts and Meaning of the Name Elijah

An Old Biblical Name Gets New Life with Millennial Parents

Portrait of parents with baby son (2-5 months)
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Elijah is a very old name that's been revived among parents for about the past ten years or so as a pick for baby boys. It's an ancient Hebrew name meaning, "My God is Yahweh." In the Old Testament, the prophet Elijah was a messenger of God during the reign of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. Like Enoch, Elijah never experienced a physical death, but was carried to heaven on a fiery chariot.

During the Middle Ages, the name Elijah came in to common usage, but had waned by the 16th century.

Following the Protestant Reformation, the Puritans revived the name.

Popularity of Elijah: One Name to Rule them All?

For more than 130 years, Elijah has ranked within the top 1000 baby names every year, but nowhere near as high as it has in the past decade. By 2001, Elijah cracked the Top 50 Names, and while he hasn't hit the top 10 yet, he's made repeat appearances in the top 20 since 2008.

The resurgence in popularity coincides with the release of the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, whose protagonist, a Hobbit named Frodo, was played by actor Elijah Wood.

Though the name Elijah has consistently made the name charts year after year, it has only been in recent years that the name had a significant popularity. Because of that it does not appear on the Top 100 Names of the Past Century.

Pronunciation of Elijah:

Elijah is a three-syllable name with emphasis on the second syllable. It can be pronounced two ways: i-LIE-jə or i-LIE-zhə.

Middle Names for Elijah

It's a formidable name that begins and ends with vowel sounds, so picking a middle name for Elijah could be a little tricky. Elijah Daniel, Elijah William, Elijah Robert and Elijah Paul could be good pairings, depending on the last name.

Sibling names for Elijah

Since it has such a strong religious identity, many parents will want to choose a similarly-themed name for Elijah's brother or sister.

For girls, Rachel, Elizabeth and Chloe might be good picks. Noah, Caleb, Ethan and Gabriel would be good matches for Elijah's brother.

Famous People Named Elijah

There are a few well-known celebrities who bear the name Elijah. Most notably, at least in recent popular culture is actor Elijah Wood, who besides bringing the One Ring back to Mordor, has appeared in films including Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Good Son.

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