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 as a top pick for baby boys. It's an ancient Hebrew name meaning, "My God is Yahweh."

Biblical Namesake of Elijah

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. In the New Testament, he appears to Jesus during the Transfiguration, along with Moses.

During the Middle Ages, the name Elijah came into 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 now climbed. By 2001, Elijah cracked the top 50 names. It reached the top 20 in 2010, and the top 10 by 2016.

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 in the Top 100 Names of the Past Century.

What lies ahead for boys named Elijah? You can expect plenty of others on the playground and in the classroom. You may have to think about initials and other nicknames to tell your little Elijah apart from all of the other Elijahs of about the same age.

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.

Nicknames for Elijah

Eli is the most common nickname for Elijah, although Lij is also heard at times. It's common to team initials, either with the middle name or last name, such as EJ for an Elijah Joseph or an Elijah Johnson. The name can be made feminine as Ellie or Elisha.

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, but 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.

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