Meaningful Roots

Ever wanted to have a name with meaning? How about a name that was rooted in another language? What if the language you wanted to use had it’s own alphabet and you couldn’t read it?

Perhaps I can help you.

I enjoy creating names with meanings. Especially when I can use pre-created words as inspiration (just ask my friends, I use their names for inspiration all the time). My best bud in the naming process has to be Google Translate. All you got to do is pick the language you want to use as a root and your naming. But sometimes…I want to use a language that I don’t understand (like Hebrew, Greek, or Russian). Normally, I’ll just sigh and pick another language. But if I have the time and persistence, I have an easy process to “translate.”

I say “translate” because I don’t know for sure if I’m making the right word come out on the other end and I usually mangle that word anyways. So, just to be clear: I’m not going to tell you have to correctly read any of these languages. What I will tell you is how I translate Hebrew, Greek and Russian into my own names with meaning.



Hebrew Text

Alright. The first language I’ll be working with is Hebrew; a beautiful language (as most are). To explain this process, I’ll use three (3) words:





Now. If you type these words into Google Translate on different lines you get a different result than if you were to type then all on one line, like so:

Beautiful Sad Girl

Since I’m going to make one long (or short, we’ll see. I’m making this as I go) word I’m going to type in all three (3) word onto one line. this is what I get:

ילדה | עצובה | יפה

One thing to remember with Hebrew, is that it’s read from right-to-left (not like English that read from left-to-right). You can choose to ignore this and translate your word from left-to-right. I’ve made words both ways.

The next thing you’ll need, that I use, is a list of Hebrew letters and their sounds/English counterparts. Wiki How has a Great Article on Hebrew letters (along with a pronunciation video if you care to watch). The easiest way to find and translate your letters is to “Find” within your browser. I’m not all the short cuts, but “CTRL + F” is the short cut for Google Chrome. Go letter by letter as you translate and write down the English letter in another document.

Here’s my word set from right-to-left:

yld | ngzzvvh | yph

Here’s my word set from left-to-right:

hpy | hvvzzng | dly

Both are somewhat unreadable, but I’ll soon fix that. From here I use my imagination to discover what these words sound like. Here are a few mixes of each set:

1st set (right-to-left)

Aldegizz, Vaheph, Elizz, Aphah, Izzeld, Gizz’vah, Neg’z, Eldaph, Yavah, Zivah, Vahizz

2nd set (left-to-right)

Paehav, Zing, Vazz, D’lay, H’ving, Uazz, Zalay, Dizzav, H’hav

There we go. Now I have a few words that mean “Beautiful Sad Girl” and are ready to be used in a story. I just want to note, I got more useful names out of correctly “reading” the Hebrew words.



Greek Text

Now we get to move onto Greek, yet another well known language (well known as in a lot of people are familiar with it’s letters, but now with how to read it).  Like Hebrew, I’m going to give Google Translate one line of three (3) words:


I am free

There we go and now for the words in Greek…

Είμαι Ελεύθερος

Okay. In the past, I’ve used the actual Wikipedia article on Greek Letters and it’s worked very well for me. So, a quick “find and match” on the Wiki article and I’m in business.

Eimai Eleitheoos

Isn’t that pretty? By simply “translating” this set of words I’ve got pronounceable name. But, I want to make sure this name is unrecognizable. So! let’s mix things up a bit…

Emai, Eleith, Theos, Meithos, Eithes, Iamie, Thile, Sooeth

See, that’s was easy!



Russian Text

Russian! That’s right. The final language I’m going to cover. This should be nice and quick just like Greek. Here we go with just one word this time:


Here it is in Russian:


I used the Wikipedia page on the Russian Alphabet to get my translation:


Another nice, simple word. Let’s send it through the mixer:

Anya, Enal, Eyna, Anyal, Nalya, Anel

Great! More names to be put to use.


Well now, see how simple it really is? Once you have the resources at your disposal? And look how fast it slimmed down into a quick and easy process! Now you can make your own meaningful and rooted words.

~ by R.S.Sharkey on March 21, 2011.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *