The Meaning of the Hebrew Name Safrir

Meir Bar-Ilan

In modern Hebrew we have the name Safrir for a male, Safrira for a female and Safriri as a family name.

The origin of the name is Aramaic where Safriri stands for demons like Shabriri. However, in modern times (at least from Bialik onward) Safriri were understood as the morning breeze and the demonic meaning was not known. This in turn made possible for the use of the name later on.

It is argued that the origin of the name is onomatopiatic, and Saf-rir resembles the sounds of birds or some annoying insects (and may be figurative demons). The Hebrew Sip-por (a bird) probably comes too from onomatopia origin (sif-or), such as Zar-zir in biblical Hebrew or the modern (Latin!) Cuculus and other (exotic) animals.

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last updated: January 25, 1996 - January 2003