Boy Baby Name


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Quick Facts on Benjamin

  • Gender:
  • Boy
  • Origin:
  • English, Hebrew
  • Number of syllables:
  • 3
  • Ranking popularity:
  • 14
Simple meaning:
Son of the south or Son of my old age

Characteristics of Benjamin

  • Freedom-loving
  • Adventurous
  • Adaptable
  • Intellectual
  • Easygoing
  • Progressive
  • Sensual

Etymology & Historical Origin - Benjamin

Benjamin is a name borne from the Bible; he was the youngest son of Jacob’s 12 boys. His mother was Rachel who died giving birth to him in Genesis 35:18. “And as her soul was departing (for she was dying), she called his name Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin.” The name “benoni” translates to ‘son of my sorrow’ – but his father did not want him to bear such an ill-omened name stemming from his mother’s death, so he called him “Benyamin.” The likely Hebrew translation of Benjamin is ‘son of the south’ since the child was Jacob’s only son born in Canaan, south of Mesopotamia. However, “yamim” is also thought to be a translation of the word ‘years’ in Hebrew, bringing another variant to the name’s meaning as ‘son of my old age’ referring to the fact that Benjamin was Jacob’s last child. Interestingly, in the Middle Ages (5th-15th centuries), the name was often given to boys whose mothers had died in childbirth. Today, it no longer bears such ill-fated associations, and is used widely in America and England, and in Scotland as an anglicized version of the Gaelic “Beathan” which ironically translates to “son of life.”

Popularity of the Name Benjamin

Another very popular boy’s name, Benjamin has always maintained a position on the United States popularity graphs for over a century, averaging within a Top 100 spot. Since the mid-1970’s, Benjamin has enjoyed a place in the Top 30 names for boys; this timing may have something to do with the wildly popular 1967 film “The Graduate” and its leading character Benjamin Braddock (played by Dustin Hoffman). While Biblical in origin, the name Benjamin seems to transcend religion at this point and appears to be a popular choice by Christians, Jews and agnostics alike. There is something about this name that works for everyone. It has endurance without sounding trendy or old-fashioned, and it’s appealing in its many forms. The long and handsome version of Benjamin can easily be shortened to “Benjy” when the child is a youngster and to Ben when he wants to sound more sharp and masculine as an adult. No wonder it’s maintained its popularity!
Popularity of the Boy Name Benjamin
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Benjamin

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Benjamin

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Benjamin

    Benjamin (Animal Farm) Benjamin is the long-lived donkey who refuses to feel inspired by the Rebellion in George Orwell's novel, "Animal Farm" (1945). Of all of the animals on the farm, he alone comprehends the changes that take place, but he seems either unwilling or unable to oppose the pigs. Benjamin firmly believes that life will remain unpleasant no matter who is in charge.

    Benjamin Button ("The Curious Case of Benjamin Button") Benjamin Button is the central character in F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1922 short story titled "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." In the story, Benjamin is born an old man and grows younger as the years persist. A truly memorable and delightful character, Benjamin amuses his reader as the absurdity of his situation unfolds. Even life in the reverse has the same challenges as it does forward!

    Benjamin Compson (The Sound and the Fury) Benjamin (Benjy) Compson is a memorable character from Nobel Prize winning novelist William Faulkner's "The Sound and the Fury" (1929). The novel opens from Benjy's point of view in a stream-of-consciousness narrative. Despite being speechless and mentally-challenged, he is also the only one "smart" enough to see the progressive decline of the Compson family. His acute sensitivity to order and chaos allows him to sense the presence of anything bad, wrong, or out of place despite him lacking immediate physicality. His only form of communication is to moan and cry, so he's symbolic of the impotence around him.

    MacBeth (MacBeth) MacBeth is most famous as the central character in William Shakespeare's great play of the same name (written circa 1605). In truth, MacBeth was a real man, and King of Scotland between 1040 and 1057. In Gaelic, MacBeth translates into "son of Beathan" which means "son of life." The name "Beathan" was eventually anglicized into Benjamin in Scotland.

  • Popular Songs on Benjamin

    Popular Songs on Benjamin

    Benjamin - an instrumental by YoYoMa

    Benjamin - a song by Veruca Salt

    Benjamin Calypso - a song by Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

    It's All About the Benjamins - a rap by Puff Daddy

    The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg - a song by Iron Maiden

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Benjamin

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Benjamin

    Advent Storybook (North South) - Benjamin Bear is so impatient for Christmas to come. To help the time pass more quickly, his mother tells him that every day when he opens a door on his Advent calendar she'll tell him a story—twenty-four stories all about another little bear and his long, arduous journey to Bethlehem. The little bear, led by a glittering star, meets many others on his travels across hot deserts, snowy mountains, and through dark, lonely nights. His adventures, filled with acts of heroism and kindness and many small miracles, show him the path to the Christ Child. And by journey's end Benjamin Bear—and all youngsters who share the stories and their simple morals along with him—will understand and celebrate the true spirit of Christmas. Recommended ages 4-8.

    Dear Benjamin Banneker (Andrea Pinkney) - Benjamin Banneker was born free when most blacks in this country were still enslaved. But it troubled him that not all blacks were free. An accomplished astronomer and mathematician, he decided to take a stand against slavery by writing to then-Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson. This is the story of their extraordinary correspondence. Recommended for ages 6-8.

    What Are You Figuring Now? (Jeri Feris) - A biography of Benjamin Banneker, the Afro-American farmer and self-taught mathematician, astronomer, and surveyor for the new capital city of the United States in 1791, who also calculated a successful almanac notable for its preciseness. Recommended for ages 7-10.

  • Famous People Named Benjamin

    Famous People Named Benjamin

    Famous People Named Benjamin - Benjamin Franklin (inventor, founding father); Benjamin Harrison (U.S. President); Benjamin Bratt (actor); Benjamin Disraeli (UK Prime Minister); Benjamin Spock (pediatrician/author); Benjamin Karl (Olympic snowboarder); Benjamin Netanyahu (Israeli Prime Minister); Benjamin Bernake (Chairman of the Fed/economist); Ben Affleck (actor)

  • Children of Famous People Named Benjamin

    Children of Famous People Named Benjamin

    Famous People who Named their Son Benjamin - Alison Sweeney (actress); Annette Bening (actress); Carly Simon (musician); Dan Quayle (politician); Franklin Pierce (U.S. President); Harrison Ford (actor); John Travolta (actor); Kelly Preston (actress); Lisa Marie Presley (musician); Lynn Redgrave (actress); Neil Young (musician); Olivia de Havilland (actress); Richard Dreyfuss (actor); Warren Beatty (actor); William Harrison (U.S. President); James Taylor (musician); Mitt Romney (politician); Jerry Stiller (comic/actor)

  • Historic Figures

    Benjamin - Boy Baby Name - Historic Figures

    Benjamin Disraeli (21 Dec 1804 - 19 Apr1881) - Benjamin Disraeli served as the United Kingdom's Prime Minister during two separate terms in the latter half of the 1800's. Disraeli is best known for being England's first and only Jewish prime minister (although he was baptized in the Anglican Church when he was 12). This oft-quoted, colorful man was known as a brilliant debater. His terms as PM were marked by bringing India and the Suez Canal under control of the crown. In return, the Queen gave him the title of Earl of Beaconfield. Once, in a heated debate in parliament, an adversary referred to Disraeli's Jewish ancestry in disparaging terms to which Disraeli responded: "Yes, I am a Jew and when the ancestors of the right honourable gentleman were brutal savages in an unknown island, mine were priests in the temple of Solomon."

    Benjamin Franklin (17 Jan 1706 - 17 Apr 1790) - One of the most celebrated American figures, Benjamin Franklin was a jack of all trades. He is the essence of what it means to be an American. A printer. A publisher. A scientist. An inventor. A postmaster. A legislator. A diplomat. A social activist. A Founding Father. Even with only a 5th grade education, he pulled himself up by the bootstraps and became a celebrated, intelligent, wealthy and important figure even in his own time. The man embodies the American ideals. He led both an ambitious life and a virtuous one. Benjamin Franklin was also one of the earliest abolitionists and a protector of Native American rights. His life alone is the most profound statement of what an American strives to be.

    Benjamin from the Bible - Benjamin was the last born of Jacob’s children (Israel's twelve tribes), and the second and last born to Rachel (who died giving birth to him). He is known as a righteous youngster and the one brother who did not plot against Joseph. Benjamin's descendants formed the tribe of Benjamin, the Benjamites, which was the second smallest and the ones who received the smallest of the allotments of the Tribal Lands after entering the Promised Land. It is interesting to note that Saul, the first human king of the Israelites, was a Benjamite. Many years after the northern kingdom was conquered, Judah and Benjamin were conquered by the Babylonians, but they did return after the Babylonians fell to the Persians. It is said that Judah and Benjamin form the Jewish people of today.

    Benjamin Harrison (20 Aug 1833 - 13 Mar 1901) - Benjamin Harrison was the 23rd President of the United States. A Republican, he served between 1889 and 1893. He won the presidency through the electoral vote (Grover Cleveland had won the popular vote). Known as the "money president," Harrison is most remembered for enacting the McKinley Tariff which intended to protect the American worker and corporations by levying a high tax on foreign imports. This backfired, as consumer goods skyrocketed when foreign countries refused to export goods to the U.S. and American companies formed monopolies. The voters rebelled, and Harrison was a one-term president. A Civil War veteran himself, Harrison also instituted a Pension for vets that nearly bankrupted the country. Harrison was also the grandson of the 9th U.S. President, William Henry Harrison. While not considered one of the more distinguished Presidents, historians are taking a second look. Particularly at Benjamin Harrison's foreign policies and his fearlessness and activism in international affairs that ultimately would inspire Theodore Roosevelt.

    Saint Benjamin (5th Century) - St. Benjamin was a Christian Martyr who lived in Persia around the year 420 A.D. during a forty-year period when Christians were heavily persecuted and submitted to the cruelest tortures. Among those who suffered was St. Benjamin, a Deacon, who had been imprisoned a year for his Faith. At the end of this period, an ambassador of the Emperor of Constantinople obtained his release on the stipulation that he would never preach about religion. Of course, this did not stop Benjamin. He declared that it was his duty to preach Christ and that he could not be silent. He was again apprehended and sentenced to death in the most terrible agony. St. Benjamin’s feast day is March 31, and he is known as the patron saint of preachers.

Personality of the Boy Name Benjamin

The number Five personality loves the excitement of life and can easily adapt to all situations. As natural adventurers, these personalities thrive on the new and unexpected and prefer to be in constant motion. It makes them feel alive. They'll stir up some action if there's not enough around, and as inherent risk-takers they enjoy pushing the envelope. Naturally rebellious, the Five personality has no fear and never resists change.  Traveling and new experiences feed their souls. Fives are very social and attract friends with ease. People love to be around the Five fun-loving and exciting energy.  This is also a lucky number in numerology (like the Threes), so fortune seems to shine on them, helped along by their own optimism and good-nature. Fives have a quick wit, a cerebral mind, and are generally very persuasive. 

Variations of the Baby Name - Benjamin

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