Quick Facts on Deborah
- Number of syllables:
- Ranking popularity:
DEB-ə-rə or DEB-rə
Characteristics of Deborah
Etymology & Historical Origin - Deborah
Deborah is a Hebrew name from “Dvora” meaning “bee”. The name shows up twice in the Bible and is borne by two different women. In Genesis, Deborah is the nurse who accompanies Rebecca on her journey to marry Isaac. She later died under an oak tree which Jacob called “Allon-bacuth” or “weeping oak”. More prominent, however, is the Deborah from Judges 4-5. Not only was she considered a Major Judge (along with Ehud, Gideon, Jephthah and Sansom), but she was also a prophetess and military warrior who led the Israelites to victory over the Canaanites. She called upon Barak in the name of God to amass 10,000 troops and go to battle with Sisera, the military commander of the Canaanite army. Barak says he will go, but only if Deborah goes, too. How can you blame him? After all, she’s the Queen “Bee”, right? Leave it to a woman to do a man’s job, and that’s precisely how it all goes down. In fact, Deborah even prophesizes to Barak that the delivery of Israel this time will come from the hand of a woman (that women is Jael). After the Israeli army defeats the Canaanites, their commander Sisera flees and finds refuge in the tent of a woman named Jael. Or so he thinks. While he is at rest, Jael drives a tent-peg into his temple, crushing his skull and killing him. Judges 5 is known as “The Song of Deborah” and poetically recounts the event, all the while praising the woman known as Jael. This time it’s a woman unabashedly subjugating a man, and so the Biblical story of Deborah is a favorite among feminists. Of course, Deborah has also been a favorite name among Jews. The Puritans like the story, too, and adopted the name as a symbol of industriousness.
Popularity of the Name Deborah
The Puritans are responsible for bringing the name to America during the time of colonization, although Deborah has long been a favorite among Jewish people. By the late 1800s and at the turn of the 20th century, Deborah was a name used only very lightly. In fact, during the 19-teens and 20s, it appeared as if she even might fall off the naming charts altogether. By the 1930s, however, Deborah was showing upwards momentum on the charts. In 1947 the name became a Top 100 choice for girls in America. Not content to stop there, Deborah kept soaring to the top of the charts. In 1955 Deborah was the second most popular girl’s name in the United States – at the same time, the more modern Debra came in 4th place. Over 100,000 baby girls were given this name in total making her one of the most successful names ever – even if her glory days were brief. Yes, Deborah was at the height of fashion in the 1950s and 60s, but by the 1970s, her course was showing clear reversal in popularity. By the time we reached the 1990s, Deborah was in a total free-fall down the charts and today the name is barely bestowed upon 350 baby girls. Imagine that! There are a lot of 50 and 60 year olds running around the United States with this name, but you won’t find it very common in the kindergarten classrooms of today. Like Barbara, Patricia or Linda, Deborah just screams the 1950s. Debra or Devorah are nice alternatives to consider (neither show up on the naming charts anymore, so they’re safely underused). Nicknames and diminutives are: Debi, Debby, Debbie, Debbi, and Deb. Although this name is widely held as out-dated and middle-aged, we love the strong woman association from the Bible. Apropos, Deborah is number Eight in numerology – the tough and powerful number. Would you consider this name for your little queen “bee”?
Popularity of the Girl Name Deborah
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Deborah
Literary Characters of the Baby Name Deborah
Deborah Owens (The Secret Life of Bees) Deborah Owens is the deceased mother of the narrator Lily Owens in Sue Monk Kidd’s 2002 acclaimed historical novel “The Secret Life of Bees”. Lily is a fourteen-year-old white girl in 1964, searching for her identity through her dead mother's past. Tormented by her abusive father, the family’s black maid, Rosaleen, acts as a surrogate mother to Lily. The novel is set in the South during a time of civil unrest, and when Rosaleen goes to vote, she is attacked and jailed. Lily frees her beloved nanny and the two escape their miseries in search for a new life. They are eventually taken in by three vibrant black sisters who also happen to be beekeepers in Tiburon, South Carolina. It is there through the healing power of women, along with the symbol of the Black Madonna and the spirit of her mother Deborah, amidst the gentle hum of the bees that Lily comes of age. It’s by no accident, we’re sure, that the author chose Deborah (which means “bee”) for the name of Lily’s mother.
Popular Songs on Deborah
Debbie - a song by The B-52's
Debbie Denise - a song by Blue Oyster Cult
Deborah - a song by Dave Edmunds
Debra - a song by Beck
Debra Jean - a song by the Queers
Not About Debra - a song by Lucky Boys Confusion [explicit]
Children's Books on the Baby Name Deborah
The Secret Soldier: The Story of Deborah Sampson (Ann McGovern) - When "Robert Shurtliff" enlists as a common soldier in the Continental army, no one suspects there is anything unusual about him. The new soldier serves bravely for a year and a half. It is not until he is hospitalized with fever that his secret is discovered. Private Shurtliff is really a woman - 23 year-old Deborah Sampson! Because her mother was too poor to take care of her, Deborah had been sent away from home at an early age. For ten years, she was a servant for the Deacon Thomas family in the Massachusetts Bay Colony town of Middle borough, looking after four growing children and doing chores. Deborah was too busy even to go to school. Besides, in the late 1700's people didn't think schooling was important for girls - girls couldn't even learn a trade as men could. Deborah longs for a life of her own. When she leaves the Thomas family at the age of eighteen, she is not ready to settle down and get married. She wants to see a bit of the world first - to travel to big cities like Boston, Philadelphia, and New York. If she were a man, she could find adventure by joining the army...How Deborah keeps her identity a secret during long, exhausting marches and bloody raids against the Tories, and how her bravery brings the admiration of her fellow soldiers, her commanding general, and finally her county, makes exciting, suspenseful reading. Recommended for ages 9-12.
Famous People Named Deborah
Famous People Named Deborah - Deborah “Debbie” Harry (musician); Deborah Kerr (actress); Deborah Voigt (opera singer); Debbie Reynolds (actress/entertainer); Debra Winger (actress); Debra Messing (actress); Debbie Gibson (singer); Debbie Armstrong (Olympian); Deborah Norville (TV news personality)
Children of Famous People Named Deborah
Famous People Who Named Their Daughter Deborah/Debra - Don King (boxing promoter); Joan Fontaine (actress); Pat Boone (singer); Roger Moore (actor); Roy Rogers and Dale Evens (actor); Howard Stern (radio personality)
Deborah - Girl Baby Name - Historic Figures
Deborah Sampson Gannett (17 Dec 1760 – 29 Apr 1827) - Deborah Samson goes down in the books of American history, and in quite a remarkable way. Born in Massachusetts in the middle of the 18th century, Deborah was the eldest of six children born to a poor family. When he father died in an apparent drowning, her mother and siblings were forced into indentured servitude. At the age of 18, Deborah was released from her duties and became a school teacher refusing the suggestion that she marry. Being a wife and mother was pretty much all a woman could hope for back then, but Deborah wanted more out of life. In 1782 the Revolutionary War was still raging and at the age of 21, Samson enlisted in the army. Since women were not allowed to enlist, she saw no other choice but to disguise herself as a man (“Robert Shurtleff”). She fought in battle on behalf of the Continental army for nearly a year and a half all the while keeping her identity a secret from her fellow soldiers. Her true gender was discovered by a doctor after she was wounded in battle and developed a fever (he saw her banded breasts under her clothes). Still, Deborah was honorably discharged at West Point and is considered a true hero today. Just like Deborah from the Bible, this Deborah was not afraid of war!
Personality of the Girl Name Deborah
The number Eight personality has everything to do with power, wealth and abundance. Somehow, this personality has been blessed on the material plane, but their authoritative and problem-solving traits provide evidence that their good fortunes are not just the luck of the lottery. They are well earned. This is the personality of CEOs and high-ranking military personnel. Eights are intensely active, hard-driving individuals. Success is only meaningful to them after a job well-done. They are remarkable in their ability to see the larger picture right down to the smallest details, and organize a strategy around success. They then have the ability to direct a group around them toward any goal, and realize individual potential to get the most out of their team.
Variations of the Baby Name - Deborah