Girl Baby Name


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Quick Facts on Rebecca

  • Gender:
  • Girl
  • Origin:
  • English, Hebrew
  • Number of syllables:
  • 3
  • Ranking popularity:
  • 178
Simple meaning:

Characteristics of Rebecca

  • Independent
  • Individualistic
  • Ambitious
  • Strong-willed
  • Inventive
  • Successful

Etymology & Historical Origin - Rebecca

The name Rebecca is borne from the Bible as the wife of Isaac and the mother of Jacob and Esau. As such, she is a prominent matriarchal figure in the future tribes of Israel and thus a favorite name among Jewish people (like Sarah and Rachel). The etymology of the name is debated. The Hebrew name “Rivka” possibly means ‘to snare, bind, trap’ but is also said to mean ‘captivating’ (we like this meaning best). Some etymologists believe the name is of Aramaic origin (an ancestral language of Arabic) meaning ‘soil, earth.’ In Genesis, Abraham does not want Isaac to marry a local Canaanite woman so he sends his servant to find a wife in his own ancestral land of Haran in upper Mesopotamia. The servant is skeptical at the prospect of success, doubtful that a woman will follow him back to Canaan, but Abraham assures him God will assist in this endeavor but if the woman does not follow the servant back of her own accord, then Abraham absolves him of all responsibility. Upon arrival in the city of Nahor in Mesopotamia, the servant beholds Rebekah: “The young woman was very attractive in appearance, a maiden whom no man had known.” [Genesis 24:16]. Rebecca graciously offers the servant water for himself and his camels, thus fulfilling his prayer to the Lord indicating that she must be the one. After negotiations with her family and the offering of gifts, it comes down to Rebecca’s decision to follow the servant back to Canaan to marry Isaac. Her words are simple: “I will go.” So she’s not exactly ‘snared and trapped’ as one of the etymological origins might suggest; quite the contrary. The name’s other possible meaning (i.e., ‘captivating’) makes more sense for this beautiful, compassionate and kind young maiden. Given the name’s Biblical origins in the Old Testament, it’s always been a common Jewish name; however, it’s been used by Christians in the English speaking world since the 14th century. The name’s popularity grew during the Reformation and the Puritans picked it up in the 17th century and would eventually bring the name to America.

Popularity of the Name Rebecca

Rebecca has been an American staple since the time of the colonies. The name has held high positions on the U.S. popularity graphs since the government began tracking naming trends back in 1880. If there’s ever a moderate downturn for the name, it came in the teens and 20s in the early part of the 20th century. In 1940, Rebecca hits the Top 100 list of most favored girls’ names, and it’s been a Top 50 favorite for fifty long years. The 1970s showed the highest usage of the name Rebecca during which time it averaged as the 15th most popular girl’s name in America. The name maintained a Top 25 ranking pretty much through the 80s and 90s, but by the turn of the 21st century, the name starts to show signs of decline. In 2007, Rebecca falls off the Top 100 list for the first time in almost 70 years. This is a name that defies fashionable trends, so we expect to see it bounce back eventually. With its Biblical roots, its classic sound, and its timeless endurance, Rebecca is a risk-free choice. We think this name is just as captivating as the girl who owns it.
Popularity of the Girl Name Rebecca
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Rebecca

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Rebecca

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Rebecca

    Becky (A Little Princess) Becky is the scullery maid in Frances Hodgson Burnett’s 1905 children’s book, A Little Princess. The title refers to seven year old Sara Crewe, a child at Miss Minchin’s boarding school in London, whose wealthy father dies abroad while she is there, and she is turned from a schoolgirl into a servant, sharing quarters with Becky. Becky proves to be a true friend to Sara, helping her to accept the restrictions of her lowered circumstances. As Sara has never been condescending to the servant girl, so Becky responds in kind. Now that Sara is poor, the only thing that Becky wishes to do for her is to be her servant. In time-honored tradition, Sara’s wealth is restored and having grown older, she takes Becky away with her to a just reward.

    Becky Sharp (Vanity Fair) Becky Sharp is the incomparable young woman in Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray’s satire of 1847/8, who willingly plays up the contrast between herself and Amelia Sedley, the good young heroine of the piece. She is a witty, cunning, sly, conniving, cheating, faithless, manipulative, amoral social climber. In other words, she is completely memorable! She shamelessly flirts, marries secretly, has affairs, has a child but neglects him, and in general, roundly shocks society. Her come-uppance? A healthy retirement, funded by her wealthy (albeit neglected) son, in which she is free to do charitable work. Let it be said in her favor, however, that she was said to be often unimpressed and bored with the fruits of her social ambition. We should all be so lucky.

    Becky Thatcher (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer) Speaking of Mark Twain, Becky Thatcher is his creation out of the pages of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, published in 1876. She is the daughter of the wealthy Judge Thatcher, quite the little aristocrat in Tom’s eyes, and he falls in love with her at first sight. She is an enchanting little girl with long blonde hair and definite opinions. Tom wins her heart for good when he takes the blame for a misdeed of her making, and sustains a whipping for it. Becky Thatcher’s character was based upon a real little girl Samuel Clemens attended school with in Hannibal, Missouri – Laura Hawkins. (When the humorist became famous, at least twenty-five women claimed to have been the model for Becky, but Mr. Clemens named Miss Hawkins.)

    Rebecca “Becky” Bloomwood Brandon (Confessions of a Shopaholic) Becky is the main character in the British author Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic Series, started in 2000, and also made into a popular American movie, Confessions of a Shopaholic in 2009, starring Isla Fisher. Although Becky is a financial advice journalist, she doesn’t follow any money rules herself, with terrifying and hilarious results. The series focuses on the mishaps into which her shopping addictions lead her. Chick lit it may be, but it’s very popular – Becky even has a fan club!

    Rebecca de Winter (Rebecca) Rebecca de Winter is the unseen but very much felt protagonist of Daphne du Maurier’s popular novel of 1938, made into an equally popular movie in 1942. The unnamed, timid and unsophisticated main character marries Max de Winter after the death of his first wife, Rebecca. When she accompanies him to his country estate, Manderley, she finds Rebecca to be ever-present in the household, and especially, in the memories and adulation of the sinister housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers. Rebecca was beautiful, she was accomplished, she was bold, she was everything the second Mrs. De Winter is not. Fearing that she can never live up to her predecessor, and terrified of losing her husband’s love, she makes mistake after mistake, with the wicked help of Mrs. Danvers. But as time goes by, she begins to suspect all was not as it seemed. In a thrilling denouement, we are exposed to the awful truth of who Rebecca really was, and what really happened to her.

    Rebecca of York (Ivanhoe) Rebecca is the beautiful Jewish healer in Sir Walter Scott’s 1819 historical fiction, Ivanhoe, the daughter of Isaac, the moneylender. She is pursued by many men, but stands firm in her virtue and goodness. When Ivanhoe is wounded in a jousting tournament, she bravely ignores the injunctions against Christians and Jews mixing, and nurses him back to health, falling in love with him at the same time. Knowing that her love can never be returned, she bears this affront calmly. Ivanhoe returns the favor by rescuing her later as she is about to be burned at the stake for witchcraft. Fiercely proud of her heritage, she has spurned an offer of clemency in exchange for converting to Christianity. Ultimately she and her father leave England for a Muslim land, knowing that understanding and respect will not come to them in their lifetimes. She remains single, a proud and valiant heroine of her people.

    Rebecca Rowena Randall (Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm) Rebecca is Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm in the Kate Douglas Wiggins’ childrens’ classic of 1903. It was also made into a popular 1938 movie starring – you guessed it – Shirley Temple. Rebecca is an irrepressible 10 year old girl from an impoverished family who goes to live with her two paternal aunts at the beginning of the novel, and a lovely and still high spirited, young woman at the end. In between she alternately charms and exasperates her aunts and the townspeople, makes new friends, and matures into a generous human being. It is a lovely look at a more innocent time, but lest you think it too saccharine, remember that two giants of American literature, Jack London and Mark Twain, were among the first to welcome and praise this heroine.

  • Popular Songs on Rebecca

    Popular Songs on Rebecca

    Jenny Rebecca - a song by Barbra Streisand

    Jenny Rebecca - a song by Olivia Newton-John

    Rebecca - a song by Hazel O'Connor

    Rebecca - a song by Meg & Dia

    Rebecca - a song by the Pat McGee Band

    Rebecca Deville - a song by Mason Jennings

    Rebecca Lynn - a song by Bryan White

    Rebecca Wild - a song by The Walkabouts

    Romeo & Rebecca - a song by Blink 182

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Rebecca

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Rebecca

    Dear Rebecca, Winter Is Here (Jean Craighead George) - "Winter is here. It was brought by little hands of darkness. Each little hand is a few minutes long." Thus a woman begins to explain the solstice to her young granddaughter. In spare prose, George details all the wonders that the season brings. Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Meet Rebecca: American Girls Collection (Jacqueline Dembar Greene) - Rebecca Rubin is a lively nine-year-old girl growing up in a big Jewish family in New York in 1914. She dreams of becoming an actress, but her parents and grandparents have traditional ideas and don't think young ladies should perform. When Rebecca learns that her cousins in Russia are in great danger and must escape to America, she puts on a show to raise money--until her disapproving grandmother steps in. Unexpectedly, Rebecca finds another way to earn money. But for her plan to work, she'll have to keep it a secret. This book is part of a series. Recommended for ages 9-12.

    Princess Rebecca and the Lion Cub (Vivian French) - The Tulip Room princesses are thrilled when they ride to the end-of-term ball on an elephant—but they spot a lion cub in peril! Will Rebecca save the day? Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (Kate Douglas Wiggin) - Eleven-year-old Rebecca Randall is quite a handful—and now she’s leaving her beloved Sunnybrook Farm to live with her well-to-do elderly aunts and get an education. But they were expecting Rebecca’s quiet, hard-working older sister instead. Can the bright-eyed and talkative girl win them over…especially her strict, rule-bound Aunt Miranda? Just as Rebecca’s “grand spirit” charms everyone in the story, it will captivate readers, too. This is part of a series. Recommended for ages 9-12.

    Rebecca the Rock 'n Roll Fairy (Daisy Meadows) - The Dance Fairies' magic ribbons are missing! Without them, all kinds of dances are getting off on the wrong foot. Everyone is miserable, except for Jack Frost and his goblins. They have the ribbons . . . and it's up to Rachel and Kirsty to get them back! No one in Wetherbury can rock 'n' roll without Rebecca's magical ribbon. But will the goblins roll right out of town with it? Find the magic ribbon in each book, and help keep the Dance Fairies on their toes! Recommended fro ages 4-8.

    Rebecca's Journey Home (Brynn Olenberg Sugarman) - Jacob and Gabe, ages eight and four, prepare for their mother's trip to Vietnam to bring home their new baby sister. The author is successful in explaining both the intricacies of adoption procedures as well as details of life in an observant Jewish home. A smattering of Vietnamese culture is also included. The appealing and bright watercolor illustrations show touches of whimsy and lightheartedness that add to the story. The true multicultural aspect of this book emerges as the baby is immersed into the Mikvah (ritual bath) and given her Hebrew name. She is Vietnamese, American, and Jewish, and, Mrs. Stein says, she'll be many more things someday. Mr. Stein replies, You can be as many things as you want to be. Or at least you can try. Recommended for ages 4-8.

  • Famous People Named Rebecca

    Famous People Named Rebecca

    Famous People Named Rebecca - Rebecca De Mornay (actress); Rebecca Jarvis (journalist); Rebecca Romijn (model/actress); Rebecca Schaeffer (actress), Rebecca Gayheart (actress)

  • Children of Famous People Named Rebecca

    Children of Famous People Named Rebecca

    Famous People who Named their Daughter Rebecca - Ally Sheedy (actress); Arthur Miller (playwright); Dustin Hoffman (actor); Elizabeth Montgomery (actress); Marlon Brando (actor); Rita Hayworth (actress); Sydney Pollack (actor/director)

  • Historic Figures

    Rebecca - Girl Baby Name - Historic Figures

    Rebecca (from the Bible) - Rebecca figures importantly in the Bible and in fact shows up very early on in the book of Genesis. She is from the ancestral lands of Abraham and thus related to him as his grand-niece. She is also the sister of Laban, who will eventually become the father of Leah and Rachel (wives of Jacob). In the Bible, Abraham sends his servant to find a wife for his son Isaac in Mesopotamia (his homeland); he does not want Isaac marrying a Canaanite woman given their proclivity for idolatry. The servant is doubtful that a maiden will travel so far (from Mesopotamia to Canaan) to fulfill Abraham’s wishes, but he goes dutifully. Upon reaching the ancestral lands, he prays that God will give him a sign – which ever woman offers him and his camels water from her well will be the one. Before he is even done with his prayer, the servant immediately sees the beautiful Rebecca. She kindly offers this leathery old stranger water from her well, and so he knows she is the one. Returning to her household, and equipped with offerings of gifts, the servant asks to bring the maiden back to Canaan to marry Isaac. The family resists, wanting to keep the girl longer, but agree to ask Rebecca to decide. Women didn’t have much of a voice back then; Rebecca can be considered a feminist symbol for her free-will and independent-mind. “I will go.” She says. She returns to Canaan and upon seeing Isaac quickly covers her face with a veil, so impressed is she by his spiritual aura. After Isaac and Rebecca marry, it takes her 20 long years to conceive a child (now in ancient times, this would be serious torture for a woman like Rebecca). Both Isaac and Rebecca pray mightily for offspring, and finally she conceives twins. She feels them unsettled in her womb; worried, she goes to God. She is told that “the older will serve the younger” and that “one people will be stronger than the other.” We know now that this prophesy would be fulfilled. Her son Esau was born first and Jacob came out of her womb immediately after “holding the heel” of his brother. As Rebecca’s favorite, she would go onto help Jacob steal Esau’s birthright and blessing. She intuitively knows that Esau is simply not responsible or holy enough to receive the blessing himself. Rebecca devises a plan whereby Jacob – in the guise of Esau – will bring Isaac his goat meat as he lay blind and close to death. After his meal, Isaac will give his blessing to Jacob (unwittingly) and not Esau. Jacob immediately sees a flaw in his mother’s plan. You see, Esau is hairy and Jacob is smooth-skinned. Not to worry, Mama Rebecca had that one figured out, too. She takes the hairy skin of the goat and wraps it around Jacob. When he goes to his father, Isaac will feel the hair and know it’s Esau. Everything goes as planned, and Jacob receives the blessing. Of course, Esau arrives moments later to see this deception and furiously vows to kill Jacob, so Rebecca sends Jacob off to live with her brother Laban (this is how Leah and Rachel come into the picture). She would eventually die an old woman and never see the eventual reconciliation of her sons. Nonetheless, Rebecca is one of the more colorful women in the Bible – a matriarch, a free-thinker, a proactive go-getter – and if this isn’t enough, she’s beautiful, spiritual, compassionate and caring.

Personality of the Girl Name Rebecca

The number one personality is a leader - strong and competitive. They are willing to initiate action and take risks. One personalities work hard toward their endeavors and have the ability to apply their creative and innovative thinking skills with strong determination. They believe in their ability to succeed and are too stubborn to be hindered by obstacles. Ones meet obstacles head-on with such mental vigor and energy that you better step aside. They resent taking orders, so don't try telling them what to do either. This is an intensely active personality, but they are also known as starters rather than finishers. They have a propensity to become bored and will move quickly to the next project if not properly challenged.  They are the ones to think up and put into action new and brilliant ideas, but they are not the ones to stick around and manage them. This personality has an enthusiastic and pioneering spirit. They are distinctly original.

Variations of the Baby Name - Rebecca

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