Elijah Name Meaning

baby boy

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What Does Elijah Mean?

The name Elijah goes back to the Old Testament of the Bible, and derives from a Hebrew phrase meaning “Jehovah is my God.” The original, biblical Elijah was a prophet known for defending the worship of God and performing miracles in God’s name. The prophet Elijah is revered by Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike.

  • Origin: The name Elijah comes from the Hebrew words El (God) and Yah (Jehovah). It is found in the Old Testament, specifically in the First and Second Books of Kings.
  • Gender: Elijah is historically the masculine form of the name. Eliyah and Eliana are sometimes used as feminine variations.
  • Pronunciation: el-EYE-jah or uh-LIE-jah

Although many baby names are separated by gender, VeryWell Family believes that sex does not need to play a role in your name selection process. It’s important to select a name that you feel suits your new baby the best.

How Popular Is the Name Elijah?

Though an ancient, biblical name, Elijah has skyrocketed in popularity in recent decades. It first joined the top 100 boy names in the U.S. in 1995, and has kept climbing, reaching the top 50 in 2001, and the top 20 in 2010.

Elijah has been a top-10 name for boys in the U.S. since 2016, and the 2020 statistics ranked it as the #4 boy name in America.

Name Variations

As it is a biblical name, Elijah has an equivalent in virtually every known language. These include:

  • Elia (Italian)
  • Elian (Dutch)
  • Elias (Greek)
  • Eliasz (Polish)
  • Élie (French)
  • Eliyahu (Hebrew)
  • Ilija (Croatin)
  • Ilja (Estonian)
  • Iliya (Bulgarian)
  • Ilyas (Arabic)

Similar Names

The name Elias is a variant of the same name, Elias being the name given to the prophet Elijah in Greek and Latin editions of the Bible.

The Hebrew word El (God), which forms part of the name Elijah, is also found at the start of other Hebrew names such as Elisha and Eliezer, and at the end of Daniel, Gabriel, Michael, Samuel, etc.

Other boy names starting with E:

  • Edmund
  • Edward
  • Elliot
  • Emilio
  • Emmanuel
  • Eric
  • Evan
  • Everett
  • Ezekiel
  • Ezra

Other boy names from the Old Testament:

Common Nicknames

Eli can be a name on its own, but is also used as a short form of Elijah, Eliezer, Elizabeth, or Eliana.

Elijah can also be shortened to Lijah, Lijey, Lahje, or Jah.

Suggested Sibling Names

  • Caleb
  • Deborah
  • Elior
  • Gabriel
  • Isaac
  • Leah
  • Mark
  • Matthew
  • Miriam
  • Rose
  • Sarah

Famous People Named Elijah

The biblical Elijah plays a special role in the Jewish celebration of Passover. Observant Jews leave out an extra cup of wine for Elijah during the Passover Seder. It is said that when Elijah returns to this world to join the Seder, it will herald the coming of the Messiah.

The New Testament suggests that John the Baptist played the role of a second Elijah, as the forerunner of Jesus Christ.

Other Famous Elijahs:

  • Elijah Craig, 18th century American Baptist preacher, sometimes credited as the inventor of bourbon
  • Elijah Cummings, American politician and civil rights advocate who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1996 until his death in 2019
  • Elijah Holyfield, American football player, son of former world champion boxer Evander Holyfield
  • Elijah Joy, American celebrity vegan chef
  • Elijah Kelley, American actor, singer and dancer known for his roles in "28 Days," "Hairspray," and "The Wiz Live!"
  • Elijah Lovejoy, American Presbyterian minister, journalist, and abolitionist 
  • Elijah Lee, American football player, linebacker for the Cleveland Browns
  • Elijah McCoy, Canadian-born African American inventor and engineer
  • Elijah McGuire, American football player, running back for the Kansas City Chiefs
  • Elijah Muhammad, born Elijah Poole, former leader of the Nation of Islam, known as the mentor of Malcolm X
  • Elijah Pitts, American football player and football coach, best known as a halfback for the Green Bay Packers
  • Elijah Wald, American folk blues guitarist and music historian
  • Elijah Wood, American actor, known for playing Frodo Baggins in "The Lord of the Rings" film series

More Baby Names

Still searching for the perfect baby name? Check out these related baby name lists for even more options:

1 Source
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  1. Social Security Administration. Popular baby names.

By Wendy Wisner
Wendy Wisner is a lactation consultant and writer covering maternal/child health, parenting, general health and wellness, and mental health. She has worked with breastfeeding parents for over a decade, and is a mom to two boys.