Rachel Name Meaning

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What Does Rachel Mean?

The name Rachel brings to mind many modern references—especially Jennifer Aniston's iconic character "Rachel" from the TV series, "Friends." While that character probably had a great influence on the popularity of the name, it has older origins.

In fact, the name "Rachel" has a long history. In the Bible, Rachel was the wife of Jacob and the mother of Joseph and Benjamin. They became two of the twelve tribes of Israel.

The name Rachel is of Hebrew origin and is derived from the Hebrew word rāchēl, meaning "ewe."

  • Origin: Rachel is a Hebrew name meaning "ewe."
  • Gender: Rachel is commonly used as a girl name
  • Pronunciation: ra-chel

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 Rachel?

The name Rachel has been popular for over 100 years, according to the Social Security Administration 2020 data. In 1900 it entered the Top 200 baby names at No.153. Since then, the name has been holding rank in the Top 200. IN 1968, it pushed through into the Top 100 at No. 92. 

Between the mid-1980s and throughout the 1990s, the name maintained a position in the Top 20 and reached its peak popularity in 1996 at No. 9

In the last 20 years, though, the name has fallen in rank, though it has still been featured in the Top 200 names until 2019. In 2020, the name ranked at No 227.

Name Variations

The following are the variations of the name Rachel:

  • Raakel (Finnish) 
  • Rachael (English)
  • Racheal (English)
  • Rachele (Italian) 
  • Rachelle (English)
  • Rahel (Biblical Latin)
  • Ráhel (Hungarian) 
  • Rahela (Croatian) 
  • Rahela (Romanian, Serbian) 
  • Ráichéal (Irish) 
  • Rakel (Danish, Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish) 
  • Raquel (Portuguese, Spanish) 
  • Raschelle (English) 
  • Rhachel (Biblical Greek) 
  • Richelle (English)
  • Rochel (Yiddish)

Similar Names

Similar sounding names to Rachel:

  • Raechel
  • Raichel
  • Richelle
  • Rosella
  • Roshelle

Other Hebrew names:

  • Aaren
  • Abigale
  • Anna
  • Anya
  • Ariel
  • Bethany
  • Eliora
  • Esther
  • Eve
  • Gayle
  • Iva
  • Joyce
  • Leah
  • Maria
  • Miriam
  • Naomi
  • Rebecca
  • Rinna
  • Sarah
  • Tahlia

Other names starting with R:

  • Raegan
  • Raelynn
  • Rain
  • Rhea
  • Rina
  • Robin
  • Rory
  • Rosalie
  • Rose
  • Rosemary
  • Roxanne
  • Ruby
  • Ruth

Common Nicknames

Common nicknames for Rachel include:

  • Rach
  • Rachie
  • Rae
  • Rai
  • Ray
  • Raya
  • Raylie

Suggested Sibling Names

Looking for a sibling name for Rachel? Here are some popular options:

  • Annabel
  • Daniel
  • Elijah
  • Elsa
  • Gabriel
  • Luke
  • Olivia
  • Tessa
  • Valerie
  • Zachary

Famous People Named Rachel

Some notable people who share the name Rachel are:

  • Rachel Bilson, an American actress
  • Rachel Carson, an American environmentalist, activist, marine biologist, and author
  • Rachel Maddow, a Grammy-award-winning American political commentator and television news program host
  • Rachel McAdams, a Canadian actress
  • Rachel Weisz, an award-winning British actress
  • Rachel Zoe, an American fashion designer

Famous Rachaels include:

  • Rachael Cook, an American actress, and model
  • Rachael Flatt, an American competitive figure skater
  • Rachael Price, an Australian-born American jazz and blues singer
  • Rachael Ray, an American celebrity cook, and author
  • Rachael Stirling, an English stage, film, and television actress
  • Rachael Taylor, an Australian actress

More Baby Names


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

50 Hebrew Baby Names

100 Biblical Baby Names

50 Pop Culture Baby Names














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2 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Hanks P, Hardcastle K, Hodges F. A Dictionary of First Names. Oxford University Press; 2016.

  2. Social Security Administration. Popular Baby Names. www.ssa.gov. Updated 2020.