The many forms of Rachel

As common as the name is, I’ve always really liked the name Rachel and its various pronunciations. Perhaps one of these alternate forms will strike your fancy, either on its own or if you want to name your baby after a special Rachel but feel held back by its popularity.

In 2016, Rachel was #173 in the U.S., after a very long, impressive run in the Top 100. It entered at #92 in 1968, and continued to both rise and fluctuate until hitting its peak of #9 in 1996. It stayed very popular in the coming years, though its rank steadily dropped. Its final year in the Top 100 was 2010, when it was #99.

Rachel means “ewe” in Hebrew, and, as most people know, was the name of the Patriarch Jakob’s favourite wife. Besides Hebrew, this spelling is also used in English, German, French (where it’s pronounced Rah-SHEL), and Dutch (where the pronunciation is something like Rah-GHEL, with a hard, guttural GH). Other forms include:

1. Rachael is perhaps the most common spelling variation in English, though it’s never been nearly as popular as the traditional Rachel.

2. Ráhel is Hungarian. The base nickname form is Rahi.

3. Rakhil is Russian.

4. Rahela is Serbian and Romanian. I love this form!

5. Raakel is Finnish.

6. Raquel is Spanish, Catalan, Galician, and Portuguese.

7. Rakel is Scandinavian, Icelandic, and Sinhalese.

8. Rachele (Rah-KEH-le) is Italian,

9. Ráichéal is Irish.

10. Rochel is Yiddish.

11. Ruchel is also Yiddish. It all depends upon the dialect. Some regions pronounced A as an O, while others used a U sound.

12. Lahela is Hawaiian.

13. Râché is Jèrriais.

14. Errakel is Basque.

15. Rachela is Polish and a rare Italian variation.

16. Rahil is Medieval Judeo-Arabic.

17. Rāhera is Maori.

18. Râkile is Greenlandic.

19. Rakul is Faroese.

20. Raqel is Armenian.

21. Raheleh is Persian.

22. Raahel is Malayalam, a language spoken in India.

23. Rachil is modern Greek.

24. Raichel is Tamil.

25. Rachelle is French.

26. Rakhila is another Russian form.

27. Raaheel, or Raahil, is Arabic,

28. Raquele is Brazilian–Portuguese.

29. Raquella is a rare Filipino form.

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