The many forms of Rebecca

Rebecca has been a Top 200 mainstay in the U.S. since at least 1880. Its popularity has fluctuated up and down, but it’s never been out of the Top 200 until 2016, when it was #207. It slowly but surely began rising in popularity starting in 1938, when it jumped to #145 from #166.

It entered the Top 30 in 1952, and attained its highest rank of #10 in 1973 and 1974. In 1998, it slowly began losing popularity, and dropped out of the Top 100 in 2007. However, it’s still a solid classic that ages very well, and has Biblical appeal for those religiously inclined.

Rebecca is the spelling used in English and Italian, and may come from a root meaning “snare, joint, tie.” The variation Rébecca is French. Other forms of the name are:

1. Rivkah, or Rivka, is the Hebrew original. This was the name of the Patriarch Isaac (Yitzchak)’s wife. A very disturbing Midrash (rabbinic elaboration on the straight Torah text) claims they married when Rivkah was three and Yitzchak was forty, but that’s not a mainstream belief outside of the ultra-Orthodox world, thankfully.

2. Rebekka is Finnish, German, Scandinavian, Faroese, Dutch, Icelandic, and Ukrainian.

3. Rifke (alternately spelt Rifkeh, Rifka, and Rifkah) is Yiddish. The nicknames are Riva, Riki, and Rika.

4. Rebeka is Hungarian, Polish, Belarusian, Serbian, Macedonian, and Czech.

5. Rebecka is a Swedish variation.

6. Rebekah is a variant form used in some Bible translations.

7. Rebeca is Spanish, Portuguese, Galician, Romanian, and Welsh.

8. Acca is Malayalam, a language spoken in India.

9. Reveka is Romanian, Bulgarian, and Georgian.

10. Rhebecca is a rare Welsh variant form, inspired by the RH in many other Welsh names.

11. Revekka is modern Greek.

12. Ribka is Indonesian.

13. Ripeka is Maori. This also means “to crucify” in Maori.

14. Rywka is the Polish form of Rikvah.

15. Lepeka is Hawaiian.

16. Rabqa, or Rabka, is Arabic. Another Arabic variation is Rafqa, or Rafka.

17. Rebeque is French.

18. Revekka is Russian.

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