Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Hannah

Hannah appears in the Old Testament, in the first Book of Samuel, as the mother of Samuel (one of the most important prophets in Judeo-Christian tradition). In Hebrew Channah (חַנָּה) literally translates to “grace, graciousness” from the root “hanan” meaning “he was gracious, showed favor”. This etymology makes perfect sense if you are familiar with Hannah’s story in the Bible (1 Samuel 1-2). Unable to bear children “because the Lord closed her womb,” Hannah prayed mightily to the Lord for a son promising to “give him to the Lord all the days of his life.” God hears Hannah’s prayers and “favors” her with a son (Samuel), hence the meaning of the name. After the child is weaned (about the age of four or five in Biblical times), Hannah does as promised and turns her son over to the priest Eli to raise Samuel in the service of God. It’s a good thing that God listened to the prayers of Hannah because Samuel would go on to become one of Israel’s greatest leaders and usher in the Israel monarchy by anointing its first kings, Saul and then David (but then again, that was probably part of God’s plan anyway). Channah or Chana are names rooted in Hebrew tradition, while Hannah is more or less the English version, popularized by the Puritans in the 16th and 17th centuries in keeping with their customs of adopting Old Testament names for their children as an act of modesty. Today Hannah is a supremely popular name all over the Western World. It’s a Top 25 favorite in Austria, Canada, Northern Ireland, Australia, Ireland, Scotland and the United States. Hannah is also ranked high in England/Wales, Norway and the Netherlands.

All About the Baby Name – Hannah

Personality

OF THE GIRL NAME HANNAH

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.

Popularity

OF THE GIRL NAME HANNAH

The name Hannah was moderately popular in the United States at the turn of the 20th century, but it began to fall out of favor quickly thereafter so that by the 1960’s the name slipped into obscurity. Bring in the 1990’s and Hannah reared her lovely head again, and this time with massive success. The name reached her peak popularity between 1998 and 2000 when, for three consecutive years, Hannah was the #2 baby girl’s name nationwide – an honor very few names can claim. Although the name has a modern (and sometimes trendy) feel to it, it is an age-old classic with a charming sound that never goes out of style.

Quick Facts

ON HANNAH

GENDER:

Girl

ORIGIN:

English

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

23

PRONUNCIATION:

HAN-nah

SIMPLE MEANING:

Grace, graciousness

Characteristics

OF HANNAH

Independent

Individualistic

Ambitious

Strong-willed

Inventive

Successful

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Hannah

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME HANNAH

Hannah Gruen is the housekeeper in the Nancy Drew series of books by the collective pseudonym named Carolyn Keene (1930). Hannah has worked for the Drew family since Nancy’s mother’s death so she acts as an important surrogate mother figure to the young amateur detective. Caring, courageous, protective and kind, she is always there to lend wise advice to Nancy.

Popular Songs

ON HANNAH

Hard Hearted Hannah
a song by Ella Fitzgerald

Hannah Jane
a song by Hootie & The Blowfish

Hannah Hold On
a song by The Get Up Kids

Hannah and Gabi
a song by The Lemonheads

Famous People

NAMED HANNAH

Hannah Dakota Fanning (actress better known as Dakota Fanning)
Hannah Ayscough (Isaac Newton’s mother)
Hannah Chaplin (Charlie Chaplin’s mother)
Hannah Van Buren (First Lady)
Hannah Storm (TV personality)
Hannah Teter (Olympic snowboarder)

Children of Famous People

NAMED HANNAH

Kate Gosselin;

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME HANNAH

We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Hannah