Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Lilith

The female name Lilith has a very interesting history (albeit negative). Then again, it’s just a matter of perspective. The name appears only briefly in the Bible (Isaiah 34:14) which in one version states “Wildcats shall meet with hyenas, / goat-demons shall call to each other; / there too Lilith shall repose, / and find a place to rest.” In the King James Version the passage is put this way: “The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest” (swapping the name Lilith with “screech owl”). Apparently, the word Lilith came to Hebrew from another now obsolete Afro-asiatic language (Akkadian) and is said to mean either “night monster” or “screech owl”. The oracle Isaiah is describing the coming of a desert wasteland which will be inherited by Lilith and other demonic outcasts after God’s judgment. In ancient Mesopotamia the Līlīṯu were female demonic spirits “of the night” who preyed upon childbearing women. In some legends, Lilith was seen as a soul-stealing night hag who terrorized children while they slept; as such, some speculate that the term “lullaby” comes from the Hebrew "Lilith-Abi" meaning “Lilith begone!” According to medieval Jewish folklore Lilith was the first wife of Adam. Like Adam, Lilith was created from the earth (unlike Eve who sprung from Adam’s rib) and, believing herself an equal, refused submission to Adam’s authority (imagine the audacity). As a result, Lilith was expelled from the Garden of Eden eventually replaced by Eve (not exactly a beacon of obedience herself). Due to the mythologies of Lilith, she has been a dark subject of many Western artistic genres ranging from paintings to gothic literature, sci-fi, horror and the occult. Although considered pretty rare, Lilith has been used occasionally among English speakers (although often as an elaboration of the ever-popular name Lily).

All About the Baby Name – Lilith

Personality

OF THE GIRL NAME LILITH

The number Seven personality is deeply mystical and highly in tune with their spirituality. They operate on a different wavelength than the average joe. Spending time alone comes easily to Sevens, as it gives them time to contemplate philosophical, religious and spiritual ideas in an effort to find "real truth".  Sevens are wise, but often exude mystery as if they are tapped into something the rest of us don't understand. They love the outdoors and are fed by nature. Sevens are constantly seeking to understand human nature, our place in the universe, and the mystery of life in general. This makes them quite artistic and poetic, but they are also keen observers with high intellect - so they are equally scientific-minded. Sevens are charitable and care deeply about the human condition.

Popularity

OF THE GIRL NAME LILITH

In the history of the United States, Lilith has only held a position on the female naming charts since 2010 making her barely two years old. This means that prior to 2010, the name was used so rarely (probably less than 50 baby girls per year) that Lilith never appeared on the charts. Even now, Lilith is a very uncommon name – in 2011 only 279 babies received this moniker. Obviously, the reluctance to bestow Lilith upon American baby girls must have to do with the negative Biblical and/or folklore references. We should remember that the story of Lilith is only legend and myth and (we can say with confidence) most certainly not true. We like to think of Lilith as an “ancient bad girl” like Eve, Jezebel and Delilah. And you know what they say: “well-behaved women rarely make history”. Ok, so we get it. Maybe devout Jews and Christians won’t ever adopt the name Lilith, but we can imagine it being embraced by all sorts of feminists out there. After all, Lilith is the ultimate symbol of independence and gender equality; she was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice (i.e., her place in paradise) for her own self-respect. What’s wrong with that? If you can set aside your distaste for the evil demonic mythologies of Lilith, perhaps you can embrace her danger and mystery. Not surprisingly, Lilith is the name of a feminist Jewish magazine and it is also the name of a music fair celebrating female artists (see the strong woman theme here?). The name is beautiful and confident; soft, even dainty, yet decidedly strong. One part sexy temptress, two parts powerful female and a million parts rebel with a cause.

Quick Facts

ON LILITH

GENDER:

Girl

ORIGIN:

Hebrew

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

826

PRONUNCIATION:

LIL-ith

SIMPLE MEANING:

Night monster; Screech owl

Characteristics

OF LILITH

Mystical

Wise

Eccentric

Intuitive

Imaginative

Philosophical

Solitary

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Lilith

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME LILITH

Lilith is the title character of Scottish writer George MacDonald’s fantasy novel, Lilith, written in 1895, a book with salvation from darkness as its central theme. The protagonist, Mr. Vane, is allowed to journey to a mysterious “other” world beyond this life, where he meets up with a band of children who will never grow up, called the Little Ones, the oldest of whom, Lona, endears herself to Vane. Entranced by them and stricken by their plight, he resolves to help them. This involves travelling to the land of Bulika, where the beautiful but duplicitous princess Lilith reigns supreme. She is actually the mother of Lona, but her heart is cold and loveless – she murders her own daughter when that daughter tries to approach her lovingly. Lilith, however, is captured and brought before Adam and Eve for judgment and punishment. She is entreated to open her hand, always gloved and clenched shut, for in it is the water that will allow the Little Ones to grow. Lilith fiercely refuses. Only after a long spiritual struggle does Lilith beg Adam to cut the offending had off for her. He does so, and thus redeemed, Lilith is able to go to sleep in anticipation of the final day and its redemption. Lilith’s hand is buried in the earth, and water gushes from the spot to nourish the Little Ones. His journey over, Mr. Vane lies down beside Lona, to sleep the expectant sleep with her, after which they will all – Lilith included – be reunited in paradise.

Popular Songs

ON LILITH

Lilywhite Lilith
a song by Genesis

Lilith Fair
a song by Debbie Zepick

Heart of Lilith
a song by Inkubus Sukkubus

Famous People

NAMED LILITH

We cannot find any celebrities or significantly famous people with the first name Lilith.

Children of Famous People

NAMED LILITH

We cannot find any children of famous people with the first name Lilith

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME LILITH

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