Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Moses

There is some uncertainty as to the origin of this old Biblical name. The Hebrew name “Moshe” was probably derived from the Egyptian root “mes” meaning ‘born of’ (or son) – more specifically ‘born of a certain god’ which in the case of the Hebrews would be Yahweh. As a baby, Moses was retrieved from the Nile by Pharaoh’s daughter (Moses mother had placed him in the river in a reed basket to protect him from Pharaoh’s orders that all male Hebrew babies be killed). In Exodus 2:10, Pharaoh’s daughter named him Moses, “Because”, she said, “I drew him out of the water.” As a result, there is some folk etymology suggesting that Moses means ‘saved or delivered (from the water)’ but this is generally accepted as invented. Moses, a grandson of Levi, is the central character in Exodus wherein he led the Children of Israel out of captivity in Egypt and then received the 10 Commandments from God on Mount Sinai. He is considered the most important prophet in Judaism and tradition holds that Moses wrote the Torah or the first five books of the Bible. Moses has long been a popular name among Jews, but Christians eventually adopted the name during the Reformation – mostly Puritans and other Nonconformists. Even though Moses led “his people” (i.e., the Jews) to the Promised Land, he is still considered an important prophet in both Christian and Muslim tradition as well.

All About the Baby Name – Moses

Personality

OF THE BOY NAME MOSES

The number Eight personality has everything to do with power, wealth and abundance. Somehow, this personality has been blessed on the material plane, but their authoritative and problem-solving traits provide evidence that their good fortunes are not just the luck of the lottery. They are well earned. This is the personality of CEOs and high-ranking military personnel. Eights are intensely active, hard-driving individuals. Success is only meaningful to them after a job well-done.  They are remarkable in their ability to see the larger picture right down to the smallest details, and organize a strategy around success. They then have the ability to direct a group around them toward any goal, and realize individual potential to get the most out of their team.

Popularity

OF THE BOY NAME MOSES

We suspect that the name Moses has been in constant use since the days of American colonization. However, we only have data that dates back to 1880, at which time Moses was very nearly a Top 100 favorite. As we crossed the threshold into the 20th century, Moses was already showing signs of weakening. As the decades persisted into the last century, Moses slowly declined in usage. By the end of the century and beginning of the 21st century, Moses seems to be leveling off at low-moderate use. What’s interesting is that the Spanish version of this name (Moisés) is currently more popular than the old traditional Hebrew Moses. Although Moses has seen overall slight decline in the past several years, the name jumped a whopping 78 positions up the charts in 2006 when popular celebrities Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin named their son Moses Bruce Anthony Martin in April of that year. Moses has also been an important figure within African-American communities and a popular boy name among Blacks for centuries. Just consider Basketball Hall of Famer Moses Malone. Than name has strong Biblical significance so it’s not surprising parents have been drawn to this name for centuries. Being “born of God” or a “deliverer of your people” is pretty heavy stuff. Moses might also be a good choice for babies birthed in water given baby Moses’ early beginnings.

Quick Facts

ON MOSES

GENDER:

Boy

ORIGIN:

English

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

468

PRONUNCIATION:

MOZ-əs

SIMPLE MEANING:

Born of Yahweh; Saved from the water

Characteristics

OF MOSES

Authoritative

Powerful

Tough

Tenacious

Wealthy

Problem-solver

Achiever

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Moses

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME MOSES

Moses is a major religious leader, lawgiver and prophet in the bible. According to Exodus, Moses’ mother hid him in a stream when the Egyptian pharaoh ordered that all Hebrew baby boys be killed. He is found by the pharaoh’s daughter and raised in the midst of the royal family. After he kills an Egyptian whom he finds beating a Hebrew, Moses flees across the Red Sea to escape execution. Here he marries, has children and works in the in-laws’ shepherding business. Oh, and he has his first encounter with God in the form of the burning bush. God tells him to go back and lead the Israelites out of Egypt to the Promised Land. This he does, after God visits ten plagues upon Egypt due to the pharaoh’s reluctance to let the Israelites go. Moses and his people flee the Egypt via the parting of the Red Sea and make it to Mount Sinai, where the Ten Commandments on tablets of stone are given by God to Moses. The Israelites then wander in the desert for forty years, and Moses dies just as they come within sight of the Promised Land. The Bible tells us he is 120 years old. This is quite a life span, with quite a lot of remarkable living packed into it, too. And we’re pretty sure he looked just like Charlton Heston.

Moses is a major religious leader, lawgiver and prophet in the bible. According to Exodus, Moses’ mother hid him in a stream when the Egyptian pharaoh ordered that all Hebrew baby boys be killed. He is found by the pharaoh’s daughter and raised in the midst of the royal family. After he kills an Egyptian whom he finds beating a Hebrew, Moses flees across the Red Sea to escape execution. Here he marries, has children and works in the in-laws’ shepherding business. Oh, and he has his first encounter with God in the form of the burning bush. God tells him to go back and lead the Israelites out of Egypt to the Promised Land. This he does, after God visits ten plagues upon Egypt due to the pharaoh’s reluctance to let the Israelites go. Moses and his people flee Egypt via the parting of the Red Sea and make it to Mount Sinai, where the Ten Commandments on tablets of stone are given by God to Moses. The Israelites then wander in the desert for forty years, and Moses dies just as they come within sight of the Promised Land. The Bible tells us he is 120 years old. This is quite a life span, with quite a lot of remarkable living packed into it, too. And we’re pretty sure he looked just like Charlton Heston.

Moses the Raven is a character in George Orwell’s 1945 allegorical novella, Animal Farm, who is a special pet of Mr. Jones. He does not have to work and he does not listen to the revolutionary speeches of Old Major. He is a tame bird who likes to talk about “Sugarcandy Mountain”, where animals go when they die, and he is accused of giving false hope to the animals that their hard lives and sufferings will be compensated for after death. Napoleon and the other pigs find him very troublesome in their efforts to organize the animals. When the animals on the farm do revolt, Moses leaves at the same time as the Joneses and the other humans, but he returns years later. By this time, Napoleon and the pigs have become just like the humans they revolted against, and they have no objection to Moses being back – after all, he can go right back to giving the animals false hopes all over again, keeping them in their place, pacified and submissive, but now to the pigs instead of to the humans. Indeed, for his efforts, he is rewarded with beer every day. We don’t have much trouble knowing what Moses represents, do we!?

Popular Songs

ON MOSES

Amos Moses
a song by Primus

Song of Moses
a song by Petra

On The Rock Where Moses Stood
a song by Flatt and Scruggs

Moses
a song by Soulfly

Little Moses
a song by Joan Baez

Go Down Moses
a song by Louis Armstrong

Brown Moses
a song by Frank Zappa

Books of Moses
a song by Tom Waits

Famous People

NAMED MOSES

Moses Malone (basketball player)
Moses "Moe" Horwitz (actor, one of the Three Stooges)
Moses de León (religious figure)
Moses Denson (football player)
Moses Gomberg (pioneer in organic chemistry)
Moses Gunn (actor)
Moses Mendelssohn (German philosopher)
Moses Moreno (football player)
Moses (common pseudonym for Harriet Tubman)

Children of Famous People

NAMED MOSES

Gwyneth Paltrow;

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME MOSES

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