Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Silas

Early evidence of the name Silas can be found in the Bible, specifically the New Testament, and is a name of Greek and Latin origin. The Greek Σιλας and the Latin Silvanus literally translates to “of the forest” or “living in the woods,” derivative of “silva” meaning “wood.”  The Biblical Silas lived in the 1st century A.D. and was considered a leader within the Early Christian movement. He is most known as a prophet from Jerusalem who accompanied Paul on one of his missionary journeys to strengthen the churches.  Silas’ story is mainly retold in the Book of Acts 16. During one of their missions, Paul and Silas are jailed by pagan Roman citizens for “disturbing their city” and for advocating “customs that are not lawful” [Acts 16:20-21].  While imprisoned, the two men break out into song (i.e., hymns to God) prompting an earthquake that miraculously shakes their jail doors open and their shackles free. The jailor himself was apparently so impressed, he converted to Christianity on the spot! The name Silas was first adopted among English speakers by the Puritans in the 16th century (during the Protestant Reformation). It was their modest custom to bestow lesser-known Biblical names on their children as an act of humility before God.   

All About the Baby Name – Silas

Personality

OF THE BOY NAME SILAS

Romance is the hallmark of the Six personality. They exude nurturing, loving, and caring energy. Sixes are in love with the idea of love in its idealized form - and with their magnetic personalities, they easily draw people toward them. Like the number Two personality, they seek balance and harmony in their life and the world at large. They are conscientious and service-oriented, and a champion for the underdog. These personalities naturally attract money and are usually surrounded by lovely material objects - but their human relationships are always primary. They thrive in giving back to others rather than being motivated by their own desires. This is when they achieve great things. Sixes are natural teachers, ministers and counselors.

Popularity

OF THE BOY NAME SILAS

The name Silas has been in American circulation since colonial times thanks to the early Puritan settlers. However, it wouldn’t be until the year 1880 when the U.S. government began formally keeping track of name rankings.  From this data, we know that Silas achieved his peak popularity around the turn of the 20th century (almost, but not quite, making the Top 100 list of most common masculine names).  As the decades persisted into the last century, Silas eventually lost his luster. Between the 1960s and the 1990s (for close to 40 straight years), Silas was barely on anyone’s radar. Its ranking was so low in the latter half of the 20th century that it was barely given to 75 baby boys a year. After a long hiatus, the 21st century has so far welcomed Silas back with great fanfare – he is once again hovering close to a Top 100 spot on the charts. Not yet over-used, Silas is a charming name choice for a little boy. The popular Showtime series “Weeds” has also influenced the name’s usage since 2005. Silas Botwin is the good-looking, laid-back son of the central character, Nancy. This little “forest-dweller” is certain to be a future outdoorsman! 
 
 
 

Quick Facts

ON SILAS

GENDER:

Boy

ORIGIN:

Greek

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

116

PRONUNCIATION:

SY-lus

SIMPLE MEANING:

Of the forest, wood

Characteristics

OF SILAS

Humanitarian

Community-minded

Family-oriented

Loving

Affectionate

Compassionate

Sensitive

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Silas

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME SILAS

Silas Marner is the title character of George Eliot’s (Mary Ann Evans) third novel, published in 1861, “Silas Marner: the Weaver of Raveloe”. Silas, after having been falsely accused of stealing church funds and thereby losing his fiancée to his best friend, is cast out of his community and moves to the countryside, becoming a virtual recluse. He amasses a small fortune by hard work, only to have it stolen from him by the ne’er-do-well younger son of Squire Cass, Dunstan. Silas sinks even deeper into depression until he, through some 19th century plot machinations, adopts the small (illegitimate) child of Dunstan Cass’ older brother, Godfrey. He names her “Eppie” (short, thank goodness, for Hepzibah), and lavishes his love upon her. She grows into a lovely young girl under his care (with anonymous help from Godfrey). In the end, Eppie’s true lineage is revealed by Godfrey’s confession, Dunstan’s corpse is found clutching Silas’ money, which is returned to him, Eppie marries well and Silas realizes that the early tragedy of his life paved the way for his great joy. Silas Marner triumphs over the vagaries of life, does not allow disappointment and revenge to overcome him and finds redemption in the power of unconditional love.

Popular Songs

ON SILAS

Swan Lee (Silas Lang)
a sing by Syd Barrett

Silas Stingy
a song by The Who

Famous People

NAMED SILAS

Silas (Portuguese soccer player)
Silas Deane (diplomat)
Silas Warner (computer programmer)
Silas Wright (politician)

Children of Famous People

NAMED SILAS

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

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME SILAS

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