Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Uriah

Uriah is a masculine name borne from the Bible. It’s Hebrew in origin from ‘Uriyah (אוּרִיָה) meaning “Yahweh is my light”. Uriah’s story in the Old Testament does not exactly cast David in the most favorable of lights. In fact, Uriah is the innocent victim of King David’s duplicity (2 Samuel 11-12). The double-crossing and treacherous sin committed against Uriah is probably the biggest mar on King David’s résumé and his ultimate undoing. But then again, David was getting a little big for his own britches; he who ascends the highest falls the hardest, as they say. Israel’s trusted men were away at war, including David’s loyal soldier Uriah. King David, however, remained home in the comforts of his palace. It was from the roof of his palace that he gazes upon a beautiful woman bathing in her yard. Now this was not just any ordinary rubber-ducky bath; it was an ancient ritual bath women took right after menstruation (so David knows she isn’t pregnant). He later discovers the woman’s name (Bathsheba) and her marital status (Uriah’s wife). What does David do? He invites Bathsheba to his private quarters, probably offers her a little Courvoisier and turns on his “Ladies-Man” charm. He is the King of course, so we can hardly blame Bathsheba. This indiscretion belongs more to David as he breaks four of the Ten Commandments. First he covets his neighbor’s wife, then he commits adultery, and thirdly he lies to cover it up (we’ll get to the fourth sin in a second). Turns out Bathsheba gets pregnant after their little rendezvous and David panics. He cleverly comes up with a plan: he calls Uriah back from the battlefield and instructs him to “go down to your house and wash your feet” (2 Samuel 11:8). Huh? Wash his feet? In Biblical speak this basically means “go home and have sex with your wife”. Get it? David wants Uriah to assume the forthcoming baby is his own (and not David’s) and the only way to accomplish this deceit is to get Uriah to “lie” with his own wife. What David doesn’t expect is that Uriah refuses. He simply will not engage in earthly pleasures while his fellow soldiers are fighting for the ark and Israel (putting the interest of God before his king). Suffice it to say that Uriah wasn’t raised in a barn and (unlike David) shows righteous comportment in the face of selfish desires. David reverts to Plan B and tries to get Uriah drunk and lustful. This too fails. Plan C is where we get to the fourth sinful act committed by David: murder. Desperate to cover up his adulterous affair with Bathsheba, David instructs his army commander to put Uriah on the front lines during battle, and then have the rest of the soldiers retreat, thus leaving Uriah alone and defenseless. The final plan works, and Uriah is killed. Don’t worry – David gets his own comeuppance. But in the meantime, Uriah is remembered as a righteous man who refused to offend the word of God. He stands as a moral juxtaposition to the bad behavior of David. Yahweh was indeed the light of Uriah. His charming name has recently been rediscovered as a masculine given name loaded with Biblical significance. Yes, it’s obscure, but Uriah is a true original.

All About the Baby Name – Uriah



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Now that we got that lengthy Uriah story out of the way, let’s discuss the name’s popularity in America. Don’t worry; this one is a shorter story. Uriah has never been a particular favorite name in the United States. We’re guessing the early Puritan settlers brought the name to America (as was their practice to use more humble biblical names). Still, we only have data that dates back to the late 19th century. Uriah appeared briefly on the American male naming charts in the late 1800s but in a barely noticeable way. He reappeared again briefly and sporadically in the 1970s, 80s and 90s, but again, remained off the radar. It really wasn’t until 2008 that Uriah came back and has achieved more usage. Don’t get us wrong; Uriah is by no means a popular name. It’s still very obscure and underused. Many people reference Uriah Heep from Charles Dickens novel “David Copperfield” (not the most savory of characters). This may cause some resistance to the name. As does the similarity to the words “urea” or “urine”. But if you can get past this, and you’re fan of the Biblical story or just a parent looking for a unique name, then maybe Uriah doesn’t conjure up such unpleasant connotations for you. This is not a name for the faint of heart. Uriah is one of a kind.

Quick Facts













Yahweh is my light










Cultural References to the Baby Name – Uriah

Literary Characters


Uriah Heep Is one of Charles Dickens’ most finely drawn villains, from David Copperfield, first published in novel form in 1850. His name has become a byword for the insincere, obsequious yes-man who constantly touts his own humbleness. Uriah stands in stark contrast to the young hero, David, as a model of toadiness, a poor thing whose very appearance announces his second-class character and nature to the world before he even has a chance to open his mouth. He is described as bony and cadaverous, ugly and ungraceful. But let us remember that Uriah has been working as a clerk to Mr. Wickfield since he was eleven years old! How many eleven- year-olds do you know who could weather what life dealt him and come out walking straight?! Well, poor thing, he hardly even does this – he is described as in constant motion, often with a certain jerkiness to his movements, making an awkward assault upon the world around him. Behind the scenes he conspires to attain a high position in Mr. Wickfield’s practice, even hoping to go so far as to win the lovely Agnes Wickfield’s hand in marriage. As foil to the humanely virtuous David Copperfield, no such luck for him! Nonetheless, how many characters from Victorian novels can you name who inspired the naming of a 20th century heavy metal band? And we believe that aces one who inspired a magician – so there!

Childrens Books


We cannot find any childrens books with the first name Uriah

Popular Songs


We cannot find any popular or well-known songs with the name of Uriah

Famous People


Uriah Duffy (musician)
Uriah P. Levy (first Jewish Commodore of the U.S. Navy in War of 1812)
Urijah Faber (mixed martial artist)

Children of Famous People


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

Historic Figures


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