Patriarchal Names: Adam.
From History of Christian Names, by
Charlotte M. Yonge, 1884.
oldest of all proper names comes from a word signifying red, and refers to the
red earth (adama) out of which the first man was taken, reminding us that dust
we are, and unto dust shall we return.
say that it should be translated 'likeness,' and that it comes from the same
root as 'adama,' red earth, because red earth is always alike, wherever
found. In this case, the first man would have been called from his
likeness to his Creator, but the other explanation is preferable, especially as
the same adjective, pronounced with a change in the vowel sound, so as to make
it Edom, was the surname of Esau (hairy), on account both of the ruddiness of
his complexion and of the red lentile pottage for which he sold his
Israelites or Jews appear to have been called after our first father, and the
first time Adam comes to light again, is among the Keltic Christians of Ireland
and Scotland. It is not improbable that it was first adopted according to
a frequent Gaelic fashion, as the ecclesiastical name most resembling the native
one of Aedh or fire; but however this may be, there was in the seventh century a
distinguished abbot of Iona, called in the dog Latin of the time, Adamnanus or
dwarf Adam, and best known as Adamnan. Though not recognized by the Roman
calendar, he was regarded as a saint in his own country, but his name has been
much corrupted. At Skreen in Ireland, where he founded a church, he is
styled St. Awnan, at Raphoe he is patron, as St. Ennan, in Londonderry he is St.
Onan; but in Scotland, Adam has become a national Christian name. The
family who most affected it were the 'gay Gordons.' Edie is the
Scottish contraction. The feminine Adamina has been a recent
Germany and the neighbouring countries there prevails an idea that Adam is
always long-lived, and if the first infant of a family dies, the life of its
successor is secured by calling it either Adam or Eve. In consequence it
has various contractions and alterations. In Lower Lusatia it is Hadamk
in familiar speech; the Swiss abbreviation is Odli; the Esthonian Ado
or Oado, the Lettish was Adums. With its contration, Ade,
it seems to have been very common at Cambrai through the middle ages.
mother of all living"received
from the lips of Adam a name signifying life, sounding in the original like Chavva,
as it began with a rough aspirate. It was not copied by any of her
daughters for a long time, and when first the Alexandrian Jews came on it in
their translation, they rendered it by Zoe (life), in order to show the
connection of the name with the prophecy; but afterwards in the course of the
narrative they merely made it Eva, or in Latin the Heva or Eva,
which English has changed into Eve.
has been seldom used in England, though old parish registers occasionally show a
pair of twins christened Adam and Eve.
same notion of securing a child's life that has spread the use of Adam in
Germany and its vicinity has had the same effect upon his wife, so that Eva is
common in both Germany and Scandinavia. Russia has Evva or Jevva, though
not often as a name in use; the Letts as Ewe or Ewusche; the Lithuanians as Jewa
or Jewele, the first letter of course pronounced like Y; and in Lusatia
her namesakes are called Hejba or Hejbka.*
murdered son of Adam is called by a Hebrew word meaning breath, vapour, or
transitoriness, and as some think may have been so termed in remembrance of his
short life. The sound of the original word was more like Hebel, but
through the Greek we receive it as Abel.
is not absolutely a modern Puritan name, for an Abel existed in Essex in the
time of Henry III., and Awel is known in Russia; but it is generally given
direct from the Bible, as are also Seth (appointed), and Enoch (dedicated).
(ornament), the wife of Lamech, is often supposed to be the origin of our
English Ada, but this last is the hereditary Latinized form of Eed (rich), and
is the same as the German Ida. Zillah (or shadow), the other wife of
Lamech, is a Gypsy name.
* Smith's Dictionary;
Michaelis, Personen Namen.