Aaron (given name)

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For other uses, see Aaron (disambiguation).
Aaron
Pronunciation /ˈɛərən/, /ˈærən/, /ˈɛərɪn/
Gender male
Language(s) English, Exodus 4:14
Origin
Derivation Ancient Egyptian (Aharon), Hebrew (אהרן), Greek (Ααρών), Latin (Aaron), British English (/ɛərən/), American English (/ærən/, /eIrɪn/)
Other names
Variant form(s) Aharon, Aron, Harun, אהרן هارون

Aaron is an anglicised Hebrew masculine given name.[1] Its English form is derived from the Hebrew name "Aharon" (אהרן) which is most likely of Ancient Egyptian origin from "aha rw" meaning "warrior lion",

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or from Aaru, the Egyptian heaven ruled by Osiris,

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According to other theories, the name could be derived from various Hebrew roots meaning "high mountain", "mountain of strength", "exalted", or "enlightened",[2] or "bearer of martyrs".

Aaron the brother of Moses is described in the Hebrew and Christian book of Exodus, the Quran and the Bah'ai Iqan. The given name was used by Jews and early Christians, then became exclusively Jewish in the Middle Ages, taken up by Gentiles in the 17th century, and popular among both in the end of the 20th century. Aaron was most popular in the USA in 1994 peaking as the 28th most popular name. Aaron is also a Jewish surname. St. Aaron's day is on July 1 and is celebrated in French speaking countries and Poland. The name is generally recognisable around the world as referring to the biblical Aaron and cognate forms in other languages include Aarón in Spanish; Aarão in Portuguese; Aron in Irish, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish and Croatian; Árón in Czech; and Harun (هارون) in Arabic. The variant used in the Russian language is "Ааро́н" (Aaron),[3] with "Аро́н" (Aron) being its colloquial form; diminutives include "Ааро́нка" (Aaronka), "Аро́нка" (Aronka), and "Ро́на" (Rona).[4] The patronymics derived from this first name in Russian are "Ааро́нович" (Aaronovich; masculine) and its colloquial form "Ааро́ныч" (Aaronych), and "Ааро́новна" (Aaronovna; feminine).[4]

In France, "Aaron" and especially "Aaron Cohen" is seen as a somewhat caricatured/stereotyped Jewish name.

"Aaronite" is a noun referring to the biblical tradition and modern genetic line of Kohanim claiming descent from the biblical Aaron. "Aaronic" is an adjective referring to their traditional priestly attributes such as attention to detail, respect for tradition, and religious dogmatising. For example, biblical texts focussed on rules and traditions such as Leviticus are considered aaronic.

Pronunciation[edit]

In its original Hebrew, Aharon (אהרן) is pronounced as three syllables, a-ha-ron, with the first two vowels similar to (and probably derived from the same root as) "sahara". A similar sound is found in the Hebrew 'canaan', prounced 'ca-na-han'. This Hebrew pronunciation is still used in modern Hebrew in Israel today. The Hebrew sound had no direct equivalent in Greek, when Jewish scriptures were translated by Greek-speaking Jews in Alexenadria around 200 BCE to form the septuagint, so these translators used a pair of Greek alpha letters to approximate the same sound, "Ααρών". This was translated again by St. Jerome from the Greek to the Latin Vulgate as "Aaron" in the fourth century CE. It is thought that the Greeks and Romans would pronounce Aaron similarly to the Hebrew, as the Catholic Latin pronunciation is still defined this way.[5]

The English pronunciation of the biblical Aaron's name was derived by anglicising the Latin during the Church of England's translation of the Authorized King James Bible in 1611 (possibly influenced by older English translations of the bible from Anglo Saxon times onwards). The modern Church of England Pronunciation Guide, the BBC pronunciation guide,[6] the Mormon pronunciation guide,[7] the Oxford English Dictionary,[8] the Longman pronunciation guide,[9] and Harper Collins Biblical Pronunciation Guide[10] all define this modern English pronunciation as /ɛərən/ ("air-run", where "air" is the same sound as in "dairy"). This pronunciation is used in the 1956 film The Ten Commandments featuring the biblical Aaron, by UK chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks when speaking in English,[11] and in the BBC production of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus.[12]

The English name "Aaron" is sometimes confused with the English name "Aron" which is also derived from the biblical Aaron but through translation routes other than the Church of England (e.g. Scandinavian[13] and Celtic[14] churches) and pronounced /ærən/ ("a-ran" as in "arrow"). It is further sometimes confused with the names Arran and Aran which are also pronounced /ærən/ ("a-ran" as in "arrow") but derive from various sources unrelated to the biblical Aaron such as the Scottish Isle of Arran and Irish Aran Islands. Aeron is another unrelated name, pronounced air-ron, of an old Celtic god and the Aeron chair.

In the 20th century, ambiguity over the pronunciation of "Aaron" was created by naming children after Elvis Aaron Presley rather than after the biblical Aaron. Presley's middle name was originally "Aron" on his birth certificate and pronounced /ærən/ ("a-ran" as in "arrow") by his parents to rhyme with his stillborn brother's name, Garon. Presley later legally amended his middle name to be spelt "Aaron" to match the English biblical Aaron, but without changing the pronunciation.[15] Naming children after Presley effectively created an alternative de facto pronunciation which can now be found in the Oxford American English Dictionary,[16] along with /eIrɪn/ ('ay-ron' as in "A to Z") which is heard in the American deep south. Since the 1980s this pronunciation has sometimes been used in the UK (where it is regarded by some British as having 'chav' connotations along with rhyming names like Darren and Sharon).[17] However the difference in these pronunciations in American English is often small or nonexistent due to its longer "a" than British English, as can be heard in American media such as episodes of Lost, recorded interviews with Aaron Copland, or Hollywood's 1999 Shakespeare movie, Titus.

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Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Jewish Names". jewfaq.org. Retrieved 2008-01-06. 
  2. ^ MFnames.com - Origin and Meaning of Aaron
  3. ^ Superanskaya, p. 20
  4. ^ a b Petrovsky, p. 31
  5. ^ "The correct pronunciation of Latin according to Roman usage. Rev. Michael de Angelis CRM PhD, 1937.". 
  6. ^ L. Olausson, and C. Sangster. Oxford BBC Guide to Pronciation, Oxford University Press 2006, page 1.
  7. ^ "Pronunciation Guide". Church of Latter Day Saints. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  8. ^ http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/Aaron?q=aaron. Oxford English Dictionary, 2013.
  9. ^ Wells, John C. (1990). "Aaron". Longman Pronunciation Dictionary. Harlow, UK: Longman. p. 2. ISBN 978-0-582-05383-0. 
  10. ^ Bible Pronunciation Guide. ed. William O. Walker III, Harper Collins, 1994, ISBN 0060689625
  11. ^ "Website of the chief rabbi". Jonathan Sacks. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  12. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rsLl8wDLg4. Titus Andronicus, BBC Shakespeare video series, 1985. DVD ASIN:B000KPG7RA
  13. ^ "Andra Mosenboken (Book of Exodus), Swedish Bible". 
  14. ^ "Eaxodus (Book of Exodus), Irish Bible". 
  15. ^ "About the King". Official Elvis Presley site. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  16. ^ http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/american_english/Aaron. Oxford American English Dictionary
  17. ^ "Chav: A Branded Guide to Britain's New Elite. Publisher: Crombie Jardine Publishing Limited, ISBN 1905102011". 

Sources[edit]

  • А. В. Суперанская (A. V. Superanskaya). "Современный словарь личных имён: Сравнение. Происхождение. Написание" (Modern Dictionary of First Names: Comparison. Origins. Spelling). Айрис-пресс. Москва, 2005. ISBN 5-8112-1399-9
  • Н. А. Петровский (N. A. Petrovsky). "Словарь русских личных имён" (Dictionary of Russian First Names). ООО Издательство "АСТ". Москва, 2005. ISBN 5-17-002940-3