Tamar (name)

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Tamar (Arabic: تمر, Hebrew: תמר) is a female name of Hebrew origin, meaning "date" (the edible kind), "date palm" or just "palm tree". There are two characters in the Bible with this name. Variants include "Tamara" and "Tamera". The pronunciation of Tamar depends on each so-named person's language, culture, and idiolectic preference; typical pronunciations in English are /ˈtɑːmər/ and /ˈtmər/.

The name was not often used in traditional Jewish societies, possibly because both Biblical characters bearing the name are depicted as involved in controversial sexual affairs. It was, however, among the Biblical names revived and actively promoted by the Zionist pioneers, and is a common female name in contemporary Israel (often shortened, as in other languages, to "Tammy" (תמי) - which is sometimes treated as name on its own).

It is also a popular name among Armenians, sometimes nicknamed "Tamarik", meaning "Little Tamar". According to Armenian folklore, the name of Akhtamar Island in Lake Van is attributed to a peasant boy's longing cries of "Akh (Oh), Tamar!" as he drowns trying to reach his beloved Princess Tamar imprisoned on the island.

It is also common among Georgians, where its origin can be traced either to the above-mentioned Biblical Hebrew characters, to the sky goddess Tamar, who had an important role in the Georgians' mythology before their conversion to Christianity or to a convergence of both.

In turn, the popularity of the name (especially in the version "Tamara") among Russians and other Slavic peoples can in part be traced to the centuries-long political and cultural contacts between Russians and Georgians. In particular, Russia was touched by the fame of the Medieval Queen Tamar of Georgia, reckoned among the greatest of her country's monarchs and who had a Russian husband.

Tamar was also among the Biblical names used by Puritans in the American Colonial Era in the 1600s and 1700s. Puritan families sometimes used names of Biblical characters seen as sinful as a reminder of man's fallen state.[1]

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