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Chayyim (Hebrew: חַיִּיםḤayyīm, Classical Hebrew: [ħajˈjiːm], Israeli Hebrew: [ˈχa.im, ħaˈjim]), also transcribed Haim, Hayim, Chayim, or Chaim (English pronunciations: /hm/ HYME, /xm/ KHYME, /ˈxɑːjm/ KHAH-yeem), is a name of Hebrew origin which means "life". Its first usage can be traced to the Middle Ages. It is a popular name among Jewish people.[1] The feminine form for this name is Chaya[2] (Hebrew: חַיָּהḤayyah, Classical Hebrew: [ħajˈjaː], Israeli Hebrew: [ˈχaja, ħaˈja]; English pronunciations: /ˈhɑːjɑː/ HAH-yah, /ˈxɑːjɑː/ KHAH-yah).

Chai is the Hebrew word for "alive". According to Kaballah, the name Hayim helps the person to remain healthy, and people were known to add Hayim as their second name to improve their health. {Among Serbians, the name "Vuk", meaning "wolf", as well as Idir ("he will live") among Kabyles, was for similar reasons given to weak and ill infants.} The Latin name Vivianus, the origin of the modern Vivian, is ultimately related to the adjective vivus "alive" – though the derivation might be more indirect than with the Hebrew name.[3]

In the United States, Chaim is a common spelling; however, since the phonemic pattern is unusual for English words, Hayim is often used as an alternative spelling. The "ch" spelling comes from transliteration of the Hebrew letter "chet", which also starts words like Chanukah, Channa, etc., which can also be spelled as Hanukah and Hannah. It is cognate to the Arabic word حياة (ḥayāh), with the same meaning, deriving from the same Proto-Semitic root.

L'Chaim in Hebrew is a toast meaning "to life". When a couple becomes engaged, they get together with friends and family to celebrate. Since they drink l'chaim ("to life"), the celebration is also called a l'chaim.

Hebrew letters are also used as numerals, and the Hebrew letters that spell "chai" also stand for the number 18. Thus, 18 is considered a lucky number in Jewish culture. It is common to give gifts and contributions to charity in multiples of 18.

Among Argentine Jews, the Spanish name Jaime (Spanish: [ˈxajme], a Spanish cognate of James) is often chosen for its phonetic similarity to Haim.

Hayim is a non-governmental organization that works on a voluntary basis to provide relief and support for pediatric oncology patients in Israel.

People named Haim[edit]

Notable people with the name include:


  1. ^ Mike Campbell. "Meaning, Origin and History of the Name Chayyim". Behind the Name. Retrieved 2013-08-12.
  2. ^ Mike Campbell. "Meaning, Origin and History of the Name Chaya". Behind the Name. Retrieved 2013-08-12.
  3. ^ Bruce W. Frier, Thomas A. J. McGinn, Thomas A. McGinn, A Casebook on Roman Family Law, Oxford University Press, 2004, p. 477.