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Tamar (Hebrew: תמר) is a female name of Hebrew origin, meaning "date" (the fruit), "date palm" or just "palm tree". There are three characters in the Bible with this name. The pronunciation of Tamar depends on each so-named person's language, culture, and idiolectic preference; typical pronunciations in English are // and //. Variants include "Tamara".
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.
Tamar is 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 regnant 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 17th and 18th centuries. Puritan families sometimes used names of Biblical characters seen as sinful as a reminder of man's fallen state.
People with the given name Tamar
- Tamar (Genesis), daughter-in-law of Judah in the Bible
- Tamar (daughter of David), daughter of King David and full sister of his son Absalom in the Bible
- Tamar of Georgia (1160–1213), Georgian queen
- Tamar of Imereti (died 1556), Georgian princess
- Tamar of Kartli (1696–1746), Georgian queen consort
- Tamar of Mukhrani (died 1683), Georgian princess
- Támar (born 1980), American singer
- Tamar Abakelia (1905–1953), Georgian artist
- Tamar Amilakhori (fl. 17th-century), Safavid concubine of Georgian origin
- Tamar Beruchashvili (born 1961), Georgian politician
- Tamar Braxton (born 1977), American singer
- Tamar Garb (born 1957), British art historian
- Tamar Gendler (born 1965), American philosopher
- Tamar Gozansky (born 1940), Israeli politician
- Tamar Hermann (born 1957), Israeli political scientist
- Tamar Jacoby (born 1954), American writer
- Tamar Kaprelian (born 1986), American singer
- Tamar Katz (born 1988), Israeli figure skater
- Tamar Sanikidze (born 1978), Georgian politician
- Tamar Simon Hoffs (born 1934), American film director
- Tamar Slay (born 1980), American basketball player
- Tamar Tatuashvili (born 1991), Georgian football player
- Tamar Tavadze (1898–1975), Georgian artist
- Tamar Zandberg (born 1976), Israeli politician
People with the surname Tamar
- Hilary Tamar, fictional character in the novels of Sarah Caudwell
Equivalents in other languages
- Charles Wareing Endell Bardsley, Curiosities of Puritan Nomenclature
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