Unusual names intrigue me. Whenever I encounter a name I don’t know, I find myself curious about the origin. Probably this comes somewhat from researching my own names which both my first and last (see the last post Legacy of a Name). Both were for obscure authors and painters people almost never know. Which lets me explain who they are.

Asked a waitress named Sabra if she knew the origins of her name. She had never looked it up, but multiple bank tellers told her it was the name of a desert flower in Arabic. She found it interesting bank tellers are the only people who volunteer that they know about something non-monetary. Told her about my recent discovery Ezra was an anti-miscegenist so my pro-miscegenist parents ironically named me for him. We both laughed about the story.

So I looked up sabra….

The Akkadians used a word sibaru for aloe. Arabic picked it up as sabr. Hebrew picked up the word for cactus in with the introduction of the prickly pear as tzabar. In 1931, Sabra was adopted to mean those Hebrew born in Palestine and distinguish them from those born in Germany or Russia. Ezra would have been much in favor of Sabras, I think.

Didn’t expect it to go in that direction. At least the exercise made me laugh.


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