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Gender: F Meaning of Esther: "star" Origin of Esther: Persian Esther's Popularity in 2014: #203

One of the major female figures in the Old Testament, quiet, studious Esther was in the Top 50 a hundred years ago, and stayed in the Top 100 until 1935. It is now on the ascent again, appealing to parents -- Ewan McGregor is one -- seeking an underused biblical name with a strong history and serious image.

In the Bible, Esther, originally named Hadassah, was the captured Jewish wife of the King of Persia who risked her life to save her exiled people from annihilation, a story celebrated by Jews on the holiday of Purim, so that it has traditionally been given to girls around that time.

Judy Garland played two memorable Esthers--in Meet Me in St. Louis and A Star is Born; Esther Summerson is a main character in Dickens' Bleak House and Esther Greenwood is the autobiographical character's name in Sylvia Plath's A Bell Jar. Someone who glamorized the name is champion swimmer-turned-movie-star Esther Williams.

Madonna adopted Esther as her Kaballah name.

Famous People Named Esther

Esther Armah, Ghanaian playwright, radio host, and political commentator
Esther Freud, English writer, author of Hideous Kinky
Esther Hicks, American self-help author
Esther Jones, a.k.a. Baby Esther, Cotton Club singer and inspiration for Betty Boop
Esther de Lange, Dutch MEP
Esther Lofgren, American rower
Esther Rose McGregor (b. 2001), daughter of Ewan McGregor
Esther Ouwehand, Dutch MP
Esther Eggertsen Peterson, American consumer advocate
Esther Ralston, American silent-film actress
Esther Louise Rantzen, English TV journalist
Esther Ople Rueher, American author
Esther Sittler, French senator
Esther Jane Williams, American swimmer and actress
Esther Earl, "The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green was dedicated to her

Pop Culture References for the name Esther

Esther Drummond, character on TV's "Torchwood"
Esther Earl, founder of the This Star Won't Go Out Foundation and "Esther Day," where you tell your family that you love them
Esther Summerson, character in Charles Dickens' "Bleak "House"
Esther Smith, character in movie "Meet Me in St. Louis
Esther, character in movie "Orphan"
Esther Mikaelson, witch on TV's "Vampire Diaries" & "The Originals"
Esther Blodgett, character in "A Star is Born" who becomes Vicki Lester
Esther Greenwood, main character in "The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Plath
Esther Clavin, Cliff's mother on TV's "Cheers"
Esther Bloom, character British soap "Hollyoaks"
Esther, character in "Star of Babylon" by Barbara Wood
Esther Litt Edelstein, character on "Suits"
Esther Walker; Addy's sister in the "American Girl" books

Hesther, Essa, Hettie, Essy, Etti, Esti, Etty, Essey, Esta, Hittie, Ettie, Estee, Ettey, Essie, Esthur, Hetty

Esther's International Variations

Estée (French) Estzer, Ester, Eszter, Eszti (Slavic) Eistir (Irish)