Esther Origin and Meaning

The name Esther is a girl's name of Persian origin meaning "star".

Esther was derived from the Old Persian word stāra, meaning "star." In the Old Testament, 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. This story is celebrated by Jews on the holiday of Purim, so that it has traditionally been given to girls around that time.

One of the major female figures in the Bible, 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.

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.

# 138 in the US

Esther Rank in US Top 1000

# 126 on Nameberry

Esther Rank in Nameberry Top 1000

Esther Popularity

Famous People Named Esther

  • EstherJewish Queen of Persia who saved her people; subject of the Biblical Book of Esther
  • Esther Jane WilliamsAmerican swimmer and actress
  • Esther Elizabeth RolleAmerican actress
  • Esther Pauline "Eppie" Lederer aka Ann LandersAmerican advice columnist
  • Esther ArmahBritish playwright, radio host, and political commentator
  • Esther FreudEnglish novelist
  • Esther HicksAmerican self,help author
  • Esther Marjorie HillCanadian architect
  • Esther Jones aka Baby EstherAmerican jazz singer; inspiration for Betty Boop
  • Esther 'Essie' DavisAustralian actress
  • Esther Grace EarlAmerican cancer activist; dedicatee of "The Fault in Our Stars"
  • Esther Edwards Burrdiarist and mother of U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr
  • Esther LofgrenAmerican rower
  • Esther de LangeDutch MEP
  • Esther CardosoCuban actress
  • Esther OuwehandDutch MP
  • Esther Eggertsen PetersonAmerican consumer advocate
  • Esther RalstonAmerican silent,film actress
  • Esther Louise RantzenEnglish TV journalist
  • Esther OfarimIsraeli pop singer
  • Esther Ople RueherAmerican author
  • Esther SittlerFrench senator
  • Esther PovitskyAmerican comedian of duo Esther & Benji
  • Esther Schmuckerdaughter of TV personalities Chester and Mary Schmucker of "Breaking Amish"
  • Esther Rose McGregor (b. 2001)daughter of Ewan McGregor
  • Esther Malone (b. 2010)daughter of choirmaster and TV personality Gareth Malone
  • Esther Testud (b. 2011)daughter of actress Sylvie Testud
  • Esther Ballantine Hawkins (b. 2015)daughter of singer Sophie B. Hawkins

Esther in Pop Culture

  • Esthertwelfth book in the Bible
  • Esther Drummondcharacter on TV's "Torchwood"
  • Esther Summersoncharacter in Charles Dickens' "Bleak "House"
  • Esther Smithcharacter in movie "Meet Me in St. Louis
  • EstherAKA Leena Klammer, character in movie "Orphan"
  • Esther Mikaelsonwitch on TV's "Vampire Diaries" & "The Originals"
  • Esther Blodgettcharacter in "A Star is Born" who becomes Vicki Lester
  • Esther Greenwoodmain character in "The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Plath
  • Esther ClavinCliff's mother on TV's "Cheers"
  • Esther Bloomcharacter British soap "Hollyoaks"
  • Esthercharacter in "Star of Babylon" by Barbara Wood
  • Esther Litt Edelsteincharacter on "Suits"
  • Esther Walker; Addy's sister in the "American Girl" books
  • Esthercharacter in the "Lights Out" movies
  • Porpentina Esther "Tina" Goldsteincharacter in "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" by J.K. Rowling
  • Esther WaltonGrandma on TV show "The Waltons"

Esther in Nameberry Blog Posts