Meaning: Son of my right hand; son of the south
Alternate spellings: Binyamin, Ben, Benji, Benjy, Benny
The origins of the name Benjamin (according to the Old Testament) are kind of a downer, but here goes: Rachel, in the throes of death, gives birth to her twelfth son, and names him Benoni or “son of my sorrow.” Dad (aka Jacob) realizes this is really pretty depressing and changes it to Benyamin, which means “son of the right hand,” or “son of the south,” in honor of the geographic location of his birth.
Creepily, Benjamin hung on to its morbid reputation and it was a name frequently given to sons whose mothers died in childbirth in the Middle Ages, but that was a loooooong time ago so don’t worry about it. On a brighter note, in the U.S., not only has Benjamin been on the charts since the 1880s, but it’s also been in the top 50 since 1974 and is only getting more popular. Celebrity couple Gisele Bündchen and Tom Brady used the name for their son in 2009.
By The Numbers
U.S. Rank by Year
Rank of Similar Names in 2008