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What is the relationship between the following names that often go together is some combination?


I've encountered many men, young and old, with the following first and middle name combinations: Aryeh Leib, Yehudah Leib, and Yehudah Aryeh; and I know one person whose name is Ari but who goes by "Leibel". I also know of some Holocaust survivors whose "English" names (after emigrating to the U.S./Canada) were Leo and Leon, but whose "Hebrew" (and/or Yiddish) names were some combination of the above.

The first two and the last two are easy, as they are actually related: Ari and Aryeh are variants and both mean "Lion"; Leib and Leibel are the same name with just a diminutive suffix added to the former to create the latter.

I can see the connection between Ari and Aryeh to Yehudah, since the sign for the tribe of Yehudah (Judah) is the lion, based on the verse (Genesis 49:9):
"גּוּר אַרְיֵה יְהוּדָה, מִטֶּרֶף בְּנִי עָלִיתָ; כָּרַע רָבַץ כְּאַרְיֵה וּכְלָבִיא, מִי יְקִימֶנּוּ".

But where do Leib and Leibel come from?

Are they derived from Leo?

UPDATE: I can't believe I missed this prominent example (and nobody else raised it): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yehudah_Aryeh_Leib_Alter

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Thanks for asking. The Russian adaptation is "Lev", which also means "Lion", so I have a personal interest :) – Lev Jul 30 '11 at 18:40
up vote 16 down vote accepted

Leib (as well as Label, Leibush and Loeb) is the Yiddish version of the German Name Loeb which means Lion (from the German for lion, Löwe).

The English equivalent of this name is often Leo or Leon which are root in the Latin word for lion, leo.

[Source: Kolatch, Alfred J. 1984. The Complete Dictionary of English and Hebrew First Names. Middle Village: Jonathan David. 139 and additional personal research]

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Leib is the Yiddish word for lion (aryeh).

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Wait... what? I always assumed it was from Yiddish "ליב" (dear, beloved, from the German lieb). – Joel Spolsky Jul 25 '11 at 21:51
@Joel - That is actually the meaning in some other name-combinations. (I was thinking of mentioning this in the answer, but it seemed off topic.) In the case of Aryeh-Leib, the meaning is quite clearly "lion." – Dave Jul 25 '11 at 22:21
Like Tzvi Hersh. – geoffc Jul 26 '11 at 16:25
@geoffc, Hirsch with an i (yod in Yiddish). – msh210 Jul 27 '11 at 10:00
@msh210 My wife writes Yiddish in English and it looks so weird. Though I have a terrible time reading it in Hebrew. Too many Vov's. – geoffc Jul 28 '11 at 10:07

Perhaps Leib also comes from לָבִיא

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My grandfather was named Yehuda-Leib, and his great-grandson (my cousin's son) shares it. Leib is translation of Arie/ Ari, meaning lion.My own name derives from it, although some of my great-uncles tried writing my name Lieba (from German Liebe = love)

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Welcome to Mi Yodeya. It seems your answer is very similar to some previous answers to this question. – Y ez Nov 9 '14 at 2:08
I think this may be better as a comment, not an answer. – Seth J Nov 10 '14 at 4:49
This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post - you can always comment on your own posts, and once you have sufficient reputation you will be able to comment on any post. – Shokhet Nov 10 '14 at 5:12

I always thought it was Leib : לב : heart


Aryeh Leib : Lion Heart

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Then it would be "Leib Aryeh." Or more correctly (in Ashkenazi pronunciation), "Leiv Aryeh." – Dave Jul 25 '11 at 22:22
I think this might be better suited as a comment than an answer. – Seth J Nov 10 '14 at 4:48
@SethJ I think it's an answer even if it is wrong and poorly sourced – Double AA Nov 20 '14 at 3:42
@double "I always thought x" is perfect for a comment, not an answer. – Seth J Nov 20 '14 at 4:00

In hebrew the letter sound for 'B' and 'V' are the written using the same letter - 'Bet'. Leib is a transliteration of LEV - or heart. In addition, Hebrew adjectives follow nouns which is vice versa to English. So you and I would write in English, "he is a clever boy" but the Hebrew translation would read "he is a boy clever".

Hence, Ariyeh Leib - translated means "Lion-heart" - a popular mediaeval name.

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