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

  • 1
    Thanks for asking. The Russian adaptation is "Lev", which also means "Lion", so I have a personal interest :)
    – Lev
    Commented Jul 30, 2011 at 18:40

6 Answers 6


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]


Leib is the Yiddish word for lion (aryeh).

  • 2
    Wait... what? I always assumed it was from Yiddish "ליב" (dear, beloved, from the German lieb). Commented Jul 25, 2011 at 21:51
  • 1
    @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
    Commented Jul 25, 2011 at 22:21
  • 1
    Like Tzvi Hersh.
    – geoffc
    Commented Jul 26, 2011 at 16:25
  • 1
    @geoffc, Hirsch with an i (yod in Yiddish).
    – msh210
    Commented Jul 27, 2011 at 10:00
  • 1
    @msh210 It's pronounced with an 'e' in some dialects.
    – magicker72
    Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 21:34

Perhaps Leib also comes from לָבִיא


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)

  • Welcome to Mi Yodeya. It seems your answer is very similar to some previous answers to this question. Commented Nov 9, 2014 at 2:08
  • 2
    I think this may be better as a comment, not an answer.
    – Seth J
    Commented Nov 10, 2014 at 4:49

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.


I always thought it was Leib : לב : heart


Aryeh Leib : Lion Heart

  • Then it would be "Leib Aryeh." Or more correctly (in Ashkenazi pronunciation), "Leiv Aryeh."
    – Dave
    Commented Jul 25, 2011 at 22:22
  • I think this might be better suited as a comment than an answer.
    – Seth J
    Commented Nov 10, 2014 at 4:48
  • @SethJ I think it's an answer even if it is wrong and poorly sourced
    – Double AA
    Commented Nov 20, 2014 at 3:42
  • @double "I always thought x" is perfect for a comment, not an answer.
    – Seth J
    Commented Nov 20, 2014 at 4:00

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