A baby’s name is the first gift we give them, so it’s important to be thoughtful about it. Sometimes, the perfect name is a short and sweet one — and it’s surprising how much meaning a one-syllable name can pack. (In fact, one of the Hebrew words for gift is Shay, which is itself a beautiful, one-syllable name.)
So if you’re in the process of naming your child, or helping others with a baby name, I would encourage you to peruse this list of lovely one-syllable names. After all, everyone knows the best things come in small packages.
Bar — Bar means “wild” (as in wild flowers) as well as “crops” in Hebrew. A famous Bar is, of course, supermodel and super mama Bar Refaeli.
Chen — Chen means “grace” and “beauty” in Hebrew.
Dar — Dar is a biblical type of fancy marble, it’s mentioned in the Book of Esther.
Dor — Dor is the Hebrew word for “generation.”
Gil — Gil means “joy” in Hebrew.
Gal — Gal means “wave” in Hebrew. Name your child (of any gender) after our favorite Israeli actress, Wonder Woman Gal Gadot.
Lee — This name means “for me” in Hebrew.
Mor — This name means “myrrh” in Hebrew. (And, in case you’re wondering, in English, myrrh is a type of resin from certain trees.)
Nir — Nir is a biblical Hebrew word for “plowed field.” It’s a very popular name for boys in Israel, but it can also be a unisex name.
Nof — This name in Hebrew means “a view” — especially a beautiful, pastoral one.
Noy — Noy means “beauty” in Hebrew.
Or — Or means “light” in Hebrew.
Paz — Paz the biblical name for a special kind of gold, it also means something that is very precious.
Raz — Raz means “mysterious” or “something hidden” in Hebrew.
Ron — This name means “joy” or “song.” While it’s typically a boy’s name on this side of the Atlantic, in Israel it is a unisex name.
Shay— Shay is a Hebrew name that means “gift.”
Shir —Shir means “song” in Hebrew.
Tal —Tal means “morning dew” in Hebrew. A famous Tal is Tal Bachman, the one-hit wonder behind the song “She’s so High”‘
Tom — While most of us are used to Tom deriving from Thomas, Tom is actually a Hebrew word mentioned in the bible. It means “innocence” and “integrity,” and the name in Israel can be used for any gender. Now you can name your child after any of your favorite Toms (such as Hanks, Cruise, or Hiddleston) and still feel Jew-y.
Tzuf — Tzuf name means “nectar” in Hebrew.
Yam — Yam is the Hebrew word for “sea.”
Ziv — Ziv means “brilliance” or “glow” in Hebrew.
Abe — Abe is short for Abraham, the biblical patriarch.
Baer — Baer is the Yiddish word for “bear”.
Ben — Ben is short for Benjamin, Jacob’s youngest son and one of the 12 tribes. Benjamin means “son of right hand.” Ben is also the Hebrew word for “boy.”
Dan — Dan is short for Daniel, meaning “G-d is my Judge” and the biblical prophet from the Book of Daniel.
Din — Din means “judgment” in Hebrew.
Dov — Dov is the Hebrew word for “bear.”
Guy — Guy is the Hebrew word for “valley.”
Gabe — Gabe is short for Gavriel or Gabriel, the biblical angel, meaning “strength in G-d.”
Gad — Gad, one of Jacob’s sons from the bible and one of the 12 tribes, means “fortune.”
Gur — Gur is the Hebrew word for “cub.”
Joel/Yoel—Joel is a biblical prophet and Hebrew for “the Lord is God.”
Lev —This name means “heart” in Hebrew
Leib — Leib is the Yiddish word for “lion.”
Mike — Mike is short for Michael, meaning “who is like G-d.”
Nate — Nate is short for Nathaniel, meaning “G-d has given.”
Zach — Zach is short for Zachariah or Zechariah, the biblical king. Zachariah means “G-d has remembered.”
Zev — Zev is Hebrew for “wolf.”
Deah — Deah is the Hebrew word for “opinion” or “knowledge.”
Eve — Eve is the first biblical woman, the English version of the name Chava.
Gail — Gail is short for Avigayl or Abigail, King David’s third wife.
Joan — The female version of Yonathan or Jonathan, which means “G-d has given” or “G-d’s gift.”
Ruth — Ruth is a biblical character from the Book of Ruth. You can name your daughter after a more contemporary iconic Jewish Ruth, like Dr. Ruth or Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Lior Zaltman is a contributing writer to JTA and Jlife Magazine.