Lebanese Villages: Their Meanings & Roots – part 4. By Mabelle Kreidi

Tanbourit comes from Persian “Tanbour”, in English it is Tambour, a musical instrument.

Alma el Chaab

From עלם علم a common semite word having 2 meanings: 1 – cryptic 2 – sexual maturity / adolescence. In Phoenician עלמא alma means girl & the world, in Syriac ܥܠܡܐ means world.


Herum-Il “The Aroma of God”. It can also come from Haram Il which means “God’s Sanctuary”. Or from “Her” which means Mountain & “Mla” מלא which means Generous, thus “Generous Mountain”.


Origins from Syriac, ܥܝܢܐܬܐ , means “the Eyes Of water” (عيون الماء). There’s another village called Ainata in the Bint Jbeil district.


The name Bsharre can be found in Phoenician language, ‘Bet Ishtar’ meaning the house of Ishtar. Ishtar being a Phoenician Goddess. Aramaic was spoken in Bsharre until the 19th century.


From Phoenician ‘beit runa” which translates to “house of Chief”.


Comes from Syriac Aramaic, meaning Temple of Eshamun, a Phoenician God.


From bet shinnata ܒܝܬ ܫܢܐܬܐ in Syriac “Land of the towering high rocks and the serrated (teeth like) peaks”, indeed the land of Bchennata is serrated as its name implies.


Resh Debbine ܪܫ ܕܒܝܢ means “The residence of Bears” or “The tip of the tails”. The 2nd part can be from Dappin ܕܦܝܢ meaning Boat plates and rudders

Ehden & Zgharta

It’s derived from the word Eden in Phoenician. The name Ehden means the base of the mountain which complies with Ehden’s actual location. Similarly, Zgharta, it either comes from the Aramaic word ‘Zaghar’ meaning the fortress or the Syriac word ‘Zeghartay’ meaning the barricades.


From the word hemlayé — > bet hmalé in Syriac which means Grain/Harvest Depot or something of the sort. It can also have a Hebrew origin from the word Heml (חמל) which means mercy & peace.


Brummana has an Aramaic name, which most probably means ‘house of Rammana’, the God of air, storm and thunder.


It derives it’s name from Aramaic “Am Yawan” meaning place of the Greeks. It’s worthy to note Amioun‘s population is predominantly Greek Orthodox.


Amsheet is found in Phoenician papyrus and parchment, where it is repeatedly referred to as ‘Promised land’.


It is widely believed that the name Ehmej is adapted from Syriac by replacing the Gh with a J. The meaning of the old Syriac word is “Top of the Valley”, perhaps it is due to its location that oversees the Fidar valley.


‘Jaj’’ name’s is originally Phoenician, meaning the top, since Jaj is the most elevated town among all the surrounding villages.


Hadshit’s name might come from Phoenician (Hadash) new moon or half moon, so Hadashit would mean ‘the new one’ or the ‘new village’. In Syriac it means one of the six temples that were built by Baltimos the 5th.


Syriac origin, “Beit Aakline” meaning the place of knots and turns.


This word ‘Aley’ derivatives from Aramaic, and means “high place”, referring to the City’s high attitude above sea level.


This name derives from the Hebrew “‛ănâyâh”, meaning “God (Yahweh) has answered”. Anaiah is the name of two people in the Bible. Anaiah was a priest who assisted Ezra in rebuilding the Temple. The other Anaiah was one of the heads of people who signed the covenant with Nehemiah.


The name Bsous derives from the Phoenician “Bet Sus” and means place of horses.

Bet Shabeb

This name comes from Syriac ‘Bet Shbaba’ meaning house of the neighbor.


The name Bikfaya is contraction of the Aramaic (Syriac) compound phrase “Beit Kiifa”, בית קיפיא, with “Kifayya” being the relative adjective of the word “rock” or “stone” in Aramaic. And so, Bikfaya would mean the “house of stone” or “the rocky/stony house” with the semantic connotation of “the place, location of stones, or stone quarry.”


Syriac origins, meaning “moving places”


Canaanite origin “Doumah” Meaning “calm”.

Tripoli & Sidon

Sidon: The Phoenician name Ṣīdūn (𐤑𐤃𐤍, ṣdn) probably meant “fishery” or “fishing town”. It appears in Biblical Hebrew as Ṣīḏōn (צִידוֹן) and in Syriac as Ṣidon (ܨܝܕܘܢ). This was hellenized as Sidṓn (Greek: Σιδών), which was Latinized as Sidon. In the Book of Genesis, Sidon was the first-born son of Canaan, who was a son of Ham, thereby making Sidon a great-grandson of Noah.

Tripoli: Under the Phoenicians, the name Athar was used to refer to Tripoli. When the Ancient Greeks settled in the city they called it Τρίπολις (Tripolis), meaning “three cities”


It’s name comes from a verb meaning to “pierce/to make a hole in some protruding rock”, and is to be found in the Talmud.


Phoenician/Hebrew origins (brt) “Be’rot”, meaning “the Wells”


Origins from Syriac — ”Sephro” or “Saphro” Meaning: “bird” or “morning”.


The name Tyre means “rock”, after the rocky formation on which the town was originally built. Most locals call it “Sour”, this comes from Phoenician 𐤑𐤓 Ṣūr; Syriac-Aramaic: ܣܘܪ.


Origin: Syriac, meaning “crop collectors”.


Origins are may be the Aramaic word for “King”. The root of Mlikh “king” in Semitic language is mlk.


It comes from “Sefta” meaning “The Edge” in Aramaic.

There are probably way more villages with names rooted in Syriac/Aramaic/Phoenician and even Hebrew, if I missed your village/area let me know! And if you’re interested to know about more Lebanese villages with Syriac/Aramaic origins check “Le lexique des localités libanaises” by Anis Freiha.
Special thanks to @LBMaronites (Twitter account) for shedding light on most of this information and on Lebanon’s Syriac Aramaic heritage.