Meaning and Name Origin
Esther \e-sther, es-ther\ as a girls' name is pronounced ESS-ter. It is of Persian origin, and the meaning of Esther is "myrtle, bride; star". Biblical: a young beautiful Hebrew woman who became the wife of the Persian king Ahasuerus, and risked herself to save her people. Jews celebrate the festival of Purim in memory of her. Her Hebrew name was Hadassah meaning both "myrtle" and "bride", and the form Esther is a Persian translation of it. It could also derive from Persian stara meaning "star", or be a Hebrew form of the name of the Persian goddess of love and fertility Ishtar. Esther has traditionally been given to girls born during the period of Purim, the feast that celebrates Esther's biblical achievements. The name was later taken up by the Puritans in the 17th century. Though not related in origin, Esther has been used before as an English form of the Irish Gaelic name Aislinn. Swimming actress Esther Williams; cosmetics pioneer Estée Lauder.
Esther is a very prominent first name for females (#132 out of 4276, Top 3%) and also a very prominent last name for all people (#43891 out of 88799, Top 49%). (2000 U.S. Census)
Shown below is the birth name popularity of Esther for girls. Esther reached its peak rank of #30 in the U.S. during the years 1900-1909, and is currently at #203. (Top 1000 Birth Names Records, 2014)
Below is a graphed comparison of the popularity of the girl name Esther and associated names. Ashlynn (#323 in 2014), Hadassah (#701), Estelle (#906), Aisling, Hester, Hetty, Starla, Ettie, Easter, Esta, Aishling, Ester and Essie are the popular alternative forms of Esther (#203 in 2014). These girl names reached the height of their popularity during 1890-1899 and have become much less popular since, with forms like Ester, Ettie, Easter, Esta and Essie becoming somewhat outmoded. Hadassah (#701) and Ashlynn (#323) are two of the more contemporarily stylish names for newborns among these. (Top 1000 Birth Names Records, 2014)