Biblical name, borne by a Jewish captive who became the wife of the Persian king Ahasuerus. Her Hebrew name was Hadassah ‘myrtle’, and the form Esther is said to be a Persian translation of this, although others derive it from Persian stara ‘star’. It may also be a Hebrew form of the name of the Persian goddess Ishtar. According to the book of the Bible that bears her name, Esther managed, by her perception and persuasion, to save large numbers of the Jews from the evil machinations of the royal counsellor Haman. See also Hester.