Biblical name, meaning ‘Jewess’ or ‘woman from Judea’, borne by a Jewish heroine whose story is recorded in the Book of Judith in the Apocrypha. Judith is portrayed as a beautiful widow who delivers her people from the invading Assyrians by gaining the confidence of their commander, Holofernes, and cutting off his head while he is asleep; without their commander, the Assyrians are duly routed. This has been a perennially popular Jewish name. In the English-speaking world it was taken up in the 16th century, having been in occasional use among Gentiles before this: for example, it was borne by a niece of William the Conqueror. It enjoyed great popularity between the 1940s and the 1960s. Today's notable bearers include the American novelist Judith Krantz (b. 1928) and the Scottish composer Judith Weir (b. 1954).