Biblical name (meaning ‘ewe’ in Hebrew), borne by the beloved wife of Jacob and mother (after long barrenness) of Joseph (Genesis 28–35) and of Benjamin, at whose birth she died. In the Middle Ages and subsequently this was regarded as a characteristically Jewish name, but it is now also popular among Gentiles.
French and Jewish: metronymic from the female name Esther, from Hebrew Ester, the name borne in the Bible by a Jewish captive of the Persian King Ahasuerus. According to the Biblical story, she became his favorite concubine and by her wise persuasion managed to save the Jews of Persia from the machinations of the royal counselor Haman. Her name is probably a derivative of Persian esther ‘star’.