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Biblical name, borne by the youngest of the twelve sons of Jacob. His mother Rachel died in giving birth to him, and in her last moments she named him Benoni, meaning ‘son of my sorrow’. His father, however, did not wish him to bear such an ill-omened name, and renamed him Benyamin (Genesis 35:16–18; 42:4). This means either ‘son of the right hand’ or more likely ‘son of the south’ (Hebrew yamin can also mean ‘south’), since Benjamin was the only child of Jacob born in Canaan and not in Mesopotamia to the north. Another tradition is that the second element of the name is a variant of the Hebrew plural noun yamim, which means ‘days’ but is used idiomatically to mean ‘year’ or ‘years’. The name would then mean ‘son of (my) old age’ and refer to the fact that Benjamin was Jacob's youngest child. In the Middle Ages the name was often given to sons whose mothers had died in childbirth. Today it has no such unfortunate associations and it grew enormously in popularity following the release of the film The Graduate (1967), in which Dustin Hoffman played the role of Benjamin Braddock. It is used in Scotland as an Anglicized form of Gaelic Beathan.
160th in the U.S.

Nicknames & variations

Quick facts

Hundreds of thousands
of people in the U.S have this name
420,546
to be exact
624,186
if you include dead people (since the government started keeping track)
District of Columbia
has the most people named Benjamin per capita
1981
marked the height of its popularity
0.07%
99.93%
7%
55+
26%
30-54
29%
13-29
38%
0-12

Top state populations

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