Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Emma, Emmaline, Emily etc; these name's origins, how old, are all the same etc ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   4 Comments )
Subject: Emma, Emmaline, Emily etc; these name's origins, how old, are all the same etc
Category: Family and Home > Parenting
Asked by: johnfrommelbourne-ga
List Price: $6.00
Posted: 18 Aug 2003 04:24 PDT
Expires: 17 Sep 2003 04:24 PDT
Question ID: 245906
I could do it myself perhaps but someone else is keen  right now(for
reasons important to her and I,  but does not matter to you I guess)
to find out ASAP as to the origins and  historic meanings of the name
Emma particularly, but also those very similar names as old or older.
In relation to names that appear derivitives of Emma, or
conversely,Emma is a derivitive of another name beginning EMM or EM,
are they, Emma itself,or any one of them biblical in origin, (perhaps
Jewish in  origin?)  as I suspect I have heard the name Emma used or
written in a film or article relating to the very early Christian/Judo
era; or perhaps not??
 If not, or in any case, what are the meanings of such names, or name,
 if all the same but just variations of one only EM name,  how old?,
is there any other variations on the name which I have not shown
above?? etc,

 ....and of course anything else you can add would be most helpful

Clarification of Question by johnfrommelbourne-ga on 18 Aug 2003 04:48 PDT
Dear Researcher,
                  It would help greatly if you could actually confirm
one way or another that Emma itself particularly was used in biblical
times and had any biblical connotations such as names like Peter,
John, Paul, Mary etc. Or in fact lilkewise for one of the derivitives,
if not Emma itself.

 Thanks again,

 John From Melbourne
Subject: Re: Emma, Emmaline, Emily etc; these name's origins, how old, are all the same
Answered By: tehuti-ga on 18 Aug 2003 05:40 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello John,

There seems to be agreement about Emma being of Teutonic origin. 
Total consensus is lacking on the meaning, but most people seem to
favour “universal” or related meanings, deriving from the Old German
word “irmin” or “ermin”.   Apart from the opinion on the first web
site listed below, Emily is considered to have a separate derivation
from Emma, and has the meaning “industrious”.  Other variants relate
to one or other name, although Em, Emmy, Emmie are used as pet names
for both.
Emma signifies "the deserving", "the worthy" and "the diligent". Emma
has been used in Sweden since 1766 and it's originally from Germany.
Emma is a contraction for Emilia.
A web site on Swedish names – available only in Google’s cache

However, most others have Emilia/Emily as a separate name with a
different meaning.

Emma is derived from an Old German word "irmin" meaning "universal" It
came to Britain with the Norman invasion and is recorded in Scotland
in the 12th century. Perhaps the most famous bearer of the name was
Lady Emma Hamilton, Admiral Lord Nelson's mistress.
Derived from Aemilius, a Roman clan.
“Popular Scottish forenames” 

And according to the BBC web site:
Emma(Teutonic)='One who heals the universe'.   [I like that one!]  

A site on Lithuanian names has:
EMELINA: ( f ) Lithuanian form of Emma, "whole" or "universal"
EMILIA: ( f ) Polish feminine form of Emil, "industrious" (Latin) or
"work" (Teutonic).
EMILIJA : ( f ) Polish feminine form of Emil, "industrious" (Latin) or
"work" (Teutonic)., EMELINA,
EMELIN, EMILIE: hard-working

The Name Machine says:
“Emma has been a popular name for girls throughout the century, though
there was a period of decline leading up to the 1970s. Since then,
Emma has seen a considerable increase in popularity as a name for
women. In the 1900s Emma saw some popularity as a name for men, but
the trend didn't last.”
and gives the meaning as: Origin: Teutonic   Meaning:  Ancestress
It gives variants of Emmie and Emmy 

iVillageUK has:
Emma, a 2-syllable girl's name of Teutonic origin, means: Universal;
nurse; ancestress.The ethnic backgrounds of Emma include , Italian ,
Swedish , English/Welsh , French , Hispanic . Entertainers with this
name include , Emma Samms (Movies) , Emma Thompson (Stage) .
Nicknames for Emma are , Em , Emie , Emmalyn , Emmalynn , Emmalynne ,
Emmeline , Emmi , Emmie , Emmy , Emmye
Other names associated with Emma are , Ema , Emelina , Emeline ,
Emelyne , Emmaline
Ema, a 2-syllable girl's name of Teutonic origin, means: Ancestress;
Emelina, a 4-syllable girl's name of Teutonic origin, means: Busy;
Emeline, a 3-syllable girl's name of Teutonic origin, means:
Industrious; intellectual.

Nicknames for Emeline are , Em , Emmeline , Emmy
Emelyne, a 3-syllable girl's name of Teutonic origin, means:
Industrious; intellectual.
Emmaline, a 3-syllable girl's name of Teutonic/French origin, means:
Universal; nurse; ancestress.,8366,3828,00.html
[A certain lack of consistency here!]

Following up the Irmin trail:  According to Encyclopedia Mythica,
Irmin was “The ancient Teutonic god of war. He was worshipped by the
Herminones in the shape of a pillar, called Irminsul ("the Column of
the World") or Hermensul, near Detmold. After each victory sacrifices
were made to him. During the Christianization, Charlemagne had these
columns destroyed (in 772 CE).”

and searching on Irmin also gave:
IRMA: Old German for "whole." Relatives: Irmin, Erman, Ermingarde,
[but Emma is not included as a related name here!]

Although ParentSoup also has:
EMILINE: Old German for "labor." Sweet and old-fashioned; more popular
overseas than in the United States. Relatives: Emmeline, Emaline,
Emmaline, Emyln, Emelyn, Emylin, Emiline, Emmiline, Emmilyne.
EMILY: From the Latin for "eager." A traditional name with a lovely
musical sound. Relatives: Emilie, Emmilie, Emmily, Emil, Em, Emilia,
Emilio, Emile, Emaline, Emeline, Emmaline. Namesakes: Emily Dickinson,
Emilio Estevez.
EMMA: Old German for "all-embracing." Fashionable in the late
nineteenth century and back again. Relatives: Emmie, Emmy, Em, Emmot,
Emmott. Namesakes: Emma Samms, Emmylou Harris, Lady Emma Hamilton,
"Emma Peel."

And the Staffordshire-L list at Rootweb has:
“Emma: (f) Old German 'ermin' (all-embracing), an element in names
such as Irmgard.  A royal name in England when Emma was queen to
Ethelred the Unready, and later to King Canute.  Its use in the Middle
Ages, when it was commonly found, led to surnames such as EMMET,
EMMOT.  These in turn  were used as first names in the 17th c.  Emma
was certainly being used in the 18th c., when it was borne by the
notorious Emma HAMILTON (born Emy LYON, 1765-1815) the beautiful
mistress of Lord NELSON and others.  It was also the name of the
heroine in Jane AUSTEN's 'Emma' in 1816.”
[Note the form Emy here]

The Behind the Name site has:
EM   f   English  Short form of EMILY
EMELIE   f   Swedish  Swedish of EMILY
EMELINA   f   English, Spanish  Feminine form of EMIL
EMELINE   f   French   Feminine form of EMIL
EMELY   f   English  Variant of EMILY
EMIL   m   German, Scandinavian, Czech, Hungarian, Romanian
From the Roman family name Aemilius, which was derived from Latin
aemulus meaning "rival".
ÉMILE   m   French French form of Aemilius (see EMIL). EMILEE   f  
English (Modern)
Variant of EMILY 
EMILIA   f   Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian Feminine form of
Aemilius (see EMIL).
EMILIAN   m   From the Roman family name Aemilianus, which was itself
derived from the family name Aemilius (see EMIL).
EMILIANA   f   Italian, Spanish, Portuguese  Feminine form of EMILIAN
ÉMILIE   f   French  French form of EMILY
EMILIE   f   German  German form of EMILY
EMILY   f   English  Pronounced: EM-i-lee
Medieval feminine form of Aemilius (see EMIL). The British writer
Emily Bronte, author of 'Wuthering Heights', and the American poet
Emily Dickinson are two famous bearers of this name.
EMMA   f   English, French, Italian   Means "whole" or "universal"
from Germanic ermen. This was the name of the mother of Edward the
Confessor. This is also the name of the central character in Jane
Austen's novel 'Emma'.
EMMALINE   f   English   Variant of EMMELINE
EMMELINE   f   English  Medieval pet form of EMMA
EMMET   m   English  From a surname that was derived from the feminine
first name EMMA
EMMETT   m   English  Variant of EMMET
EMMIE   f   English  Pet form of EMMA or EMILY
EMMY   f   English   Pet form of EMMA or EMILY 

The 1911 Britannica has another variant: Imma
“Einhard married Emma, or Imma, a sister of Bernharius, bishop of
Worms, and a tradition of the 12th century represented this lady as a
daughter of Charlemagne, and invented a romantic story with regard to
the courtship which deserves to be noticed as it frequently appears in
literature. Einhard is said to have visited the emperor’s daughter
regularly and secretly, and on one occasion a fall of snow made it
impossible for him to walk away without leaving footprints, which
would lead to his detection. This risk, however, was obviated by the
foresight of Emma, who carried her lover across the courtyard of the
palace; a scene which was witnessed by Charlemagne, who next morning
narrated the occurrence to his counsellors, and asked for their
advice. Very severe punishments were suggested for the clandestine
lover, but the emperor rewarded the devotion of the pair by consenting
to their marriage. This story is, of course, improbable, and is
further discredited by the fact that Einhard does not mention Emma
among the number of Charlemagne’s children.”
Entry for Einhard (c. 770—840), the friend and biographer of

Search strategy: Emma combined with the following (in separate
searches): origins, means, meaning, originates, “first recorded”

I hope that this satisfies your curiosity about the name Emma. 
However, please do request further clarification, if you feel I can
help further.

Clarification of Answer by tehuti-ga on 18 Aug 2003 05:44 PDT
Hello John,

I'm afraid I've been unable so far to find any biblical connotations
for Emma.  The nearest would be Emmanuelle as the feminine form of
Emmanuel.  I'll carry on digging a bit more, but am dubious whether I
will find anything.

Clarification of Answer by tehuti-ga on 18 Aug 2003 06:14 PDT
Nothing in Hitchcok’s Bible Names
or Easton’s Bible Dictionary

The nearest I have found in Hebrew is the word Emuna(h), which means faith/belief.
johnfrommelbourne-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Dear Tehuti,
             Thanks very much for all of that which was more than I
expected for the fee offered. Furthermore you managed to get me back
such a comprehensive answer not that long after I posted question.
Extremely good research work I would think, relative to fee paid
 I was somewhat confident that Emma had biblical origins but given the
evidence you have provided apparently not, so would not think it
necessary for you to go back and research your research at this point.
 Gee you spent so much quality time at it I do hope it was an
interesting question for you and not just mundane work for the few
dollars available. I am just now just trying to remember if you have
answered one of my questions before.


Subject: Re: Emma, Emmaline, Emily etc; these name's origins, how old, are all the same
From: tehuti-ga on 18 Aug 2003 07:33 PDT
Dear John,

How relieving and refreshing when a negative answer does not produce a
negative rating!  I like to dig around word meanings and links between
languages, of which name origins are a part.

As to your other question, we go back a long way ;)
(Alcohol in Saudi Arabia)
Subject: Re: Emma, Emmaline, Emily etc; these name's origins, how old, are all the same etc
From: pinkfreud-ga on 18 Aug 2003 12:03 PDT
What a wonderfully interesting answer!

This may be of interest:

While "Emma" is not a name with roots in Judaism, "Amma" is. I had an
Israeli classmate in college whose first name was Amma. She told me
that the name meant "Servant of God."
Subject: Re: Emma, Emmaline, Emily etc; these name's origins, how old, are all the same etc
From: tehuti-ga on 18 Aug 2003 14:09 PDT
That's interesting, Pink. I was aware of Amma, Abba, for mother and
father, in Hebrew, but not this. It reminds me of amah, which is a
word used to mean servant or nanny in the Far East.
Subject: Re: Emma, Emmaline, Emily etc; these name's origins, how old, are all the same etc
From: ravuri-ga on 10 Nov 2003 14:38 PST
Pinkfreud's classmate is incorrect. Ammah (in Hebrew) means female
servant, corresponding with what Tehuti wrote. The parents of
Pinkfreud's classmate might have had God in mind, but that doesn't
change the meaning of the name.

BTW, the Hebrew word for mother is not Amma, but Imma (pronounced
EE-mah) or Eim (pronounced AYM).


Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy