08 September 2011

Sidra

Jetta GoudalA simple, multicultural name given to 29 baby girls in the U.S. last year (2010), Sidra is as charming as she is unexpected.

As an English name, Nameberry-approved Sidra is quirky yet on-trend, being a short, exotic import in the style of Layla, Aliyah and Maia; and her appeal lies in her ability to pass for an edgy, offbeat classic – think Phaedra, India, Portia, Aida, Cyrilla. Doesn’t she seem familiar, “not quite English, or American, but not quite not English either”?

For an unapologetically girly name less ordinary than Sandra, Lydia or even Isadora (given to 122 girls in 2010), consider this saucy, pan-Mediterranean beauty.

Arabic Sidra

The Muslim girls’ name Sidra (سدرہ) comes directly from the Arabic name for a type of tree, known as the lotus- or lote-tree in English. The sidra tree (also transcribed sidrah or sidr) is an ancient, holy tree that grows in the Middle East, mentioned in the Bible and the Qur’an. When the prophet Muhammad ascended to Paradise he saw a lote-tree marking the end of the seventh, highest heaven, which he called the sidra-tul-muntaha (سدرة المنتهى‎), “lote-tree of the utmost boundary, of the last frontier” – “beyond which neither prophets nor angels may pass,” only Allah. In Islam it is a symbol of the boundary between the human and the divine, figuratively the highest place in heaven the soul is capable of attaining.

Under the shade of a Sidra tree in Gogub, Salalah, Dhofar


Hebrew Sidra

Sidra (Hebrew: סדרה) is also a modern Jewish name, literally “order, arrangement, sequence” in Hebrew (related to Classical Hebrew seder). Traditionally the Torah is divided into reading portions, one for each Shabbat of the year, so that in one year’s time the text is completed. Apparently this practice inspired a baby girls’ name as a sidra is simply a weekly Torah portion. Allegedly this name is typical of Jews living in North Africa.

Other uses

I’ve also seen Sidra as a short form of Isidra or Ysidra, a Spanish variant of Isidora (“gift of Isis”) – but then, this is probably rare, considering sidra means “cider” in Spanish and the homophone cidra means “citron.” Not that the foods are negative associations, but it could be odd to share a name with them. (But then there’s Ms. Paltrow and her Apple, so who’s to say?)

And as for the “starry” meaning that many sites attribute to Sidra, take it with a grain of salt. In all likelihood it’s based on a made-up etymology from the Dictionary of Given Names (1934), which reads: “Sidra (Latin) Relating to a constellation or to the stars.” Author Flora Haines Loughead apparently traced it back to Latin sidereus “like a star,” from which we get English sidereal, but then, I’m afraid Loughead proves herself a loosey-goosey etymologist (according to her, Sidonie means “an enchantress,” as just one example).

However, it is interesting that the similar-sounding Indian name Sitara means “star” in Hindi. I suppose I’ll leave it with “make of this what you will.”



From a mystical symbol of paradise to a contracted Isidora, Sidra is a solid yet untapped choice that I’ve admired for some time now. She’s darkly romantic with a dash of roughness, and spunky nickname options include Sidda, Sid and Dree. She’d also make a good name for a cat, yes?


Similar names: Cedar, Cedric, Siddalee, Siddiqa, Siddhi, Syritha, Sirona, Sidsel

11 comments:

  1. I really like Sidra. I think it is really lovely, snappy and full of spunk.

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  2. Just wanted to mention that my name is Sidra, and my mother most definitely gave it to me because of the Latin/English derivative for the stars.

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  3. My name is Sidra and I hate it. It sounds ok if you can pronounce the d like 'th' in the, and the r is rolled, but pretty much all English speakers can't do that, so it ends up as Seed-ra, or Sid-rah. I dislike the hard dental sound in the middle. Names in hard dental sounds in middle sound better with 3 syllables to break it up. I've noticed that people rarely say my name. But they do say my friends' names as they are easy and flow off the tongue. I want to change my name but everyone knows me by it.

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  4. My name is Sidra and I hate it. It sounds ok if you can pronounce the d like 'th' in the, and the r is rolled, but pretty much all English speakers can't do that, so it ends up as Seed-ra, or Sid-rah. I dislike the hard dental sound in the middle. Names in hard dental sounds in middle sound better with 3 syllables to break it up. I've noticed that people rarely say my name. But they do say my friends' names as they are easy and flow off the tongue. I want to change my name but everyone knows me by it.

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  5. My name is Sidra... I hated my name because I found out it was 'tree' in Arabic, but now that I know it's something less embarrasing in Hebrew and Latin, I feel more confident. Thank you. :)

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  6. My name is Sidra and I absolutely love my name. First of all, it doesn't just mean "tree" as someone mentioned above, it's more than that. I love the way it's pronouced (for me it's pronounced like sid-ruh with a rolled r), and love how uncommon it is. It's fun having a unique name. I also have a few nicknames such as sid (which i dislike because it reminds me of ice age and that annoying kid in toy story), sidoor, sidoora (goes with the nickname sidoora al amoura which means sidra the beautiful), sidr, and susu. You can be creative! I have only met like two people with my name in my life.

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  8. To make a small correction, it is not listed in the Bible as a kind of lotus tree (as you allude). The name is mentioned in Acts 27:17 as Syrtis, a gulf above Libya (Africa), now known in modern days as the Gulf of Sidra. The Apostle Paul was nearly shipwrecked in the gulf on his trip to Rome. It's a treacherous waterway and used today for tuna fishing. My daughter's name is Sidra, given to her in 1991. We named her after a cousin of mine whose name was given to her in 1966. We pronounce it "ceedra," but when I'm especially loving toward my daughter, I will roll the r. She loves her name!

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  9. شما به هر حرفه ای که مشغول باشید، حتما به این موضوع فکر کرده اید که چقدر خوب بود که اگرفن بیان خوبی داشتید، اینکار را ما به راحتی به شما آموزش میدهیم فن بیان در واقع میزان نفوذ سخن شما در افراد را شامل می شود. یعنی اینکه صحبتهای ما به چه میزان در افراد اثرگذار خواهد بود. هنگامی که از فن بیان خوبی برخوردار نباشیم مدام نادیده گرفته می شویم و همین امر موجب می شود که اعتماد به نفس خود را از دست داده و دچار اضطراب گردیم. برای بهبود فن بیان روش های گوناگونی وجود دارد که هریک از این روشها از جنبه های گوناگون مورد سنجش و بررسی قرار گرفته است. ارتباط چشمی ، لبخند زدن و اشتیاق برخی از این راهها می باشد.

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