"Suri" doesn’t appear to mean "Princess"

Not to go down too deep into the sordid realm of “gossip blogging” but I came across this story that had a bit of a linguistic bent and it was tangentially related enough I figured I’d post it here.

As many (everyone?) knows Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes welcomed and addition into the world yesterday named “Suri”, and according to the happy couple’s publicist:

The name Suri has its origins in Hebrew, meaning “princess,” or Persian, meaning “red rose,” the statement said.

Source: People’s Daily Online

Apparently the thought of this has had some people who are more familiar with Hebrew a little amused:

“Nobody here has ever really heard of it,” an announcer on Israel’s Army Radio said during a discussion Thursday. The Yediot Ahronot newspaper agreed in its half page splash on the celebrity birth.

“We seem to have learned a new Hebrew word and from Tom Cruise, no less,” said a Channel 2 TV anchorman.

Source: ABC News

The way the article describes it getting “princess” from “Suri” is a pretty circuitous route and even then it’s a bit of a jump to make the final connection.

You can’t blame the Cruise’s though a quick search for “Suri” on babynames.com came back with “Princess” as the meaning. I wonder if it’s simply a case of “lost in translation” as names get handed down and such.

It’d be interesting to know what level of research/fact checking actually goes into Baby Name books and the origins.

UPDATE: Evidentally not much fact checking takes place. If you click through to the record for Suri on Babynames.com now they’ve changed the meaning overnight to be “Wealthy”. Well we know that Suri is certainly that.

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  • judyscastle

    Actually, the day little Suri was born I looked up the name on-line at several baby name websites. None of them had Suri. The Hebrew name that means “princess” is Sarah and other derivatives from Sarah such as Sara, Sarai, Sari, etc. There was never a Suri mentioned. I’m sure the discrepancy is that Suri must be the scientology translation.

  • neil

    Yes, stars do name their babies really weird names like Moxie, and Pilot Inspektor. But what’s awful about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’s latest entry in the celebrity baby names contest is this: in a region of southern India, “Suri” actually means “pointy-nosed!” Check out the full details at Celebrity Baby Names Blog

  • Shoshannah Forbes

    To say that “Sarah” mean “Princess” is a bit of a stretch- “Sarah” is either “minster” (female form), or named after the biblical figure. Although there might have been a legend that the biblical Sarah was a princess, that isn’t what comes to mind when you say the name, at least to modern Hebrew speakers.

  • Anonymous