Samantha, your name is so cool! Its past is really mysterious. It’s reportedly from Biblical Hebrew and is a feminine version of Samuel, but it doesn’t appear in the Bible and it can’t be understood in Hebrew. We don’t have records of the name until the 19th century, where it was lumped in with obscure flower-names for girls. So, this name is pretty recently invented, but how it was made is obscure. It’s likely a combination of the nickname Sam (from Samuel) and Anthea, a popular name based on the word “blossom” in Ancient Greek. This recombining of names was popular back then, getting us names like Marianne and Annabeth, so this is very plausible.
So, how to translate this. I’ll divide this into two camps – “Sam-flower” to reflect the name-within-a-name and “Name-flower” because the “Sam” part of “Samuel” comes from the Hebrew word Shem, which means “name.”
Let’s start with “Sam-blossom.” The Sindarin word for “Blossom” is Loth. Sam can remain Sam because it fits in perfectly with Sindarin phonology. It does, however, already have a Sindarin meaning: “room, chamber.” That means it could be misread as “Chamber Blossom,” but that meaning isn’t too weird. The name we end up with is Samloth.
Next, “Name-Blossom.” The Sindarin word for “name” is Eneth, making the name Enethlos.
When it comes to naming your Middle-earth characters after yourself, Samloth – “Chamber Flower” works a little better than Enethlos, since Elves don’t have the word “name” in their names. If we drop the Sam part entirely, we’d have the word “blossom,” but Elves don’t just name themselves random nouns. To make it work as an Elven name, you need to add an adjective to it to show how you are like a flower. Here are a few suggestions:
- Deilloth – Delicate Flower
- Geilloth – Bright Flower
- Ulloth – Flower Scent
Starting with “Sam-blossom.” The word Sam works fine in Quenya, as long as the M is inside the word, not at the end. Sam doesn’t have a Quenya meaning. The Quenya word for “Blossom” is Lóte. Put this together you get Samlot and feminine Samlótie.
Next, “Name-Blossom.” It makes the gender neutral Esselot and the feminine Esselótie.
None of these names really work in an Arda context. Sam doesn’t meaning anything in Quenya, and you don’t find names that have the word “name” in them. So, let’s just make some flower names, as we did with Sindarin.
- Lelyalot, Lelyalótie – Delicate Flower
- Calinalot, Calinalótie – Bright Flower
- Holmelot, Holmelótie – Flower Scent
Samantha, I hope you found this article interesting and got something useful from it!
If you’d like your name translated in this series, comment below and I’ll consider it for a future article!
Hanks, Patrick & Hodges, Flavia. A Dictionary of First Names Oxford University Press. 1990. pg 293.
Wiktionary, “Samantha” Last edited: February 1st, 2021.