The meaning of names among Mediterranean Jews

Marc Eliany ©

AZEROUAL (zaroual, BenAzeroual)

among other possible variations depending on the country and language of the person.

Azeroual is a North African name, common in Algeria, consisting of the prefix 'a' which denotes affiliation and the root 'zeroual' of a tribe. It may also denote 'pants' (possibly pant maker), 'colorful' or 'of many colors' (possibly dye maker), as well as 'blue eyes' (one who has blue eyes).

The name may be of Hebrew origin, since its structure is typical to old Hebrew names. It mey be related to A'zriel (God is my help) or A'zruel (One who has the support of God).

Prefixes attached to the root name such as (aben, iben, abi, avi, am, ben, bin, abou, a, aj, al, bel, ha, i, la, lel, me, m, o, wi, vi, ) denotes usually a relation to a person, i.e., the father of or the son of X, a place, i.e., a person from X, an occupation, i.e., a person who practices a specific occupation, a characteristic of a person, i.e., beautiful... The prefixes al, el are equivalent to 'the' in English or the article 'le' in French. In the Moroccan Berbers tradition, prefixes such as 'wi' 'vi' 'i' means usually a family relationship to X, the equivalent of Abu in Arabic, i.e., 'the father of', 'son of' a man, a tribal affiliation and so forth.In the Hebrew tradition, the prefix ‘M ‘ is an abbreviation of the word 'from.'

Suffixes such as 'i' or 'ri' 'ti' refer to an association with a person or a location, for example: arditi= from ardou or ard.
Suffixes such as 'illo' 'ano' 'ino'
'nino' are used in Spain and Italy to indicate descendence or association with an attribute.
Suffixes such as 'yah', 'yahu' 'hu' are used in Hebrew to denote God's benediction, for example: aviyah, aviyahu, avihu...
Suffixws such as 'oun' 'on' 'yout' 'out' characterize adjectives in Hebrew, for example: Hayoun, hayout...

AZEROUAL Yves (1964). France (Algerian origin). Journalist. Author of Mitterand et les Juifs (with Yves Draï) and De Foi et République (on Faith and the Republic).


Azoulay, Hayim Yossef Shem Hagdolim (the names of the great)

AZOULAY Haïm Yossef David (Hida) (1724-1807) Chém haguédolim va’ad lahakhamim (The names of the Great Council of Sages).

Levi, J et. al. 2000        Dictionnaire biographique du monde Juif Sepharade et Mediteranean, Editions Elysee, Montreal.

Toledano, J. 1983        La saga des familles, Les juifs du Maroc et leurs noms, Editions Stavit, Tel Aviv

Laredo A. 1978           Les noms des juifs au Maroc (Madrid, 1978)