The meaning of names among Mediterranean Jews

Marc Eliany ©

MOUYAL (muy, moual)
among other possible variations depending on the country and language of the person.

The root of the name may be 'muy' in Spanish, infering to a high status or simply to 'much', perhaps much wealth. It may also refer to the 'Moya' an ethnic group in the province of Cuenca in Spain or to the village of 'Moya' in the province of Lugo. The name widespread among North African Jews, mostly in Morocco and Algeria.

The root of the name may be ' moual' in Arabic, refering to 'chorus.' It is preceded by the Berber prefix 'a.' Thus Moyal may have been associated with singing or composition.

Prefixes attached to the root name such as (aben, iben, abi, avi, ben, bin, abou, a, aj, al, bel, 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' refer to an association with a person, for example: Mori = my teacher.
Suffixes such as 'illo' 'ano' 'ino'
'nino' are used in Spain and Italy to indicate descendence or association with an attribute.

AMOYAL Pierre (XXes.). France. Violonist. lead a successful international career.
MOYAL Chiméon (1866-1915). Palestine (Jaffa). Moroccan origin. Journalist. Writer. Founder of an Arab paper Sat Al Otmaniah (the voice of the Ottoman).
MOYAL Élie (XXes.). Morocco. Architect. Led project in Morocco Israël.
MOYAL Esther (1873-1948). Lebanon. Journalist. Feminist activist. Founder of the paper al-Aîla (the family). Co-editor of Sat Al Otmaniah. Translated Emile Zola to Arabic.
MOYAL Elie (XXes.). Morocco. Mayor of Mévasseret Yérouchalaïm, a suburb of Jérusalem. Labor party activist. Founded and led the World Centre of North African Jewry.
MOUYAL Abraham (1847-1885). Morocco. Contributed to the development of Jewish settlement in Palestine.


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)