The meaning of names among Mediterranean Jews

Marc Eliany ©

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

The root of the name may be 'Vares,' refering to a place in Spain or Portugal. All name entrees below are Spanish or Portuguese.

The root 'vares' is preceded by the prefix 'al.'

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 'eri' refer to an affiliation with a person or a place, for example: Saul of Tarsis = Saul Hatarsi.
Suffixes such as 'ano' 'ino'
'nino' are used in Spain and Italy to indicate descendence.

ALVAREZ Gato Juan (1445?-1510?). Spain. Poet. Known for love, religious and satirical poetry.
ALVARÉS PINTO Manuel (XVIIes.). New Christian (Marrano) of Spanish origin. Merchant in Anthwerpen, established the Pinto jewish seminary in Rotterdam and later in Amsterdam.
ALVARÈS BRANDAO Fernando (XVIIes.). New Christian (Marrano) of Portuguese origin. Doctor. Co-authored scientific treaties with Itshak Cardozo.


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)