fem. proper name, from Latin (Maria) Magdalena, "Mary of Magdala," the companion and supporter of Jesus, from Greek Magdalene, literally "woman of Magdala," from Aramaic (Semitic) Maghdela, place on the Sea of Galilee, literally "tower" (compare Hebrew migdal "tower," from gadal "be great or high"). The vernacular form of the name, via French, has come to English as maudlin.
fem. proper name, from Aramaic (Semitic) Maretha, literally "lady, mistress," fem. of mar, mara "lord, master." As the type name of one concerned with domestic affairs, it is from Luke x.40-41. Martha's Vineyard was discovered 1602 by English explorer Gabriel Archer and apparently named by him, but the identity of the Martha he had in mind is unknown now.
mid-14c., representing the Greek rendition of Akkadian Bab-ilani "the gate of the gods," from bab "gate" + ilani, plural of ilu "god" (compare Babel). The Old Persian form, Babiru-, shows characteristic transformation of -l- to -r- in words assimilated from Semitic. Formerly also applied by Protestants to the Church in Rome, from the woman "arrayed in purple and scarlet" in Revelation xvii.5 ("And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth").
fem. proper name, biblical wife of Isaac, mother of Jacob and Esau, from Late Latin Rebecca, from Greek Rhebekka, from Hebrew Ribhqeh, literally "connection" (compare ribhqah "team"), from Semitic base r-b-q "to tie, couple, join" (compare Arabic rabaqa "he tied fast"). Rebekah, the form of the name in the Authorized Version, was taken as the name of a society of women (founded 1851 in Indiana, U.S.) as a complement to the Odd Fellows.
To raise Cain is first recorded 1840. Surnames McCain, McCann, etc., are a contraction of Irish Mac Cathan "son of Cathan," from Celtic cathan, literally "warrior," from cath "battle."
fem. proper name, Biblical first woman, Late Latin, from Hebrew (Semitic) Hawwah, literally "a living being," from base hawa "he lived" (compare Arabic hayya, Aramaic hayyin).
Like most of the explanations of names in Genesis, this is probably based on folk etymology or an imaginative playing with sound. ... In the Hebrew here, the phonetic similarity is between hawah, "Eve," and the verbal root hayah, "to live." It has been proposed that Eve's name conceals very different origins, for it sounds suspiciously like the Aramaic word for "serpent." [Robert Alter, "The Five Books of Moses," 2004, commentary on Genesis iii.20]
zodiac constellation, late Old English, from Latin taurus "bull, bullock, steer," also the name of the constellation, from PIE *tau-ro- "bull" (source also of Greek tauros, Old Church Slavonic turu "bull, steer;" Lithuanian tauras "aurochs;" Old Prussian tauris "bison"); from PIE *tauro- "bull," from root *(s)taeu- "stout, standing, strong" (source also of Sanskrit sthura- "thick, compact," Avestan staora- "big cattle," Middle Persian stor "horse, draft animal," Gothic stiur "young bull," Old English steor); extended form of root *sta- "to stand, make or be firm."
Klein proposes a Semitic origin (compare Aramaic tora "ox, bull, steer," Hebrew shor, Arabic thor, Ethiopian sor). De Vaan writes: "The earlier history of the word is uncertain: there is no cognate in [Indo-Iranian] or Tocharian, whereas there are Semitic words for 'bull' which are conspicuously similar. Hence, it may have been an early loanword of the form *tauro- into the western IE languages." Meaning "person born under the sign of the bull" is recorded from 1901. The Taurid meteors (peaking Nov. 20) so called from 1878.
At midnight revels when the gossips met,
He was the theme of their eternal chat:
This ask'd what form great Jove would next devise,
And when his godship would again Taurise?
[William Somerville, "The Wife," 1727]