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.
masc. proper name, from Latin Stephanus, from Greek Stephanos, from stephanos "crown, wreath, garland, chaplet; crown of victory," hence "victory, prize, honor, glory," properly "that which surrounds;" also used of the ring of spectators around a fight or the wall of a town, from stephein "to encircle, crown, wreathe, tie around," from PIE root *stebh- "post, stem; place firmly on, fasten" (see step (v.)).
Exclusively a monk's name in Old English, it became common after the Conquest. Saint Stephen, stoned to death, was said to be Christianity's first martyr. Stephen (and the older pronunciation of nephew, still maintained) were said to be the only cases where English -ph- isn't pronounced as /f/.