Barnaba – Name Meaning

Barnaba is a name of Hebrew origin, derived from the words “bar” and “naba” which mean “son of prophecy.” The name Barnaba is often associated with the biblical figure of Barnabas, who was an early Christian missionary and companion of Paul. The name has been used in various cultures throughout history, but it is most commonly found in Italian and Spanish-speaking countries.

History and Origin

The name Barnaba first appears in the Bible as the surname of Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus who was chosen by the apostles to accompany Paul on his missionary journeys. In Acts 4:36, Barnabas is described as “a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith.” He was also known for his generosity and willingness to help others in need.

The name Barnaba has been used in various cultures throughout history. In Italy, it is a popular name among Catholics due to its association with St. Barnabas, who was martyred in Rome during the reign of Emperor Nero. In Spain, it is a common name among Sephardic Jews due to its connection with Rabbi Baruch ben Nachmani, who lived in Spain during the 12th century.


Barnaba is not a particularly popular name in the United States; however, it does appear on the Social Security Administration’s list of baby names for boys born between 2000 and 2009. During this time period, there were only about 50 babies given this name each year. It is more popular in other countries such as Italy and Spain where it ranks among the top 100 names.

Famous People Named Barnaba

There are several famous people named Barnaba including:

  • Barnaba Marial Benjamin – South Sudanese politician
  • Barnaba Sibide – Italian actor
  • Barnaba da Modena – Italian painter
  • Barnaba Fornasetti – Italian designer

Variations of the Name

Variations of the name Barnaba include: Barnebas, Barnebba, Barneby, Bernabe, Bernabé, Bernabo, Bernabu.

By Ava Isabella Hartley

Ava Isabella Hartley is a renowned expert in the field of onomastics, the study of names and their meanings, with a particular focus on baby names. She holds a Master's degree in Linguistics from the University of Cambridge and has over 15 years of experience in the study of etymology, name trends, and cultural naming practices.

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