Fun Facts

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Fun Facts About Our Onomasticon

  • The Book of Mormon contains 337 proper names and 21 gentilics (or analogous forms) based on proper names. Included in this count are names that normally would not be called proper, such as non-English names of plants, animals, etc., if they appear as transliterations in the English text and not as translations. Conversely, proper names, such as Bountiful and Desolation, that appear only in translation are not included in this list. The onomasticon will include all proper nouns. Of these 337 proper names, 188 are unique to the Book of Mormon, while 149 are common to the Book of Mormon and the Bible. If the textual passages common to the Book of Mormon and the Bible are excluded, 53 names occur in both books.
  • Apart from King James English spellings of biblical names in the Book of Mormon, the letters F, Q, V, W, X, and Y do not appear in transliterated Book of Mormon nouns. The one exception is the /FF/ in ZENIFF and ZIFF. This exception could be explained by an aspirated final /p/.
    • F only appears singly in one such noun which is familiar from the KJV (LUCIFER).
    • V only appears inside such nouns which are familiar from the KJV (EVE, LEVI).
    • W only appears inside one such noun which is familiar from the KJV (JEW, JEWS).
    • Y only appears inside such nouns which are familiar from the KJV (MARY, SYRIA, TIMOTHY).
    • Q and X do not appear at all.
  • The Lehite-Mulekite names often show greatest affinity with Semitic languages (CWHN 6:281-94). For instance, Abish and Abinadi resemble ab, father, names in Hebrew; Alma appears in a Bar Kokhba letter (c. A.D. 130) found in the Judean desert; Mulek could be a diminutive of West Semitic mlk, king; Omni and Limhi appear to have the same morphology as Old Testament Omri and Zimri; Jershon is remarkably close to a noun form of the Hebrew root yrs (see below). Some Lehite-Mulekite names resemble Egyptian: Ammon, Korihor, Pahoran, and Paanchi (CWHN 5:25-34). Jaredite names exhibit no consistently obvious linguistic affinity.
  • Scholars working on this project have connected Book of Mormon names to Hebrew, Aramaic, Egyptian, and other ancient Near Eastern languages.

ALMA – Mosiah 17:2, "and he was a young man"; Alma 2:30, "being a man of God."

ALPHA – part of title of Jesus Christ as “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end” (3 Nephi 9:18).

BOUNTIFUL – Nephi 17:5, “the land which we called ‘Bountiful,’ because of its much fruit and wild honey”; and in 17:6, “we called the place ‘Bountiful,’ because of its much fruit.”

DESERET – Jaredite word for “honey bee” (Ether 2:3).

DESOLATION OF NEHORS – Descriptive epithet for the destroyed Nephite city of AMMONIHAH (Alma 10:23, 16:2-11, 25:2)

DESOLATION – Land (3 Nephi 3:23) and area of final destruction of JAREDITES (Ether 7:6); Nephite city in the north (Mormon 3:7, 4:2-19)

GADIANTON / GADDIANTON – Robber Band, which employed secret oaths & covenants and aspired to political power through murder (Helaman 2:8-12, 6:18-19, III Nephi 1:27-30, 3:3, IV Nephi 42-46, Mormon 2:28).

HERMOUNTS – Wilderness area “infested by wild and ravenous beasts” (Alma 2:37).

IMMANUEL – “God is with us” (Isaiah 8:8, 10 ǁ2 Nephi 18:8, 10).

IRREANTUM – 1 Nephi 17:5, “we beheld the sea [Indian Ocean], which we called Irreantum, which, being interpreted, is ‘Many Waters’” ( "Many Waters" 1 Nephi 13:10), and “Great Waters” (1 Nephi 17:17).

JERSHON – Alma 27:22, “the land which we will give . . . for an inheritance”; Alma 27:24,”they may inherit the land”; 35:14, “lands for their inheritance.”

LIAHONA – “which is, being interpreted, a compass” (Alma 37:38,44), “a compass” (1 Nephi 18:12), “ball or director, which led our fathers through the wilderness” (Mosiah 1:16), “a shadow” and “type” of things to come (temporal to spiritual) = “director” (Alma 37:43-45); “a round ball of curious workmanship” within which “were two spindles” pointing the way to go (1 Nephi 16:10). Cf. “directors” at Alma 37:24 (1981 edition “interpreters”).

MORMON – Mosiah 18:4: "a place which was called ‘Mormon,’ having received its name from the king, being in the borders of the land having been infested, by times or at seasons, by wild beasts."

NAHOM – 1 Nephi 16:34, “Ishmael died, and was buried in the place which was called ‘Nahom’.”

OMEGA – part of title of Jesus Christ as “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end” (3 Nephi 9:18).

RABBANAH – title of king, “which is, being interpreted, ‘powerful’ or ‘great king’” (Alma 18:13).

RAMEUMPTOM – "Holy-Stand; a place of standing which was high above the head" Alma 31:13,21,23.

RIPLIANCUM – waters of, “which, by interpretation, is Large, or To-Exceed-All” (Ether 15:8).

ROD OF IRON – “rod of iron” = “the word of God”(1 Nephi 15:23-25).

SALEM – Melchizedek “prince of peace” = “king of Salem” (Alma 13:18).

SHELEM – Jaredite mount in Old World, so named “because of its exceeding height” (Ether 3:1).