Ancient Egyptian

In the excellent Chronicle of the Pharaohs by Peter A. Clayton, the names of many pharaohs are translated. Most pharaohs used several names (e.g. a birth name and a throne name), and most of these names are a combination of two, three or four words. Since I noticed that the same few words (strong, powerful, ...) are used in most pharaoh names, I decided to figure out which parts of the names have which meaning and thus compile a mini-dictionary of the ancient Egyptian language. With this relatively small list of words, you can figure out the meaning of most pharaoh names. Some examples are given at the bottom.

Words

The page numbers refer to the book. Sometimes I translate a combination of words; that's either because the second is a preposition that belongs with the first, or because I'm not sure which word has which translation.


A
a, aa = great
ah = moon / 100
aha = fighting / 16
akh-en = servant of; beautiful for / 120 ;158
akhet = horizon / 122
amen, amun = Amun (god) / 112
ankh = life, living / 72 91 128
aten = sun disc / 121

B
ba = appears; soul; glorious / 38 ;156 ;190
bastet = Bastet = cat goddess / 188

D
djed = endureth, enduring / 61 190
djedef = enduring / 50
djeser = holy / 100

E
-ef, -f = his / 167
ef = is / 61
em = is, in / 178
em-heb = is in jubilition / 136
emhet = at the head
en = of, like? / 94 100
es = her / 213
ese = Isis / 185

F
-f, -ef = his / 61

G

H
haa = jubilant / 195
har = Horus / 185
hat = foremost / 104
heb = in jubilation / 136
hedj = bright / 178
hem = first
heqa = ruler / 112
her-i = protects me / 175
het = head
hetep-her = joyous is / 156
hir, ir = is / 167
hor = Horus = Re
hotep = pleasing, content

I
ib = heart / 91
inhur = Onuris / 203
ir = form / 209 213
ir, hir = is / 61
it = father / 136
iunu = Iunu = Heliopolis (Gr.) city of the sun / 128
iwa = heir / 209

J

K
ka (kha) = soul
kau = souls
kha = appears / 175
kha-em = appearing in / 167
khaf = appearing like / 50
kheper(u) = form, manifestation(s); everlasting; abides / 94 100 112 ;136 ;167
khet = body? / 38
khnem = he who embraces / 195
khopsh = strength? / 167
khte = protection? / 32
khu = protector / 190
khufu = protected by

L

M
maa-kheru = true of voice is / 84
maat = truth / 104
men = eternal, lasting / 56 61 104
mentu = Montu (god)
mer = love, desire / 91 94
merwy-itu = father-loving (cfr. it) / 209
mery(-en), mer-ne, mer-en, mer-er = beloved (of) / 70 156
messes = has fashioned him / 140
mesut-i = offspring of / 198
mi = like / 158
mose = born / 100
mut = Mut (goddess, wife of Amen, word means "mother") / 158

N
nakhte = is victorious; strong / 160 203
neb = lord, gold? / 26 72
nedjem = pleasant one (Horus or Ptah) / 175
nefer = beautiful
nes-ba = he of the ram
netjer(u) = god(s) / 26 156
netjer-tepy = prophet; hem-~ = first prophet = high priest / 175
netjeri = divine / 32
nisu = king / 178
niu = possessed of / 61
niut = city (Thebes?) / 178
nub = golden, lord? / 78 94 112?
ny-maat = belonging to the justice of / 84

O
ope = Opet festival / 178

P
pami = he who belongs to the cat / 185
pa-seba = star? / 178
pe-di = wise one / 188
pehty = strength / 100 140
per = hope / 26
pi = domain of; belonging to / 155 (Piramesse) ;175

Q
qa = strong / 70

R
ra = Re
re = Re

S
s-ankh = giver of life / 91
sahu = he who is close to / 61
sa-re = son of Re / 72
sehetep = satisfied
sekh = powerful / 91
sekhemwy = powers, the two powerful ones / 26
seher = maker of peace / 72
sen = all / 26
senwy = twins / 209
ser, user = strong, powerful / 94
set = Set (god of chaos, hostility) / 160
setep-en = chosen of / 136
seti = he of the god Set / 140
setut = likeness off / 198
shed = rescuer / 91
shema = upper Egypt? / 128
shepses = noble
shepsut = noble ladies / 104
si = son (of) / 158
sit = daughter (of) / 158
smenkh = vigorous / 120
snedjem = pleasing to (cfr. nedjem) / 203
snefru = he of beauty / 42 => s- = he
sobek = Sobek (crododile god)

T
tasherit = the younger / 124
tawy = two lands / 91 94
thut, tuth = Thoth (god of wisdom) / 100
tit = image / 178
tut = image / 128
two-sret = mighty lady

U
user, ser = strong, powerful / 94

V

W
wadj = flourishing, prosperous / 70 91 94
wah = strong, constant / 72 188 194
waset = Waset = Thebes / 158

 

Pharaoh Names

Here are some examples of pharaoh names, their parts and their translations:

  • Amenhotep = amen-hotep = Amun is pleased. Amun (Amon) was the highest Egyptian god.
  • Menmaatre = men-maat-re = eternal is the justice of Re.
  • Meryamun = mery-amun = beloved of Amun.
  • Nebtawyre = neb-tawy-re = lord of the two lands is Re.
  • Neferkare = nefer-ka-re = beautiful is the soul of Re. Many pharaoh names end in -kare, e.g. Djeserkare (holy is the soul of Re), Merykare (beloved is the soul of Re), Wadjkare (prosperous is the soul of Re), etc ... .
  • Netjerikhet = netjeri-khet = divine body.
  • Peribsen = per-ib-sen = hope of all hearts.
  • Ramesses (Ramses) = ra-messes = Re has fashioned him.
  • Sehetepibre = sehetep-ib-re = satisfied is the heart of Re.
  • Setepptah = setep-ptah = chosen of Ptah.
  • Tutankhamun = tut-ankh-amun = living image of Amun.
  • Usermaatre = user-maat-re = the justice of Re is powerful.
  • Userkaf = user-ka-f = his soul is powerful.

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