Your Name is What? Brian and Angie

Tattooing your loved one's name in Hebrew is a very romantic gesture. Getting it wrong - not so much.

Today's victim wanted a Hebrew tattoo of his own name (Brian, on the right) and the name of his girl (Angie - on the left), unfortunately, he managed to misspell them both.

Brian - There's only one mistake, but a crucial one. He used the regular Nun insead of the final form (Nun Sofit). For letters which have a final form, the final form should always be used at the end of a word.

Angie - Some creative spelling here. 3 mistakes in one small word, phenomenal.
  1. In English, G can be read two ways, as in "game" or as in "gentle". In old Hebrew, the sound G as in "gentle" or "Angie", didn't exist. In modern Hebrew it was artificially added by putting an apostrophe right after the letter Gimel. Do you see an apostrophe in that tattoo?
  2. The author had a hard time figuring out the "ie" part of "Angie", and decided to use the Nikkud (vowels - look for dots in the tattoo) as if they were letters. Bad idea. In Hebrew you only apply vowels to letters, you never use them as a standalone, never apply them to an empty space. Overall, don't attempt Nikkud unless you know exactly what you're doing. Most native Hebrew speakers don't dare mess with it, so you shouldn't either!
  3. Instead of that Nikkud disaster, the letter Yod should be used for the "ie" in "Angie".

This is how Brian is supposed to be written in proper Hebrew:

And this is Hebrew for Angie:


  1. I've decided to learn Hebrew, and my name is Brian. I had seen somewhere that there is no "br" sound in Hebrew, and that "Brian" would end up being said "ba-ra-een". I got that from some language forum, and don't really know if it is true.

  2. Oh, there's definitely a BR sound in Hebrew. In fact, any sound produced in the English language can be written down in Hebrew.

    Still, Hebrew has that vowel(nikkud) thing. In Hebrew (and Arabic too) vowels are optional. They're only used in children's books and special cases.

    So when you write BR(בר), it can be read as BR, BAR, BIR, BUR, BER or BOR. The only way of knowing which is meant, is by context and experience. Many people who immigrated to Israel as adults, never do manage to read Hebrew fluently.

  3. Alright, someone pointed me over to this site and I've been reading archives. I've got no idea if you check comments this far back, but I figure I'd ask the question anyway:

    Why is it okay for בריאן to be spelled with one י? Shouldn't it be ברייאן? Or maybe the א is superfluous with that spelling and it should be בריין? I dunno, the way it's spelled up there seems to me should be pronounced "Bree-an," but I'm still learning the subtleties of Hebrew spelling myself, so I could be wrong.

  4. @fishamaphone - the Hebrew spelling of Brian I used is simply the one most common nowadays.

    Technically, you could also use בריין or ברייאן, they're not wrong, just not as common.

    I've no idea why the double-Yod isn't the standard here, but the Aleph is better kept in. בריין is too easy to read as brain or brine.

  5. Dear Typo Tat,

    I'm looking to get a Hebrew Tattoo... Actually 4 Names... Those of my children... Is there anyway you can help me out? I have seen the mistakes here and I am terrified at how one small thing can create such a big life long blunder. If you could send me the exact translation of my babies names i would appreciate it (followed by the name is the year they were born). Brian (2004), Angel (2006), Rihanna (2010), Adrian (2011). would mean a lot. Thanking you in advance. Brenda Naz.

  6. @Brenda:
    בריאן(2004), אנג'ל(2006), ריאנה(2010), אדריאן(2011)

    You could use Hebrew dates instead of Gregorian, but the two calendars aren't identical, so I can't tell for sure in which Hebrew years your kids were born. Here's a converter:

  7. would you mind translating my kids names? Michal, pronounced mccall; Joshua; Dominic; and Chase.

  8. could u tell me is this actually says god is my strength in Hebrew and could u write it out for me so I could see it better


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