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Estimating the Evidence
Episode 21: On Onomastic Origins

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[Editor’s Note: This is the twenty-first in a series of 23 essays summarizing and evaluating Book of Mormon-related evidence from a Bayesian statistical perspective. See the FAQ at the end of the introductory episode for details on methodology.]

 

The TLDR

It seems unlikely that the Book of Mormon could have so many names that can be traced to ancient Semitic and Egyptian, and for those ancient meanings to form wordplays and other connections with the text itself.

There’s been a substantial amount of faithful scholarship looking at the dozens of unique personal and geographic names in the Book of Mormon, scholarship that purports to find a large number of interesting connections with Semitic and Egyptian languages. Many of these connections also seem to fit well with the text, creating a number of interesting wordplays. The critics, for their part, find reason to fault those names, asking why those connections lack a consistent linguistic framework and why those names seem to lack connections to Mesoamerican languages. After taking a hard look at the names listed in the Book of Mormon Onomasticon database, I conclude that some of that evidence is unexpected, especially the fact that Jaredite names differ systematically from other names in the text, and that the set of identified wordplays appears to exceed what would be likely based on chance. After taking into account the objections of the critics, the Onomasticon represents somewhat informative evidence in the book’s favor, but not overwhelmingly so.

Evidence Score = 4 (increases the likelihood of an authentic Book of Mormon by four orders of magnitude)

 

The Narrative

When last we left you, our decreasingly ardent skeptic, you had just set aside dreams of forging your own plagiarized geography for the book that still lay in your hands, and it takes you a moment to again find your place after that brief distraction. When you again rejoin the narrative, you find yourself somewhat disheartened by the beginning of yet another war. You’d hoped that it’d take more than three pages before the next major conflict flared up, but you’re once again disappointed. This war took a slightly different form, at least—a civil war over succession to the throne, rather than the usual race-driven tribal conflict, though the latter ends up happening anyway.

The monotony of war interests you somewhat less than the interesting names that keep coming up. The late leader, Pahoran, had three sons competing for his vacant seat: Pahoran, Pacumeni, and Paanchi. There was an authentic and exotic quality to those names, and despite your misgivings about the plot, you can’t help but be impressed with the creativity on display in such things—not just here, but in many other places in the book. It couldn’t have been easy to just pull such names out of thin air. And the more an author did so, the greater the risk to which he would be exposing himself. This book professed to be an authentic history of ancient peoples, and you were well aware that cultures generally had rather consistent naming conventions, that those names had meaning to them, and those meanings were used in rhetorical ways to help emphasize their storytelling.

There was a lot of ways that the original names in the book could run afoul of those conventions. If it did, that would certainly be a source of embarrassment for the author. But if it didn’t—well, that would be a different story. It seems unlikely that someone could create so many original names, let alone to have them align with ancient naming practices and, potentially, for those names to be meaningful in the book’s own context.

 

The Introduction

A long line of faithful scholars, from Nibley to Hoskisson to, mostly recently, Bowen, have spent a great deal of time examining the Book of Mormon’s unique names, whether it be the 188 personal names not found in the Bible (e.g. Corihor, Teancum), or the many other unique geographical names (e.g., Manti, Zarahemla, Jershon). These efforts have yielded dozens of plausible Semitic and Egyptian etymological connections and dozens of meaningful wordplays that suggest that these names were far from random selections from Joseph’s brain. Though the faithful have found these connections interesting and thought provoking, it’s unclear just how well they may serve as evidence for the book’s authenticity. Critics have found these proposals unpersuasive, which itself is unsurprising. But how many of those criticisms have real bite to them? Is it possible that the nature of these names could work against the Book of Mormon? Hopefully Bayes can help us sort through some of these issues.

 

The Analysis

The Evidence

I’m supremely grateful for the efforts of the good people who maintain the Book of Mormon Onomasticon, a wiki-style database that tracks every non-English (or non-French) word in the book, exploring a number of potential ways that those words connect to different near-Eastern languages. That database has made what would otherwise be an impossible task into one that was merely time-consuming. It meant that my job was to wade through those hundreds of entries in an attempt to better understand those words.

But first, it’s helpful to get a sense of what it is about those words and their potential ancient connections that faithful scholars find compelling. For a helpful summary, we can turn to this video from Book of Mormon Central. They divide the onomastic evidence into five parts:


  • Antiquity. Most of the Book of Mormon’s unique names can be plausibly traced to one or more near-eastern languages. Many of the names in the book are obviously biblical (e.g., references to Mary), and many are close variations of biblical names. But even those that aren’t generally fit well in an ancient context.
  • Wordplays. Beyond those words’ potentially ancient origins, the ancient meanings behind a substantial number of those words are often meaningfully employed in the text. The usual example is wordplay using the name Nephi in 1 and 2 Nephi, where the Egyptian meaning of “good” plays well with references to things like “goodly parents” and of the “goodness of God.” There are also a number of cases where the names themselves seem meaningful even in the absence of specific wordplay, such as “Gadianton” plausibly meaning “robber band,” and Zeezrom, who gave a large bribe of silver to Amulek, possibly meaning "he of silver." The same also applies to how some of the book’s biblical names are employed in the text.
  • Consistencies. The book’s unique names have a number of consistencies that align with what would be found if their roots can be traced to ancient Hebrew or Egyptian. For instance, there are no last names, and the book avoids starting its names with the letters F, Q, W, and X, which wouldn’t have made sense in a Semitic context.
  • Glosses. The text itself provides glosses, or descriptions of meaning, for a small number of its non-English words, such as "Deseret" meaning "honey bee," and "ripliancum" meaning "large, to exceed all." For almost all of these cases, it’s possible to provide plausible meanings that align with the gloss provided by the text.
  • Parallelisms. As we’ve discussed previously, the Book of Mormon contains hundreds of literary parallelisms, including chiastic patterns. It turns out that there are some cases where those parallelisms rely on meaningful wordplay, such as the use of the “-iah” suffix in Zedekiah as part of the core of a chiasmus in Helaman 6:7-13.

Apart from this, there’s also evidence to suggest important differences between the names based on the Book of Mormon culture associated with them. Authors generally have a hard time escaping their own naming conventions, even when trying to create names that originate from different cultures and peoples. But Jaredite names in particular show statistically significant differences on a number of linguistic features when compared to Nephite, Mulekite, and Lamanite names. These differences were compared to the dozens of names generated by Tolkien in his Lord of the Rings trilogy, and it was found that the names in the Book of Mormon were more likely to differ on the basis of culture than Tolkien’s were (e.g., Human names differed from Elven names, but otherwise the names weren’t linguistically distinguishable).

The critics, for their part, put forward evidence of their own. They argue that it’s unusual for the Book of Mormon names to not align with a consistent linguistic framework, one that could explain why the names connect with a number of different languages and yet differ from them in ways that can’t be fully accounted for. They also argue that if the Book of Mormon was authentic, and took place in Mesoamerica, we should expect to find names that correspond with the Indigenous peoples and languages of Mesoamerica. That faithful scholars have found only a few, limited possibilities for such connections is evidence, to them, of fabrication.

With that evidence in hand, we now turn to the hypotheses that might be used to explain this evidence, both for and against.

The Hypotheses

The characteristics of the Book of Mormon’s unique names derive from their use by authentic ancient cultures—This theory posits that the Book of Mormon’s unique names are produced the same way names are produced in any other culture—words that carry meaning within a given language and that, over time, experience adaptation and variation in sound change, potentially mixing with and borrowing the features of languages with which they might come in contact. In short, the Book of Mormon’s names should look like they were produced by real people using a living language attached to a living culture. In this case, given that Book of Mormon peoples share a common history with biblical peoples, their names should show a great deal of similarity to biblical names. But they also shouldn’t be exactly the same. They should show variation, creativity, and potentially a bit of borrowing.

This general hypothesis is complicated by the storied language history that the Book of Mormon claims for itself. As we’ve previously discussed, the book describes a mix of peoples each carrying with them potentially different language traditions—Lehi and his tribe would have carried at least Hebrew (probably having a more northern, Aramaic influence), along with Egyptian; the Mulekites may have added a more Phoenician-influenced variety of Semitic to the mix, and the Jaredites, despite some interesting speculation, remain a bit of a question mark, with some potential Sumerian or older Semitic influence, mixed in with a pile of maybes. All this is further complicated by the potential for Jaredite names to have been borrowed, adapted, or transliterated into the Nephites’ already-mixed language prior to their inclusion by Moroni. I think it’s fair to ask whether we would expect the names that came out of that history to fit any sort of consistent framework.

The Book of Mormon’s unique names were invented by Joseph, being inspired by biblical examples. According to this theory, the book’s unique names are yet another example of Joseph’s boundless creativity, and also of how much he was inspired by the text of the King James Bible. Many of the names seem to be pulled straight from its pages, and many of the remainder seem to be very close variations of those biblical names. In that context, it wouldn’t be surprising that many of the names could be traced to Hebrew or other Semitic meanings (though perhaps Egyptian would be a bit unexpected). Whether we would expect those meanings to be actually meaningful within the text itself is another story. This theory would probably have to assume that wordplays, glosses, and fitting parallelisms would be produced by chance—Joseph himself wouldn’t study Hebrew until five years after the publication of the Book of Mormon. We’ll see whether chance is, in this case, up to the task.

Prior Probabilities

PH—Prior Probability of Authentic Names—We’re getting pretty close to the end here, and, based on all the evidence we’ve considered up to this point, the evidence rather decisively favors authenticity, with p = 1—1.44 x 10-33. Here’s where we’ve been so far:

PA—Prior Probability of Fraudulent Names—That would leave our remaining probability for the theory of modern fabrication, at p = 1.44 x 10-33.

Consequent Probabilities

CH—Consequent Probability of Ancient Authorship—Here we can start to consider the negative evidence brought forward by critics, asking how likely we might be to find sets of authentic names that have the following characteristics: 1) a complex linguistic structure that doesn’t seem to easily fit a consistent framework of language change and 2) a lack of Indigenous names from the area where the Book of Mormon is thought to have taken place.

It’s going to be hard to get solid answers here, but we should be able to get conservative estimates in the context of what we know about how languages work in the real world. In terms of our first characteristic, let’s take a look at everyone’s favorite language: English. English is itself a mongrel-like mix of Germanic, Latin, Norwegian and French influence, forming over thousands of years through multiple incursions by conquering invaders and contact with foreigners. Pretend for a minute that you had a small set of around 200 English names, but no access to the rest of the English language, to its literature, or to English peoples themselves. After a bit of study, you could probably find a scattered mix of connections to each of those various source languages. But I’m doubtful that anyone could readily build a coherent and exhaustive framework explaining the pattern of those connections—not without decades upon decades of study by a large army of linguistic researchers. And it absolutely wouldn’t help if those names were then transliterated into yet another language, the way the Book of Mormon’s have likely been. In the end, given the language history implied by the Book of Mormon, I don’t think the lack of a consistent framework all that surprising.

And for the idea that we should find Indigenous names in the Book of Mormon, I see a couple of core issues:

  • We don’t have a complete sense of the linguistic environment of ancient Mesoamerica. It’s possible that there are Indigenous names or linguistic features in the Book of Mormon, but that those features or even the languages associated with them have been lost to time.
  • Any borrowing from Indigenous cultures has been filtered through the lens of Nephite language and culture. This sort of filtering happens quite frequently, such as through the transliteration or translation of names. It’s common, for instance, for names to have been transliterated into English (“Anglicized”), such as with the name Christopher Columbus (or, rather Cristoforo Colombo).

To have an entire book that transliterates or translates away recognizable traces of language transmission from nearby cultures might be somewhat unusual, but it doesn’t seem impossible.

I don’t have the time or linguistic training required to generate precise likelihood estimates here. But let’s give the critics the benefit of the doubt on both of these items. Let’s say that, with authentic ancient texts, we’d be able to build a consistent linguistic framework a substantial majority of the time (e.g., 90%) on the basis of included names. This would mean that, even for authentic texts, we wouldn’t be able to build that consistent framework about 10% of the time. And let’s assume that there’s only a 1% chance of us not being able to find borrowed names from other local cultures (e.g., Mayan or Aztec names) in the text. I see both of those estimates as exceedingly generous to the critics given the types of issues we discuss above, and they produce a consequent probability of p = .001.

CA—Consequent Probability of Modern Authorship—Now we need to try to figure out how likely we would be, if the book were a fraud, to see Semitic and Egyptian language connections and wordplays. To do that, I had to spend some quality time with the Onomasticon. I started by going through all the non-biblical names in the text—there are technically 188, but many of these are minor variations of the same base word (e.g., Moroni and Moronihah), and some are English translations (e.g., Bountiful and Desolation). After removing those from the list (acknowledging that others might slice things a bit differently), I ended up with a core set of 158 names (see the Appendix for the full table). For each name, I listed the purported ethnicity of origin (i.e., Jaredite; Lehite, which also included Nephite and Mulekite; or Lamanite, which had a small enough sample size that we ignored these in this part of the analysis), the primary source language (e.g., Egyptian, Hebrew, Sumerian, and other Semitic languages; based on the first mention in the Onomasticon, which generally is the best-supported one), the corresponding word in that primary source language, the associated meaning of that word, whether there seemed to be a meaningful wordplay or other fitting connection to the text (e.g., Mulek, the son of a king, having the meaning of “king” or “to reign”; these are detailed in the “Meaning Highlight” column of the table), and whether there was a gloss associated with the word.

Importantly, I also noted how many potential meanings could be associated with the word based on the Onomasticon (counting meanings that the database listed as “likely” or “less likely,” and not counting those that were “unlikely” or were “remote possibilities”). For example, the word “Lib” is most plausibly connected with a meaning of “rich” in Sumerian, based on the word lib. But it can also be connected with the meanings of “heart” in Akkadian, as well as “dazed silence” and “plunderer,” both of which also occur in Sumerian, for a total of four meanings. This kind of data is extremely relevant for our Bayesian analysis, as it gives us a sense of two things: 1) how easy it is to find chance connections with ancient words, since generally all but one of those meanings has appeared based on chance alone and 2) how many rolls of the dice each word has to create a meaningful wordplay or other meaningful connection. The more meanings we have available, the greater the chance that one of them will happen to form a wordplay out of pure coincidence.

Going through all that data has suggested to me a few key things. First, it doesn’t seem particularly difficult to connect words to one or more ancient languages. Not only do the vast majority of these have a connection, but they usually have many such connections, both within the same language and in multiple languages. Each word had on average 2.47 meanings attached to it. You can get a sense of the distribution of those connections in the figure below.

This perhaps isn’t surprising given the raw number of languages that researchers have delved into in search of these linguistic connections. According to the Onomasticon itself:

When considering possible language sources for the Book of Mormon, Hebrew of the Biblical period is the first choice. Nearly equal in consideration to Hebrew is Egyptian, followed by the other Semitic languages in use at or before the time of Lehi, namely, Ugaritic, Phoenician, Moabite, Ammonite, Akkadian, Aramaic, etc. Semitic languages first attested after the time of Lehi, such as Classical Arabic, the later Aramaic dialects, Ethiopic dialects, etc., are not as relevant as the earlier languages, but may be used with extreme caution. Other non-Semitic languages with which the Hebrews could have had contact before the time of Lehi, such as Hittite, Greek, Hurrian, Sumerian, etc., should be a last resort.

Now it’s important here to not blame the faithful scholars for this particular dilemma. They did exactly what they should do when exploring the potential origins for these words—approach them from as many angles as possible. But it does make it hard to say whether these connections are legitimate or whether they’re based on chance. The best way to tell for sure would be to resurrect Joseph Smith and have him rattle off a couple hundred more names at random. We could then have someone spend a few decades subjecting those additional names to the same linguistic analysis that’s been done in the Onomasticon. Since I have very few spare decades, and even fewer necromantic abilities, we’ll consider that approach to be outside the scope of this analysis. In the meantime, the ratio of words to proposed meanings suggests to me that chance could do a great deal to generate these ancient connections. Though future analyses could show otherwise, I have to assume that it’s not unexpected to have a substantial majority of these words show some sort of connection with ancient languages.

What’s interesting, though, is that there seems to be a discrepancy in the ability to create those connections depending on the culture we’re looking at. If we tabulate the primary language associated with the names for Jaredite and Lehite cultures—including those for which there are no good candidates—the two show very different patterns. The Jaredite names show very few with Egyptian as a best fit (only 1, Deseret, vs. 14 for the Lehite names), and show a higher proportion of names with primary connections other than Egyptian and Hebrew (37% vs. 21%). These differences could be attributed to analytic bias—faithful linguists would be much more likely to accept Sumerian or older Semitic names for Jaredite names than for Lehite ones and might be less likely to look to Egypt as a Jaredite language source. But it’s harder to make that argument for the last and most important difference that we observe in the table—those working on the Onomasticon were far more likely to fail to find workable etymologies for Jaredite names than they were for Lehite ones (28% vs. 6%). If we plug their respective values into a chi-square, we find that this difference is statistically significant, with χ2(1) = 13.5, p = .000232.

Culture No Etymology Available Etymology Available Primary Language
Hebrew Egyptian Other
Jaredite 12 31 14 1 16
Lehite 7 105 68 14 23

This is important because those faithful linguists were obviously willing to report etymologies for Jaredite names if they could find them, and probably put just as much effort into researching those as they did for the Lehite ones—in other words, we can’t blame that difference on the analyst. And that difference causes a bit of trouble for our critical hypothesis. It’s perfectly reasonable to assume that Joseph based his names on a biblical template, but, if so, Jaredite names shouldn’t look any different than the Lehite ones. Even if you want to make the extra assumption that he used a different process to create the Jaredite names, that’s still unexpected. The story of the Tower of Babel is just as biblical as any other story in the bible—why not use biblical names in the retelling of that story?

Even if you assume that Joseph did use a separate process to create biblical names, there’s no guarantee that he’d succeed to this degree. This is where we can turn to the study comparing the Book of Mormon’s unique names to the names produced by Tolkien. In crafting culture-specific names, Joseph seems to substantially outstrip his linguistically trained, fiction-writing compatriot. In Wilcox et al.’s statistical analysis, Jaredite names differ significantly from those associated with other cultures, a feat that Tolkien can’t match. Tolkien’s Human names are significantly different from Elven names, but neither of those could be distinguished from Dwarven, Hobbit, or other names.

Now, it’s probably safe to assume that the linguistic features under examination in that study are independent from whether they connect to ancient languages, which means it’s worth thinking about what sort of probability we could attach to that evidence. Unfortunately, the details of that analysis aren’t publicly available, and the study authors no longer have ready access to them, so we can’t see what the F and p values were for the MANOVAs that they ran. All we know is that the set of follow-up comparisons for the Jaredites were all significant at the p = .05 level. Though they could easily have been even smaller, to play it safe we’ll stick with an estimate of p = .05 for this particular piece of evidence.

Before we can complete our estimate, though, we have to go back to our dataset. If the antiquity of the Book of Mormon’s unique names isn’t necessarily surprising, what about the wordplays? How likely would we be to find wordplays like those if the Book of Mormon was fraudulent? To figure that out, I first catalogued all the potential wordplays and other meaningful connections for those names, ending up with a list of 43 names showing those connections. You can see the list and a brief description of each connection in the table below:

Wordplay-like Connections for Unique Book of Mormon Words

# Word Primary Language Word Meaning Meaning Highlight
2 Abinadom Hebrew abinadam my father is a wanderer His fathers (several generations back) were definitely wanderers.
3 Abish Hebrew abiis my father is a man Interesting wordplay here in Alma 19:16.
8 Alma Hebrew elema lad of God Referred to initially as a young man.
10 Amalickiah Hebrew amalekiah Yahweh is king Ironic, since he wanted himself to become king, rather than God.
11 Amaron Ammonite amaron to speak, say, or command This and the similar “Ammaron” were names given to scribes/historians in different eras, and the name could be fitting.
15 Ammaron Semitic ammaron wordsmith/speaker Nephite scribe and historian
22 Ani-Anti Egyptian ‘n.tj he of Ani Anti as an Egyptian “he of” makes substantial sense in the context of place names such as “Anti-Nephi-Lehi”
24 Antion Egyptian int-on buying, bringing Makes sense in the context of a measure of monetary weight. Also allows Antionah and Antionum to make sense as “gold-man” and “gold-city” respectively.
27 Archeantus Greek apxwv chief civil magistrate Could be a fitting name for a military leader.
31 Comnor Akkadian karmu ruin, ruin heap This was the site of a large battle with tremendous loss of life.
37 Cumorah Akkadian kamaru to heap up, layer up An appropriate name for a hill.
39 Deseret Egyptian dsrt desert; also a ritual designation for “bee” A potential fit for the gloss of “honey bee” applied in the text.
43 Ezrom Hebrew hsrom enclosed, bound together Could be an appropriate name for a weight-based measure (e.g., weighing bags).
44 Gadianton Hebrew gadi-anton my fortune is oppression A fitting name for a robber band–also “gadd” in Hebrew means “band/bandits” which would also be fitting.
46 Gazelem Hebrew gazarim halves; cut in two; polishing A good name for a set of polished stones.
52 Gimgimno Egyptian gmgmno broken city This was a city which sank into the earth.
53 Hagoth Hebrew hagot curious; skillful; devisings Hagoth is said to be an exceedingly curious (skillful) man.
55 Helaman Hebrew hlm-an seer; visionary A solid prophetic name.
58 Hermounts Egyptian hr-mntw sanctuary of the god of wild places and things This is a wilderness area infested by wild and ravenous beasts.
59 Heshlon Hebrew sl-on place of exhaustion/crushing This is the place where Shared defeated Coriantumr in battle.
61 Irreantum Semitic irwyantmm abundant watering of completeness Aligns with the gloss of a place of many waters.
65 Jershon Hebrew yerson place of inheritance This was a land given as an inheritance.
83 Limnah Hebrew nimna counted, reckoned Similar to the root words for weight measures, which is its use in the Book of Mormon
90 Minon Hebrew mnn to be bounteous Land on a river where flocks were raised.
92 Moriancumer Akkadian mu-iru-kumru leader-priest An appropriate title for the Jaredite nation’s founding religious figure.
94 Mormon Egyptian mrmn love is established A number of examples of wordplay tying the word “Mormon” to “love.” This word is also found in Egyptian in symbols taken from the plates, and that were ascribed by Frederick G. Williams as meaning “The Book of Mormon. The demotic symbol for “book” is also found in those symbols. Also worth mentioning is the potential Hebrew meaning of Mormon which would be mrm-on, or “desirable place,” which would be fitting given the context of the Book of Mormon place names such as “the Waters of Mormon.”
97 Mulek Hebrew mlk to reign; king A fitting name for the son of a king, and features a rather dramatic correspondence to the attested malchiah, the son of the king.
98 Nahom Hebrew nhm to groan (of persons) A good name for a burial ground and place of mourning.
101 Nephi Egyptian nfr good, beautiful Substantial wordplay with the word “good” in Nephi 1 and elsewhere.
107 Onidah Hebrew on-dah he attends to my strength A fitting name for a place of arms.
115 Rabbanah Hebrew rbb-an Large, great, many Matches the gloss quite well.
116 Rameumptom Hebrew rama-omed-om stand at a high place A rather spot-on name for a high place of standing.
118 Ripliancum Sumerian rib-lian strong waters Large waters, to exceed all.
121 Sebus Semitic sbs place of gathering A fitting name for a gathering place for flocks.
123 Senine Egyptian snny a unit of silver currency A weight-based unit of currency.
125 Seon Hebrew se’a hebrew volumetric measure A weight-based unit of currency.
127 Shazer Egyptian shazher pass of the trees A useful area in which to make a new wooden bow.
133 Sheum Sumerian se’um barley, grain cereal This is a food item implied to be a grain.
147 Zarahemla Hebrew zer-a-hemla seed of compassion A few interesting wordplays in Alma 27:4-5 and Alma 53:10-13.
148 Zeezrom Hebrew ze-ezrom he of silver A good name for someone offering a bribe of silver to Alma and Amulek.
156 Zerin Qatabanian z.rm to be sharp An appropriate name for a mountain.
157 Ziff Akkadian ziv appearance, luster, glow A fitting name for a potentially shiny metal.
158 Zoram Hebrew zo-ram the one who is high Wordplay in referring to the Zoramites as “high” or “lifted up” in Alma 38:3-5.

When I put together this list, it definitely looked pretty impressive from my point of view. Over a quarter of the book’s unique names seemed to allow for some variety of wordplay, and it seemed unlikely that you could get something close to that number just through spurious connections in other languages. I wanted to check one thing out first, though. If some of our wordplays are due to chance, we’d expect words implicated in wordplays to have more meanings associated with them than words not implicated in wordplay—the more meanings attached to the word, the more likely it would be to have a wordplay associated with it by chance, and thus is more likely to end up on the Book of Mormon’s list of purported wordplays. Indeed, if we compare the average number of meanings for wordplay words to those for non-wordplay words, we end up with a significant difference, with a two-tailed t(156) = 3.42, p = .0008, as shown in the figure below:

So that already gives us a sense that chance might be playing a role. These names also raise the interesting question of when some of these scriptural figures got their names. Did Amaron, Hagoth, and Zeezrom get their names as children, and then just happen to go on to live their lives in a way that was ironically consistent with those names? Or did some later scribe or editor apply fitting names to those people to incorporate them better into the narrative? We don’t have time to delve into that question more deeply, but it’s possible that chance is a decent explanation for these coincidences.

To get an even better sense of what chance might be doing here, what I needed to do was find a way to generate random word meanings for each of the Book of Mormon’s unique words and see how well those meanings fit in the context of the Book of Mormon, searching for potential wordplays.

To do that, I went through the Collins Spanish-English Dictionary, noting the word that seemed the closest sound match for each unique Book of Mormon word. If you’re curious, you can take a look at the words I picked in a separate table in the Appendix. I stress that these words don’t—or at least shouldn’t—have anything to do with the Book of Mormon, and I’m not proposing that the Book of Mormon’s unique names were drawn from a Spanish dictionary. All this exercise represented was a relatively objective process for assigning random meanings to the Book of Mormon’s unique names, one that provided decent protections against cherry-picking.

In the end, when taking a look at those names, I was surprised at how many of those random meanings seemed to show a decent fit for the context of those words. Some of them even afforded for interesting wordplay, such as Alma, which means “soul” in Spanish, repeatedly using the word “soul” in Alma 36. There were 10 in all, which you can find in the table below.

# Word Spanish Word Spanish Meaning Meaning Highlight
5 Agosh agostar to burn up or wither A potentially appropriate place for a battle location.
8 Alma alma soul Could be potentially meaningful given Alma’s frequent use of the word “soul” in Alma 36.
14 Amlici amolarse to take offense Potentially appropriate name for a rebel; potential wordplay with nearby “contentions.”
34 Corom corona crown, halo, wreath A fitting name for a king.
37 Cumorah cumulo heap, accumulation An alright name for a hill.
53 Hagoth hago I made; I built Hagoth certainly built things.
98 Nahom nahual spirit Not an unfitting meaning for a burial ground.
139 Shule sultan sultan Potentially an appropriate appelation for a king.
140 Shum sumar to add up Potentially meaningful as a weight measure.
147 Zarahemla zaramullo affected, conceited, finicky, amusing Conceited could potentially work, as Zarahemla is sometimes associated with pride, though its a minor connection to a minor meaning of the word.

It’s entirely possible that these wouldn’t pass muster with the Paul Hoskissons or Matt Bowens of the world, but they certainly seem to be the same sort of connections that scholars would find interesting if they happened upon them in Hebrew or Egyptian.

Now, 10 seems like it’s substantially less than 43, but 10 is actually somewhat bad news. Remember we don’t just get one roll of the dice when we’re looking for these wordplays. Recall that each word had an average of 2.47 meanings associated with it. That means we get 2.47 rolls of the dice, each likely to produce around 10 wordplays or wordplay-like connections out of our set of 158, purely on the basis of chance. The probability that a single roll of that meaning-die not producing a wordplay would be 148/158, or .9367. The probability that a word would go through 2.47 rolls of that same die without producing a wordplay would be .93672.47, or about .85. By subtracting that from 1, we have the probability that a given unique Book of Mormon name would be able to form a wordplay after being compared with 2.47 randomly generated meanings: .15, which in our set of 158 would produce about 24 wordplay-like connections, all of them spurious.

Now 24 and 43 are different, but not astronomically so. Plugging those values into a chi-square alongside the ones from the Onomasticon dataset, and we get χ2(1) = 6.84, p = .008. In other words, though it’s significantly different from the 24 we would expect to find with a randomly generated set of meanings, it’s not particularly improbable, at least not in the context of other evidence we’ve considered. Regardless, with that value in hand we have all we need to build our overall probability estimate.

But wait! What about the other types of evidence listed in the Book of Mormon Central video: glosses, consistency, and parallelism? Well, for glosses, it seems to me to be an extension of the antiquity issue—given how readily words can be tied to ancient languages, and given that faithful scholars would be especially motivated to pull out all the linguistic stops in search of support for a gloss, that such support can be found may not be unexpected. That, combined with the relatively small sample size for those glosses (4, by my count), is going to make it hard to incorporate into our analysis.

In terms of consistency, assuming that Joseph was especially attuned to the biblical pattern, we’d expect those names to show some consistency. Such attunement wouldn’t necessarily prevent him from messing that up on occasion, though, and if Joseph was as creative as people sometimes believe him to be, nothing would’ve stopped him from throwing in a name or two starting with F or Q. But given that it broadly fits the hypothesis, it’s going to be hard to give it much weight in our analysis. As one of several ways that we’re exercising a fortiori reasoning here, we’ll just set that evidence aside.

And, for the example of parallelism, we’d likely treat that as an example of a wordplay-like connection, but the only example of which I’m aware is with the name Zedekiah—a biblical name rather than a name unique to the Book of Mormon. We’ll be setting aside that issue as well.

All told, then, we have three independent pieces of positive evidence to account for: 1) Jaredite names being less likely to show a connection with Semitic, Sumerian, or Egyptian languages, relative to Lehite names (p = .00232); 2) Jaredite names significantly differing from those of other cultures on a number of other linguistic characteristics (p = .05); and 3) Book of Mormon names showing somewhat more wordplay or wordplay-like connections than we’d expect on the basis of chance (p = .008). Multiplying all those together, we get p = 9.28 x 10-8. That’s what we’ll use for our consequent probability.

Posterior Probability

PH = Prior Probability of the Hypothesis (our initial estimate of the likelihood of authentic Book of Mormon names, or p = 1 — 1.44 x 10-33)

CH = Consequent Probability of the Hypothesis (the estimated likelihood of observing the evidence if the names were authentic, or p = .001)

PA = Prior Probability of the Alternate Hypothesis (our initial estimate of the likelihood of the names being fraudulent, or p = 1.44 x 10-33)

CA = Consequent Probability of the Alternate Hypothesis (the estimated likelihood of observing wordplays and cultural distinctions if the names are fraudulent, or p = 9.28 x 10-8)

PostProb = Posterior Probability (the updated likelihood of an authentic Book of Mormon)

PH = 1 — 1.44 x 10-33
PostProb = PH * CH
(PH * CH) + (PA * CA)
PostProb = (1 — 1.44 x 10-33 * .001)
((1 — 1.44 x 10-33) * .001) + (1.44 x 10-33 * 9.28 x 10-8)

PostProb = 1 — 1.34 x 10-37

Lmag = Likelihood Magnitude (an estimate of the number of orders of magnitude that the probability will shift, due to the evidence)

Lmag = log10(CH / CA)

Lmag = log10(.001 / 9.28 x 10-8)

Lmag = log10(10776)

Lmag = 4

 

Conclusion

All told, in the Onomasticon we seem to have evidence that’s somewhat informative, though perhaps not as informative as it might’ve seemed at first glance. Some aspects of the book’s unique names appear unexpected, particularly differences between Jaredite and Lehite names, and the number of wordplay-like connections that those words form with ancient languages. However, what our results also suggest is that some, and perhaps many, of those connections could have been produced by chance. It’s not likely that all 43 that we identify here are spurious, but some of them likely are. That doesn’t make the study of wordplays any less interesting or worthwhile. Assuming that the book is authentic, such wordplays can absolutely help to deepen our understanding of the text and give new appreciation for that literary talents of its ancient authors. But it should lead us to demonstrate a bit of caution when it comes to interpreting each of the potential examples. And, when taking into account the Onomasticon’s unresolved issues, it means that it doesn’t represent overwhelming evidence in the Book of Mormon’s favor.

 

Skeptic’s Corner

If a critic really wanted to convince me that the Onomasticon was a liability for an authentic Book of Mormon, there are a few places they could do it. First, they’d need to demonstrate to me how easy it should be for us to build a consistent linguistic framework on the basis of 200 names, given the complex linguistic history described in the book—so easy that we’d expect to not be able to less than 10% of the time. I don’t see how it could be easy, but maybe it is and I’m just too ignorant to grasp it. Second, they could show me how rare it would be for local names from other cultures to be transliterated or translated away in ancient texts. Maybe it’s even less rare than the 1% I’ve assigned it. If critics want to frame this as a silver bullet, they’re going to have to demonstrate a strong statistical basis for one or both of these points.

It wouldn’t hurt to work to weaken the positive side of the argument either. Maybe my identification of 10 Spanish wordplays is unexpectedly low, and that if I repeated that process 10 or 100 times the average number of spurious wordplays would be much higher. Maybe Joseph’s success in differentiating Jaredite names would also make it less likely for us to identify ties with ancient languages, creating a dependence between those two pieces of evidence. Maybe analytic bias (including my own) can account for everything we see here, in ways I can’t yet fathom. Until that evidence is presented to me clearly, though, I’ll claim the Onomasticon as a minor asset pointing us toward authenticity.

 

Next Time, in Episode 22:

And with that, our review of the book’s positive evidence is complete. Next time, the critics will get one last shot as we take a look at the evidence associated with the Book of Abraham.

Questions, ideas, and insulting nicknames can have their etymology traced through BayesianBoM@gmail.com or submitted as comments below.



Appendix

Onomasticon Table

# Word BofM Ethnicity # of Meanings Primary Language Word Meaning Meaning Highlight Book of Mormon Gloss
1 Abinadi Lehite 5 Akkadian abanada my father is cast down
2 Abinadom Lehite 2 Hebrew abinadam my father is a wanderer His fathers (several generations back) were definitely wanderers.
3 Abish Lamanite 3 Hebrew abiis my father is a man Interesting wordplay here in Alma 19:16.
4 Ablom Jaredite 2 Ugaritic blm green meadows
5 Agosh Jaredite 7 Sumerian agush toil, labour
6 Aha Lehite 2 Hebrew h’ god is a brother
7 Akish Jaredite 2 Hebrew ikkesh twist, pervert
8 Alma Lehite 3 Hebrew elema lad of God Referred to initially as a young man.
9 Amaleki Lehite 1 Hebrew amaliki the Amalekite
10 Amalickiah Lehite 1 Hebrew amalekiah Yahweh is king Ironic, since he wanted himself to become king, rather than God.
11 Amaron Lehite 3 Ammonite amaron to speak, say, or command This and the similar "Ammaron" were names given to scribes/historians in different eras, and the name could be fitting.
12 Amgid Jaredite 2 Semitic amgid people of fortune
13 Aminadi Lehite 3 Akkadian amanada my people is praised
14 Amlici Lehite 4 Semitic mlyk I have made a king over you
15 Ammaron Lehite 2 Semitic ammaron wordsmith/ speaker Nephite scribe and historian
16 Amnigaddah Jaredite 1 Semitic mngd my maker is fate
17 Amnihu Lehite 1 Semitic mnhu crafter of faith
18 Amnor Lehite 3 Hebrew mmnwr people of light
19 Amulek Lehite 1 Hebrew a-mulek the Mulek
20 Amulon Lehite 1 Hebrew amal-on trouble, toil, labour
21 Angola Lehite 4 Hebrew ‘aynglh revealed spring
22 Ani-Anti Lamanite 5 Egyptian ‘n.tj he of Ani Anti as an egyptian "he of" makes substantial sense in the context of place names such as "Anti-Nephi-Lehi"
23 Antiomno Lamanite 2 Egyptian ntymn he of faithfulness
24 Antion Lehite 5 Egyptian int-on buying, bringing Makes sense in the context of a measure of monetary weight. Also allows Antionah and Antionum to make sense as "gold-man" and "gold-city" respectively.
25 Antiparah Lehite 5 Egyptian nty-pr’h he of the great house
26 Antum Lehite 2 Egyptian n.tm(w) many waters
27 Archeantus Lehite 2 Greek apxwv chief civil magistrate Could be a fitting name for a military leader.
28 Cezoram Lehite 2 Hebrew zezoram he of Zoram
29 Cohor Jaredite 0
30 Com Jaredite 2 Sumerian gum to crush
31 Comnor Jaredite 4 Akkadian karmu ruin, ruin heap This was the site of a large battle with tremendous loss of life.
32 Corianton Lehite 2 Akkadian garium opponent, enemy
33 Corihor Jaredite 2 Akkadian hurianum plant
34 Corom Jaredite 1 Sumerian kurum judge; decide
35 Cumeni Jaredite 5 Hebrew kmn hidden away
36 Comums Jaredite 1 Hebrew qum rise up, stand up
37 Cumorah Lehite 4 Akkadian kamaru to heap up, layer up An appropriate name for a hill.
38 Cureloms Jaredite 2 Hebrew garal to roll forth
39 Deseret Jaredite 3 Egyptian dsrt desert A name for upper Egypt, which was symbolized by the bee. honey-bee
40 Emer Jaredite 6 Ugaritic mr to speak; to command
41 Emron Lehite 3 Hebrew amar to speak
42 Ethem Jaredite 0
43 Ezrom Lehite 2 Hebrew hsrom enclosed, bound together Could be an appropriate name for a weight-based measure (e.g., weighing bags).
44 Gadianton Lehite 2 Hebrew gadi-anton my fortune is oppression A fitting name for a robber band–also "gadd" in Hebrew means "band/bandits" which would also be fitting.
45 Gadiomnah Lehite 1 Hebrew gad-mn faithful to fortune
46 Gazelem Lehite 10 Hebrew gazarim halves; cut in two; polishing A good name for a set of polished stones.
47 Gid Lehite 2 Hebrew gid sinew
48 Giddonah Lehite 3
49 Giddianhi Lehite 2
50 Gidgiddoni Lehite 2
51 Gilgah Jaredite 1
52 Gimgimno Lehite 5 Egyptian gmgmno broken city This was a city which sank into the earth.
53 Hagoth Lehite 2 Hebrew hagot curious; skillful; devisings Hagoth is said to be an exceedingly curious (skillful) man.
54 Hearthom Jaredite 1 Hebrew hartom soothsayer-priests
55 Helaman Lehite 5 Hebrew hlm-an seer; visionary A solid prophetic name.
56 Helorum Lehite 2 Hebrew helyarom may the hero exalt
57 Hem Lehite 4 Hebrew ham father-in-law
58 Hermounts Lehite 2 Egyptian hr-mntw sanctuary of the god of wild places and things This is a wilderness area infested by wild and ravenous beasts.
59 Heshlon Jaredite 1 Hebrew sl-on place of exhaustion/ crushing This is the place where Shared defeated Coriantumr in battle.
60 Himni Lehite 1 Hebrew hmn
61 Irreantum Lehite 5 Semitic irwyantmm abundant watering of completeness Aligns with a meaning of a place of many waters. many waters
62 Jacom Jaredite 1 Hebrew yaqom let the Lord rise up
63 Jarom Lehite 1 Hebrew joram Jehovah is exalted
64 Jashon Lehite 4 Hebrew ja-s’n Jehovah gives rest
65 Jershon Lehite 2 Hebrew yerson place of inheritance This was a land given as an inheritance.
66 Joneum Lehite 2 Hebrew jo-neum Jehovah is the oracle
67 Josh Lehite 5 Hebrew josiah Jehovah has healed
68 Kib Jaredite 0
69 Kim Jaredite 0
70 Kimnor Jaredite 0
71 Kishkumen Jaredite 2 Sumerian kish-kumen extension of biblical place-name
72 Kumen Lehite 4 Hebrew kmn to hide up
73 Lachoneus Lehite 1 Greek lachoneus Laconian
74 Lamah Lehite 1 Hebrew lmh why?
75 Laman Lehite 3 Safaitic l’mn mender
76 Lamoni Lehite 2
77 Lehi Lehite 3 Hebrew lhy jaw, cheek bone
78 Lehonti Lehite 0
79 Liahona Lehite 2 Hebrew l-yah-annu to God is light compass (crafty contrivance; circle or globe)
80 Lib Jaredite 5 Sumerian lib to be rich, well-off
81 Limher Lehite 1 Hebrew mhr hasten
82 Limhi Lehite 3 Ugaritic limhay the people live
83 Limnah Lehite 4 Hebrew nimna counted, reckoned Similar to the root words for weight measures, which is its use in the Book of Mormon
84 Luram Lehite 3 Aramaic lu-rum may he be exalted
85 Mahah Jaredite 0
86 Manti Lehite 1 Egyptian mntw Month (god)
87 Mathoni Lehite 1 Hebrew mantan my gift
88 Melek Lehite 1 Hebrew melek king
89 Middoni Lehite 2 Hebrew mdd-on place of measurement
90 Minon Lehite 6 Hebrew mnn to be bounteous Land on a river where flocks were raised.
91 Mocum Lehite 2 Hebrew maqom place, station
92 Moriancumer Jaredite 2 Akkadian mu-iru-kumru leader-priest An appropriate title for the Jaredite nation’s founding religious figure.
93 Morianton Jaredite 2
94 Mormon Lehite 4 Egyptian mrmn love is established A number of examples of wordplay tying the word "Mormon" to "love." This word is also found in Egyptian in symbols taken from the plates, and that were ascribed by Frederick G. Williams as meaning "The Book of Mormon. The demotic symbol for "book" is also found in those symbols. Also worth mentioning is the potential Hebrew meaning of Mormon which would be mrm-on, or "desirable place," which would be fitting given the context of the Book of Mormon place names such as "the Waters of Mormon."
95 Moroni Lehite 3 Egyptian mrny my beloved
96 Mosiah Lehite 2 Hebrew mosi-yahu the Lord delivers/saves
97 Mulek Lehite 3 Hebrew mlk to reign; king A fitting name for the son of a king, and features a rather dramatic correspondence to the attested malchiah, the son of the king
98 Nahom Lehite 2 Hebrew nhm to groan (of persons) A good name for a burial ground and place of mourning.
99 Neas Lehite 3 Mixe nij chili-pepper
100 Nehor Jaredite 2 Hebrew nahor
101 Nephi Lehite 6 Egyptian nfr good, beautiful Substantial wordplay with the word "good" in Nephi 1 and elsewhere.
102 Neum Lehite 2 Hebrew neum visionary utterance
103 Ogath Jaredite 0
104 Omer Jaredite 1 Hebrew mr commander
105 Omner Lehite 1 Hebrew amner divine kinsman is light
106 Omni Lehite 2 Hebrew mn to be true or faithful
107 Onidah Lehite 5 Hebrew on-dah he attends to my strength A fitting name for a place of arms.
108 Onti Lehite 0
109 Orihah Jaredite 1 Hebrew uriyahu my light is Jehova
110 Paanchi Lehite 1 Egyptian p3-‘nh the living one
111 Pachus Lehite 2 Egyptian p3-hsy he is praised
112 Pacumeni Lehite 2 Egyptian pkmt the Egyptian
113 Pagag Jaredite 0
114 Pahoran Lehite 5 Canaanite pah.ura the Syrian
115 Rabbanah Lehite 2 Hebrew rbb-an Large, great, many Matches the gloss quite well. Powerful or great king
116 Rameumptom Lehite 1 Hebrew rama-omed-om stand at a high place A rather spot-on name for a high place of standing.
117 Riplah Lehite 1 Hebrew riblah fertility
118 Ripliancum Jaredite 2 Sumerian rib-lian strong waters Large waters, to exceed all.
119 Sariah Lehite 1 Hebrew sryah the princess of Jehovah
120 Seantum Lehite 2 Hebrew s’ntmm perfection in full measure
121 Sebus Lehite 2 Semitic sbs place of gathering A fitting name for a gathering place for flocks.
122 Seezoram Lehite 2 Hebrew zezoram he of Zoram
123 Senine Lehite 3 Egyptian snny a unit of silver currency A weight-based unit of currency.
124 Senum Lehite 1 Arabic snm to ascend
125 Seon Lehite 1 Hebrew se’a hebrew volumetric measure A weight-based unit of currency.
126 Shared Jaredite 2 Ugaritic srd to present an offering from God
127 Shazer Lehite 5 Egyptian shazher pass of the trees A useful area in which to make a new wooden bow.
128 Shelem Jaredite 5 Hebrew slm peace offering
129 Shemlon Lehite 7 Hebrew simla-on covered place
130 Shemnon Lehite 2 Hebrew smn place of fatness
131 Sherem Lehite 2 Assyrian saramu to cut out
132 Sherrizah Lehite 1 Hebrew srs to swarm, teem
133 Sheum Lehite 4 Sumerian se’um barley, grain cereal This is a food item implied to be a grain.
134 Shez Jaredite 0
135 Shiblon Jaredite 4 Hebrew sbl flowing skirt
136 Shim Jaredite 3 Hebrew sem name, fame, renown
137 Shimnilom Lehite 2 Hebrew smn-ilom name/monument of wealth
138 Shiz Jaredite 0
139 Shule Jaredite 2 Sumerian su’la belief, trust
140 Shum Lehite 2 Hebrew sum garlic
141 Shurr Jaredite 8 Hebrew srr foe, enemy
142 Sidom Lehite 2 Hebrew swd to catch, hunt
143 Siron Lehite 1 Phoenician siryon armor
144 Teancum Lehite 1 Hebrew de-ancum the one from ancum
145 Teomner Lehite 1 Hebrew de-omner the one from omner
146 Tubaloth Lehite 4 Hebrew tubal-oth gift, presentation
147 Zarahemla Lehite 4 Hebrew zer’a-hemla seed of compassion A few interesting wordplays in Alma 27:4-5 and Alma 53:10-13.
148 Zeezrom Lehite 2 Hebrew ze-ezrom he of silver A good name for someone offering a bribe to Alma and Amulek.
149 Zemnarihah Lehite 1 Egyptian zmn-h3-r’
150 Zenephi Lehite 3 Hebrew Ze-nfy he of Nephi
151 Zeniff Lehite 2 Hebrew zainab
152 Zenock Lehite 4 Hebrew znq to leap
153 Zenos Lehite 3 Greek ze-nos guest, host, stranger
154 Zerahemnah Lehite 4 Hebrew zera’-ham-ma-na-h seed of appointment/ measurement
155 Zeram Lehite 7 Hebrew zerem thunder
156 Zerin Jaredite 1 Qatabanian z.rm to be sharp An appropriate name for a mountain.
157 Ziff Lehite 2 Akkadian ziv appearance, luster, glow A fitting name for a potentially shiny metal.
158 Zoram Lehite 5 Hebrew sur-am the rock is the kinsman Wordplay in referring to the Zoramites as "high" or "lifted up" in Alma 38:3-5.



Spanish Meaning Generation

# Word Spanish Word Spanish Meaning Meaning Highlight
1 Abinadi abintestato intestate (dying before having made a will) No
2 Abinadom abintestato intestate (dying before having made a will) No
3 Abish abisal deep sea No
4 Ablom ablandador a thing that softens No
5 Agosh agostar to burn up or wither A potentially appropriate place for a battle location.
6 Aha ahi there No
7 Akish achechadera hiding place No
8 Alma alma soul Could be potentially meaningful given Alma’s frequent use of the word "soul" in Alma 36.
9 Amaleki amalgama to combine, blend No
10 Amalickiah amalia work No
11 Amaron amarar to land, splash, or touch down No
12 Amgid amigdala tonsil No
13 Aminadi aminorar to cut, reduce No
14 Amlici amolarse to take offense Potentially appropriate name for a rebel; potential wordplay with nearby "contentions."
15 Ammaron amarar to land, splash, or touch down No
16 Amnigaddah amniotico pertaining to the little lamb No
17 Amnihu amniotico pertaining to the little lamb No
18 Amnor amor love No
19 Amulek amuleto amulet, charm No
20 Amulon amuleto amulet, charm No
21 Angola angostar to narrow, make smaller No
22 Ani-Anti anil indigo, blue No
23 Antiomno antimonio metallic element No
24 Antion antinomia conflict of authority No
25 Antiparah antipara screen No
26 Antum antuca parasol No
27 Archeantus archangel archangel No
28 Cezoram cerezo cherry tree No
29 Cohor cororte cohort No
30 Com como how No
31 Comnor comodo comfortable, handy, lazy No
32 Corianton corriente common, usual, ordinary No
33 Corihor corajina fit of rage No
34 Corom corona crown, halo, wreath A fitting name for a king.
35 Cumeni cume baby of the family No
36 Comums comuna commune, municipality No
37 Cumorah cumulo heap, accummulation An alright name for a hill.
38 Cureloms curena gun carriage No
39 Deseret desertar to abandon No
40 Emer emerito emeritus No
41 Emron emirato emirate No
42 Ethem ethos ethos No
43 Ezrom estarse to stay No
44 Gadianton gaditano from Cadiz No
45 Gadiomnah gachon charming, sweet, sexy No
46 Gazelem gacela gazelle No
47 Gid giba hump, hunchback, nuisance No
48 Giddonah gibon gibbon No
49 Giddianhi gibon gibbon No
50 Gidgiddoni gibado with a hump No
51 Gilgah gilar to watch, keep tabs on No
52 Gimgimno gimnasio gym No
53 Hagoth hago I made; I built Hagoth certainly built things.
54 Hearthom harton large banana; gluttonous No
55 Helaman helenico Hellenic; Greek No
56 Helorum heliotropo Heliotrope (flower) No
57 Hem hembra female, nut, eye No
58 Hermounts hermoso beautiful, lovely, nice and big No
59 Heshlon hexagono hexagon No
60 Himni himno hymn No
61 Irreantum irrealista unrealistic No
62 Jacom jaco small horse, nag No
63 Jarom jarron vase No
64 Jashon jaspe jasper No
65 Jershon jerezano from Jerez No
66 Joneum jonico ionic No
67 Josh Josue Joshua No
68 Kib kiki joint, reefer No
69 Kim kimona kimono No
70 Kimnor kimona kimono No
71 Kishkumen kuchen fancy cake No
72 Kumen kuchen fancy cake No
73 Lachoneus laconismo laconic manner; terse No
74 Lamah lama mud, slime, ooze No
75 Laman lama mud, slime, ooze No
76 Lamoni laminar to laminate; to roll No
77 Lehi legia legionnarie No
78 Lehonti lehendakari government head No
79 Liahona liana to climb like a vine No
80 Lib libro book No
81 Limher limar to file down, polish, iron out No
82 Limhi lima lime No
83 Limnah lima lime No
84 Luram lurio in love No
85 Mahah mahoma Mahommed No
86 Manti mantilla baby clothes; naïve No
87 Mathoni matonismo thuggery, bullying No
88 Melek melocoton peach, peach tree No
89 Middoni midi mini No
90 Minon minon sweet, cute No
91 Mocum moco mucus, snot, crest, burnt wick No
92 Moriancumer moribundo moribund No
93 Morianton morena moraine No
94 Mormon moro moorish No
95 Moroni moron hillock No
96 Mosiah misia missus No
97 Mulek mule to bump off No
98 Nahom nahual spirit Not an unfitting meaning for a burial ground.
99 Neas neceser toilet bag No
100 Nehor negrero slave trader No
101 Nephi nefato stupid, dim No
102 Neum neumatico pneumatic No
103 Ogath Ogino rhythm method of birth control No
104 Omer omitir to leave out, miss out No
105 Omner omni omni (prefix) No
106 Omni omni omni (prefix) No
107 Onidah onda wave No
108 Onti ontology the real No
109 Orihah originar to cause No
110 Paanchi panache mixed salad No
111 Pachus panho chubby, squat, flat No
112 Pacumeni paciente patient No
113 Pagag pagar to pay No
114 Pahoran pajolero bloody, damned, stupid, naughty No
115 Rabbanah rabanillo wild radish No
116 Rameumptom ramera prostitute No
117 Riplah ripiar to fill with rubble, to shred, to squander No
118 Ripliancum ripiar to fill with rubble, to shred, to squander No
119 Sariah sarita straw hat No
120 Seantum sentido heartfelt, hurt, sensitive, sense No
121 Sebus sebaceo relating to oil or fat No
122 Seezoram sesamo sesame No
123 Senine senil senile No
124 Senum senuelo decoy, bait, lure No
125 Seon seo cathedral No
126 Shared serape blanket No
127 Shazer sacer sacred No
128 Shelem sello stamp No
129 Shemlon semillero seed box, nursery No
130 Shemnon seminario seminary No
131 Sherem sera basket No
132 Sherrizah sericultura silk-raising No
133 Sheum seo cathedral No
134 Shez sesamo sesame No
135 Shiblon sibilino prophetic or mysterious No
136 Shim sima abyss, chasm, fissure No
137 Shimnilom simil similar No
138 Shiz sicario hired killer No
139 Shule sultan sultan Potentially an appropriate appelation for a king.
140 Shum sumar to add up Potentially meaningful as a weight measure.
141 Shurr sur southern No
142 Sidom sidoso sufferer from AIDS (disease) No
143 Siron Sirio Syrian No
144 Teancum tea torch No
145 Teomner teorema theorum No
146 Tubaloth tubular roll on No
147 Zarahemla zaramullo affected, conceited, finicky, amusing Conceited could potentially work, as Zarahemla is sometimes associated with pride, though it’s a minor connection to a minor meaning of the word.
148 Zeezrom zazca bang, crash No
149 Zemnarihah zanzontle mockingbird No
150 Zenephi zanzontle mockingbird No
151 Zeniff zanzontle mockingbird No
152 Zenock zona area No
153 Zenos zona area No
154 Zerahemnah zarzamora blackberry No
155 Zeram zarzo hurdle, wattle, attic No
156 Zerin zarzo hurdle, wattle, attic No
157 Ziff ziper zipper No
158 Zoram zorra vixen, whore, bloody No
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