Ebenezer

[ eb-uh-nee-zer ]
/ ˌɛb əˈni zər /

noun

a male given name: from a Hebrew word meaning “stone of help.”

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

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What does Ebenezer mean?

Ebenezer is a proper name that is perhaps best known as the name of Ebenezer Scrooge, the greedy old guy from Charles Dickens’ short novel A Christmas Carol.

In this sense, Ebenezer (or ebenezer) is sometimes used as a term for someone who is especially greedy, or someone who grumpily refuses to participate in Christmastime festivities, as in Only an Ebenezer like you would cancel the toy drive. However, it’s his last name, Scrooge, that’s much more commonly used as a term for such people (often in lowercase as scrooge).

Ebenezer also has two other uses. It can refer to a kind of memorial or commemoration of God’s help, especially a stone memorial or a kind of altar. It is also used as a slang word referring to anger or one’s temper, especially in phrases like get your ebenezer up or raise your ebenezer, though it’s now very rarely used in this way.

Where does Ebenezer come from?

Ebenezer is traditionally a name for males. It comes from a Hebrew phrase that means “stone of help.” The name appears in the Biblical story told in the Book of 1 Samuel, in which the Hebrew prophet Samuel sets up a stone to commemorate the help that God had given the Israelites. In the account, he names the memorial ebenezer, after the name of a place where the Israelites had camped before battle.

By the late 1600s, the word Ebenezer had entered English as a way to refer to such a memorial. Later, the word began to be used to refer to a type of chapel or church used by certain Christian denominations.

Like many names found in the Bible, Ebenezer came to be used as a proper name. Ebenezer Scrooge wasn’t the first person named Ebenezer, and he’s not the only one in literature, but he’s certainly the most famous now. The character of Scrooge in A Christmas Carol was so memorable that the word scrooge became a term for someone who is particularly greedy and grumpy. His full name is so well known, though, that people sometimes instead use his first name to mean the same thing. It is used in both uppercase and lowercase.

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What are some other forms related to Ebenezer?

  • ebenezer (lowercase spelling)

What are some synonyms for Ebenezer?

What are some words that often get used in discussing Ebenezer?

 

 

How is Ebenezer used in real life?

The most common use of Ebenezer is in reference to Scrooge. It is also used in religious contexts referring to a memorial to God, especially in the form of a rock.

 

 

 

Try using Ebenezer!

True or False? 

Charles Dickens created the name Ebenezer for his novel A Christmas Carol.

Example sentences from the Web for ebenezer