🔼The name Aiim: Summary
- From the noun אי ('i), in this case perhaps a jackal, from the verb אוה ('wh), which possibly expressed being desirous.
🔼The name Aiim in the Bible
The name Aiim is probably not really a name. Only the Young translation insists on speaking of these people, who would occupy the ruins of Babylon (Isaiah 13:22), and would also meet with another dubious people named the Ziim, and live happily ever after in the ruins of Zion (Isaiah 34:14). This is the same verse in which some translations (but not Young, curiously) also have Lilith settle there.
Young also speaks of a people named the Iim, who would live together with the Ziim as well, and whose name is spelled the same as the Aiim (and even pointed the same by the medieval Masoretes). Why Young thinks that the Aiim and the Iim are not the same people (called either Iim or Aiim) is not clear.
🔼Etymology of the name Aiim
The "name" Aiim is the same as the plural form of the word אי ('i), meaning jackal:
There are four different verbs אוה ('wh), which all appear to express a desire or movement toward something. Noun אי ('i) means coast, which has been mankind's preferred place to settle since time immemorial. Nouns או ('aw), מאוי (ma'away), אוה ('awwa) and תאוה (ta'awa) all mean desire. The noun אות ('ot) means mark or sign, and humanity's earliest marks were not to assert private ownership but rather a collective identity: something to draw toward and gather around. Noun אי ('i) means jackal, and noun איה (ayya) means hawk or falcon. These creatures were possibly named after their supplicatory calls, or else their rapturous method of predation.
The conjunction או ('o) means "or." The interjection אי ('i) expresses regret: "alas!" Adverb אי ('i) may serve as a particle of negation ("to be desired" and thus not so), or as an interrogative adverb, meaning "where?", usually in rhetorical questions. The substantive אין ('ayin) expresses negation or nothingness and occurs hundreds of times in the construct מאין (m'ayin), which literally means "from where is not?", as introduction to a rhetorical question concerning something that is true in all known parts of the world: "where isn't it so that such and such, hmm?"
Whether Aiim is a name or not, it means Jackals, but jackals appear to have been named after a verb that means to desire.