🔼The name Zin in the Bible
The name Zin belongs to a wilderness — more fully known as מדבר־צן, midbar-sin; the wilderness-of-Zin — just south of Canaan (Numbers 13:21 and 34:4), bordering Edom (Joshua 15:1) and associated with the Sinai, Negev, Arabah and Paran regions and the town called Kadesh (Numbers 33:36).
🔼Etymology of the name Zin
The name Zin is spelled the same as the noun צן (sen), meaning thorn or barb, from the root צנן (snn I):
But it should be noted that the name Zin (צן) is not all that far removed from the name Zion (ציון), which may derive from the noun ציון (sayon) either meaning place of dryness, or monument:
The name Zin is known in the Talmud as צין (sin), which was then associated with a mountain of that name, which in turn was associated with a kind of low palm tree named such. But this is all post-Biblical legendary theorizing.
For a meaning of the name Zin, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names goes with the Talmud and reads A Low Palm Tree. Where NOBSE Study Bible Name List derives our name from isn't clear, but they propose Lowland. BDB Theological Dictionary neither offers an interpretation nor lists our name under a specific root.
Here at Abarim Publications we prefer to stick with Biblical Hebrew instead of post-Biblical Hebrew, and are more charmed by our name's similarity with the noun צן (sen), meaning thorn or barb. Note that the name Sinai (סיני) brings to mind the word סנה (seneh), which denotes a prickly shrub of some sort.