🔼The name Myra: Summary
- Flowing, Weeping, Costly
- From the creature called Murex, or else the noun μυρον (muron), a proverbially costly oil.
🔼The name Myra in the Bible
The name Myra occurs only once in the Bible. Myra was the name of a port city in Lycia, at the south-west point of Anatolia (modern Turkey). There the apostle Paul boarded the Alexandrian ship that was bound for Italy (Acts 27:5), but which a few weeks later would famously beach on Malta.
🔼Etymology of the name Myra
It's not clear where the name Myra derives from. In 2007 the remains of a large heap of Murex shells were found near Myra, which demonstrates that Myra was home to a formidable purple dye factory and was possible named after the Murex, and ultimately for words for costliness:
The adjective μυριος (murios) and noun μυριας (murias) mean either an uncountable myriad or else roughly ten thousand.
The verb μυρω (muro) means to flow or trickle (of tears or blood and such). The derived noun μυρον (muron) means oil or ointment, but a proverbially expensive one. This noun in turn yields the verb μυριζω (murizo), to sprinkle with costly oil.
It may be that these words are linked to the creature called Murex (murex, muricis), from which the Phoenicians made their signature purple dye. There may even be relations with the word σμυρνα (smurna) or myrrh, the proverbial oil with which the consummation of marriage was celebrated.
For a meaning of the name Myra, Spiros Zodhiates (The Complete Wordstudy Dictionary) reads Flowing, Weeping. Here at Abarim Publications we surmise that the place was named after its purple production and dubbed Costly.