Source:Hoskisson:The Book of Mormon Onomastic Ending:JBMS 18:1

The Book of Mormon Onomastic Ending -(i)hah

Parent page: Book of Mormon Names

The Book of Mormon Onomastic Ending -(i)hah

Often it is easier to define what something is not than to define what it is. For example, when trying to define what a strawberry is to someone who has never seen or tasted one, it is easy to say that a strawberry is a fruit, but, unlike most fruits, the seeds grow on the outside of the flesh. Or a strawberry is red like a raspberry, but doesn’t taste like a raspberry. Or the shape of a strawberry is somewhat like that of a thimbleberry, but strawberries do not grow on a cane. The point is that by saying what a strawberry is not does not define what a strawberry is. This is not to say that declaring what a strawberry is not is an exercise in futility. Rather, it means that sometimes the most productive thing we can do is to declare what something is not, even if we cannot say what it is.
The rather infrequent ending on some Book of Mormon names, -(i)hah, falls into this category. Though it has been claimed that -(i)hah is the shortened form of “Jehovah,” one of the names of the God of Israel (in the Bible, the shortened form that can be attached to the end of personal names is usually rendered in English as -iah, as in Isaiah),1 I will demonstrate that such claims are tantamount to declaring that a strawberry is a thimbleberry. Unfortunately, I cannot define what -(i)hah really means, but I will explain why it cannot be a representation of “Jehovah.” I will begin by discussing what can be said about -(i)hah as a suffix on Book of Mormon names and end with a warning and an admonition.[1]


  1. Paul Y. Hoskisson, "It is OK Not to have Every Answer: The Book of Mormon Onomastic Ending -(i)hah," Journal of the Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture 18:1 (2009).