The name Jonah, or in Hebrew, Yonah (יונה), means “dove.” It is the name of a biblical prophet whose story is read on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The book of Jonah tells about the prophet’s refusal to fulfill G‑d’s mission to call on the people of Ninveh to repent. After a long and frightening ordeal, Jonah regretted having defied G‑d’s wish, and went to tell the city to repent.
For the most part Jonah is a male name; however, the Yiddish translation of “dove,” Toibah, is a female name.
Several derivatives of the male version are Yoine, Yeina and Yoni. Derivatives of the female name are Teiba, Teibel and Toibah.
Read The Prophet Jonah from our Jewish History section.