Saint Peter was named Cephas by Jesus, which is recorded in the gospels as the Greek translation Πέτρος. Are Κηφάς (a Greek proper name < Aramaic כיפא‎, kēp̄ā, "rock"), κεϕαλή (head), and πέτρος (rock) etymologically related?

  • 5
    Why would one suspect a connection between kephalē and petros? They look totally different to me.
    – Draconis
    Commented Dec 6, 2021 at 19:08

1 Answer 1


No, these are all unrelated.

Κηφάς is, as you note, Semitic.

Κεϕαλή is Indo-European, from a PIE root like ghebhel, and is cognate with "gable."

Πέτρα/πέτρος has no known etymology, according to Beekes.

I assume the motivation for this question has to do with Saint Peter, and therefore edited the question to reflect this. But I don't see any reason to think that there would be an etymological relationship, since it seems clear that Πέτρος is just a translation of Cephas. It was common for Jews in this time and place to have both an Aramaic name and a Greek name. Wikipedia has a clear discussion of Saint Peter's various names: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Peter#Names_and_etymologies

It's pretty easy to check stuff like this for yourself using Wiktionary, which usually has pretty good etymological information. Your original version of the question gave Wiktionary links that answered most of your own question. As a general rule, it's a good idea when posting a question on SE to explain the motivation for the question and to figure out and post as much of the answer as you can, even if you're unsure.

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