Singh: Sikh Lion King

A Spirit of Majestic Courage

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Singh literally means tiger or lion. Like the word lion is synonymous with royalty and the bravado of a king, Singh implies a status of great majestic courage, even divinity, and can be interpreted to mean lion king. Singhni is the feminine form of Singh and literally means lioness implying a courageous spirit.

Singh as Part of a Name

In Sikhism, the suffix Singh is attached to the name of every Sikh male.

The title Singh may be taken by a convert who professes to follow the Sikh religion. When a male child is born to Sikh parents, the title Singh is endowed at the time of birth, or shortly thereafter during the Janam Naam Sanskar naming ceremony. The title of Singh is affixed to the name of every Sikh male who experiences rebirth and becomes initiated as Khalsa in the Amrit Sanchar ceremony.

  • Singh, or Singhs, is a term which may also encompass the entire body of Sikhs both men and women, especially when used in reference to initiated Sikhs who have partaken of Amrit in the baptism ceremony as bequeathed by Guru Gobind Singh. Sikh men and Sikh women may both use Singh as a legal surname, or family name. For instance, a women's name may be followed by Kaur and then Singh as a legal designation on a birth certificate, driver's license, social security number, and passport or other legal identification.
  • Singhni, or Singhnee, is a compound of Singh and nee used in reference to a woman. Singhni refers to Sikh woman, particularly an Amritdhari, or initiated female. The term Singhni is used only when speaking about devout Sikh women. Singhni is a description rather than a legal identification and is not used as part of a women's name.

    Pronunciation and Spelling

    Singh and Singhni are phonetic renderings transliterated from the original Gurmukhi.

    • Singh: The i has a short sound so that it sounds like the i in sin with the ngh aspirated so that a puff of air is felt when the hand is placed in front of the mouth as the word Singh is spoken aloud.
    • Singhni: May also be spelled phonetically as Singhnee. The second syllable i has a long sound and as is pronounced the same as ie or ee.

    Examples From Scripture

    The word Singh appears several times In the scripture of Gurbani in reference to a tiger or lion.

    • "Gaoo char singh paachhai paavai ||2||
      Riding the grazing cow, man chases the tiger." SGGS||198
    • "Bakri singh iktai thae rakhae man har map bham bhou duur keejai ||
      The sheep and the lion are kept in one place O mortal, contemplation the Lord your doubts and fears are removed." SGGS||735

    The word Singh in conjunction with -asan refers to the seat of royalty or a throne.

    • "Jaapai jeeo singh-aasan loe ||
      With this light the divine throne is seen." SGGS||878
    • "Har singh-aasan deeoo siree gur tah baitthayou ||
      The Lord offered His royal throne and seated the Guru upon it." SGGS||1409