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Etymology[edit | edit source]
Lilith is believed to have originated as a female Mesopotamian storm demon associated with wind. She was thought to be a bearer of disease, illness and death. The figure first appeared in a class of wind and storm demons or spirits as Lilitu in Sumer, circa 4000 BC. The phonetic name Lilith is thought to have originated in Ancient Israel and to have pre-dated at least 700 BC.
In Jewish folklore, Lilith is the name of Adam's first wife, who was created at the same time and from the same earth as him. She left Adam after refusing to become subservient to him and would not return to the Garden of Eden after she mated with archangel Samael. Her story was greatly developed during the Middle Ages—in the tradition of Aggadic midrashim, the Zohar and Jewish mysticism.
The semitic root L-Y-L layil in Hebrew, as layl in Arabic, means "night". Talmudic and Yiddish use of Lilith follows Hebrew. In Akkadian the terms lili and līlītu mean spirits.