What does Misrach Ewunetie’s name mean? Origin explored

Bruno Cooke October 21, 2022
What does Misrach Ewunetie’s name mean? Origin explored
Photo by Oliver Morris/Getty Images


Princeton University is mourning the death of 20-year-old undergraduate student Misrach Ewunetie – what are the origins of her name, and what does it mean?

She was originally reported missing on October 17. A Facilities employee found her body on Thursday, October 20, per Fox29.

Ewunetie was due to graduate in 2024. Her death, writes vice president W Rochelle Calhoun, is “an unthinkable tragedy.”

“Our hearts,” Calhoun continues, “go out to her family, her friends and the many others who knew and loved her.”

Photo by Oliver Morris/Getty Images

Misrach Ewunetie name origins and meaning explored

The surname Ewunetie, according to Forebears, is most prevalent in Ethiopia. That’s the only country associated with the name in its database.

Others who share the name, such as broadcast journalist Dawit Ewunetie, are Ethiopian.

Meanwhile Misrach, per Educalingo, is the Hebrew name for the East. The website adds that likely hails from the Sephardian tradition – “the heavenly direction in which the pious Jew bowed to prayer.”

Forebears agrees that it is of Hebrew origin, and most common (as a surname) in the US and Ethiopia. And for its part, Names.org’s only user-submitted meaning and origin of the name Misrach is from someone in Washington, who claims the name is of Amharic origin and means “congratulations.”

Amharic is a Semitic language from Ge’ez. It’s one of two official languages of Ethiopia. Hebrew and Amharic are linguistically related.

Where is late student Misrach Ewunetie from?

According to Planet Princeton’s reporting on Ewunetie’s case, recently updated to reflect yesterday’s news, she grew up in Cleveland, Ohio.

He family came to the United States from Ethiopia in 2008.

She was 20 years old when she died, and was due to graduate from Princeton University with an undergraduate degree in 2024.

She was majoring in sociology, with a minor in computer science, and received a full four-year scholarship to Princeton via the QuestBridge National College Match program. Ewunetie was in the process of obtaining American citizenship.

Photo by Oliver Morris/Getty Images

What has Princeton University said following her death?

“It is with great sadness that we share heartbreaking news about the death of Misrach Ewunetie ’24,” Princeton’s vice president wrote in a letter to the university community yesterday afternoon.

“An autopsy will determine her cause of death,” she added, “but [the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office and the Department of Public Safety] said there were ‘no obvious signs of injury and her death does not appear suspicious or criminal in nature.’”

“Misrach’s death is an unthinkable tragedy. Our hearts go out to her family, her friends and the many others who knew and loved her.”

Calhoun and her colleagues are planning an opportunity for students to “join together and remember Misrach.” More to follow.

A Christmas Story Christmas | Official Teaser | HBO Max

A Christmas Story Christmas | Official Teaser | HBO Max

Resources for students and tributes to late student

Ms Calhoun included in her letter the details of various counselling and psychological services Princeton University offers students, faculty and staff. Find them here.

Misrach Ewunetie’s brother Universe told Good Morning America yesterday that “time is of the essence,” and that the search team needs “any help” they can find. She is “the gem of the house,” he added.

New Jersey governor Phil Murphy paid tribute to the late student on Twitter. He wrote that he is “heartbroken” by the news.

And finally, Minds Matter Cleveland tweeted that they are “devastated at the loss of a beloved member of [their] community.”

Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know
Bruno Cooke has been a freelance journalist since 2019, primarily with GRV Media. He was an early contributor to The Focus, and has written for HITC, Groundviews and the Sheffield University newspaper – he earned his MA in Global Journalism there in 2021. He’s the Spoken Word Poetry Editor for The Friday Poem, and self-published his debut novel Reveries in 2019, which his mum called both a “fine read” and “excellent Christmas present”. Bruno has lived in China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines and likes, among other things: bicycle touring, black and white Japanese films, pub quizzes, fermentation and baklava. In 2023, Bruno will set off with his partner on a round-the-world cycle.