Just as there are several interpretations of Zipporah's role in the biblical text, there are various interpretations of the literal meaning of her name. "Tzipor" means bird in Hebrew. One theory, according to Rabbi Rebecca Alpert in The Women ' s Torah Commentary: New Insights From Women Rabbis on the 54 Torah Portions, is that before she was born, Zipporah's mother intuited that "like the purification offering of two clean, living birds, [her daughter] would be responsible for purifying her house." Another suggestion is that she "would take flight with this strange man, Moses."
In either case, Zipporah stays true to her role as a woman who acts bravely and decisively, not one who is acted upon.