Skip to main content

Updated May 2, 2024

Table of contents

Boy name origins & meanings

What does Benjamin mean and stand for?


  • Hebrew: Son of my right hand; son of the south
  • Biblical: Favourite son

Gender: Male

Syllables: 3

Pronunciation: The name Benjamin is pronounced ben-juh-min

The name Benjamin originates from the Hebrew name בִּנְיָמִין (Binyamin), which is interpreted as "son of the right hand" or "son of the south" depending on the context. In the Bible's Book of Genesis, Benjamin is the youngest son of Jacob and Rachel, and his birth story is notable for his mother's passing and his father's fondness for him. This historical and cultural significance has made Benjamin a perennial favorite, symbolizing a beloved son or one who is cherished by the family.

Boy name variations

How Popular Is The Name Benjamin

Family name origins & meanings

Jewish, English, French, and Hungarian (Benjámin): from the Hebrew male personal name Binyamin "son of the South." In the Book of Genesis, it is treated as meaning "son of the right hand." The two senses are connected, since in Hebrew the south is thought of as the right-hand side of a person who is facing east. Benjamin was the youngest and favorite son of Jacob and supposed progenitor of one of the twelve tribes of Israel (Genesis 35:16–18; 42:4). It is rare as an English and French surname; the personal name was not common among Gentiles in the Middle Ages, but its use was sanctioned by virtue of having been borne by a saint martyred in Persia in about A.D. 424. In some cases in Medieval Europe it was also applied as a byname or nickname to the youngest (and beloved) son of a large family; this is the sense of modern French benjamin.

Benjamin in Pop Culture

Do you know these fictional characters that share the first name?

  • Benjamin Linus from Lost - A complex and enigmatic character who initially appears as an antagonist but reveals layers of depth and moral ambiguity.
  • Benjamin "Ben" Parker Jr. from Spider-Girl - The son of Peter Parker (Spider-Man) and Mary Jane Watson, and the brother of May "Mayday" Parker, Spider-Girl, in an alternate universe.
  • Benjamin "Hawkeye" Pierce from M*A*S*H - A talented surgeon known for his wit and sarcasm, serving in the Korean War, and often clashing with military bureaucracy.
  • Ben Wyatt from Parks and Recreation - A dedicated and nerdy government official with a love for calzones and a past as a teenage mayor.
  • Benjamin Button from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - A man who experiences life backwards, aging in reverse, in this fantastical drama about time and love.

Popularity of the Name Benjamin

According to the Social Security Administration data, the name Benjamin has remained a strong choice for parents, consistently holding a spot within the top 20 names for boys in the United States over recent years. Its enduring popularity can be attributed not only to its biblical roots—Benjamin being the youngest son of Jacob and Rachel, and thus one of the twelve tribes of Israel—but also to its widespread use among public figures and fictional characters alike.

Historically, Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, is perhaps the most renowned individual bearing the name. His contributions to science, diplomacy, and philosophy have cemented his place in history. In literature, Benjamin Bunny is a beloved character from Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Benjamin Bunny, introducing the name to children's fiction. The name has also been popularized by actors such as Benjamin Bratt, known for his roles in television and film.

In modern media, Benjamin Linus from the television series Lost and Ben Wyatt from Parks and Recreation are examples of characters that have kept the name fresh in the minds of audiences. These varied associations—ranging from historical figures to fictional characters—illustrate the versatility and lasting appeal of the name Benjamin.

Where Is the Name Benjamin Popular?

This name is most popular across certain states in the U.S., including those highlighted on the map below.

Nicknames for Benjamin

These shortened names can make great nicknames for your baby.

  • Ben
  • Benji
  • Benjo
  • Benny

Benjamin Pairs Well With These Middle Names

Looking for a middle name that fits perfectly? Consider these!

Subscribe to Family Education

Your partner in parenting from baby name inspiration to college planning.