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Updated May 2, 2024

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Boy name origins & meanings

What does Caleb mean and stand for?


  • Hebrew: Faithful, devotion, whole hearted, bold, brave; dog
  • English: Variant of the Hebrew Caleb
  • African : Old Testament Cain

Gender: Male

Syllables: 2

Pronunciation: The name Caleb is pronounced kay-leb

The name Caleb has deep biblical roots, traditionally believed to be derived either from the Hebrew kelev, meaning “dog,” or from the Hebrew components kal and lev, which together mean “whole heart.” Alternatively, the Hebrew word "Kaleb" symbolizes loyalty, devotion, and wholehearted faith. In the Old Testament, Caleb is a character known for his undeterred faith in God and his intrepid spirit.

Boy name variations

How Popular Is The Name Caleb

Family name origins & meanings

  • Scottish and Irish: reduced and altered form of Scottish and Irish McKillip, a Gaelic patronymic from Philip. The form of the name, originally Killip, has been assimilated to that of the Biblical personal name Caleb.
  • English and Welsh: from the Biblical Hebrew personal name Caleb, the name of one of the only two men who set out with Moses from Egypt to live long enough to enter the promised land (Numbers 26:65). This name, which is derived from a Hebrew word meaning "dog", was popular among the Puritans in the 17th century and was brought by them as a personal name to America.

Caleb in Pop Culture

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

  • Caleb Rivers from Pretty Little Liars - A tech-savvy and loyal character with a mysterious past.
  • Caleb Prior from Divergent - Brother to the protagonist, Tris, who chooses knowledge over family.
  • Caleb Nichols from The O.C. - A wealthy and often manipulative businessman.
  • Caleb Danvers from The Covenant - A student at the Spenser Academy who is also a descendant of colonial witch families.
  • Caleb Temple from American Gothic - A young boy who discovers he is central to the mysterious events of his hometown.

Popularity of the Name Caleb

According to the Social Security Administration, the name Caleb has been a popular choice for boys in the United States, consistently making it into the top 100 baby names over recent years. Its popularity is attributed to its strong biblical roots, as Caleb is a notable figure in the Old Testament known for his faith and devotion. This historical significance has contributed to the name's enduring appeal among parents seeking a name with religious and historical depth.

In addition to its Biblical connections, several notable figures have borne the name Caleb, spanning various fields including sports, entertainment, and literature. For instance, Caleb Carr, an American military historian and author, is known for his historical and detective fiction, most notably the novel The Alienist. In the realm of entertainment, Caleb McLaughlin is a young actor renowned for his role in the hit series Stranger Things, which has likely contributed to the name's continued popularity among younger parents and fans of the show.

Where Is the Name Caleb Popular?

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

Nicknames for Caleb

These shortened names can make great nicknames for your baby.

  • Cal
  • Cale
  • Cay

Caleb Pairs Well With These Middle Names

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

Appears On

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