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Updated June 7, 2024

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Boy name origins & meanings

What does Daniel mean and stand for?


  • Hebrew: God is my judge

Gender: Male

Syllables: 2

Pronunciation: The name Daniel is pronounced dan-yuhl

The name Daniel has been derived from the Biblical figure by the same name, and comes from the Hebrew words dani meaning "judge" and el meaning "God", thus translating to "God is my judge." It is a popular Old Testament name widely associated with the prophet Daniel, who is known for his wisdom and faithfulness during the Babylonian exile. The name signifies judgment and righteousness.

How Popular Is The Name Daniel

Family name origins & meanings


English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian (Dániel), Romanian, and Jewish: from the Hebrew personal name Daniel "God is my judge", borne by a major prophet in the Bible. The major factor influencing the popularity of the personal name (and hence the frequency of the surname) was undoubtedly the dramatic story in the Book of Daniel, recounting the prophet’s steadfast adherence to his religious faith in spite of pressure and persecution from the Mesopotamian kings in whose court he served: Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar (at whose feast Daniel interpreted the mysterious message of doom that appeared on the wall, being thrown to the lions for his pains). The name was also borne by a 2nd-century Christian martyr and by a 9th-century hermit, the legend of whose life was popular among Christians during the Middle Ages; these had a minor additional influence on the adoption of the Christian name. Among Orthodox Christians in Eastern Europe the name was also popular as being that of a 4th-century Persian martyr, who was venerated in the Orthodox Church.

Irish: reduced form of McDaniel, which is actually a variant of McDonnell, from the Gaelic form of Irish Donal (equivalent to Scottish Donald), erroneously associated with the Biblical personal name Daniel. See also O’Donnell.

American: Peter Daniel was one of the pioneer settlers in the 17th century in Stafford County, VA, where he was a justice of the peace. His grandson, Peter Vivian Daniel, was a U.S. Supreme Court justice from 1841 to his death in Richmond, VA, in 1860.


Famous people with this first name

Famous people who gave their babies this name

Daniel in Pop Culture

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

  • Daniel LaRusso from The Karate Kid - A teenager who learns karate from Mr. Miyagi to defend himself and compete in a karate tournament.
  • Daniel "Danny" Ocean from Ocean's Eleven - The charismatic leader of a group of thieves who orchestrates elaborate heists in Las Vegas.
  • Daniel Desario from Freaks and Geeks - A rebellious high school student who struggles with his identity and where he fits in the social hierarchy.
  • Daniel Jackson from Stargate SG-1 - An archaeologist and linguist who is part of a team exploring other planets through a network of stargates.
  • Daniel "Dan" Humphrey from Gossip Girl - A Brooklyn outsider who observes and eventually becomes part of the elite world of Upper East Side teenagers.

Popularity of the Name Daniel

According to Social Security Administration data, Daniel has been a consistently popular name in the United States, usually ranking within the top 20 of boys' names. Specifically, it has been in the top 15 for the last decade, making it a widely beloved name.

Historically notable Daniels include the biblical prophet Daniel, British author Daniel Defoe, and American politician Daniel Webster. Actors like Daniel Radcliffe and Daniel Craig, as well as fictional characters in The Karate Kid, Ocean's Eleven, Freaks and Geeks, Stargate SG-1, and Gossip Girl, have kept the name in the public eye.

Where Is the Name Daniel Popular?

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

Nicknames for Daniel

These shortened names can make great nicknames for your baby.

  • Dan
  • Danny
  • Danya

Daniel Pairs Well With These Middle Names

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

Appears On

Browse these related baby name lists that feature this name and many, many more!

People Who Like the Name Daniel Also Like

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