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Updated May 8, 2024

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Boy name origins & meanings

What does Isaac mean and stand for?

Meaning: 

  • Hebrew: He will laugh; laughter

Gender: Male

Syllables: 2

Pronunciation: The name Isaac is pronounced eye-zak

The name Isaac is of Hebrew origin and is found in the Old Testament of the Bible, where Isaac is the son of Abraham and Sarah, born to them in their old age. The meaning "he will laugh" or "laughter" is appropriate, given his story is one of joy and faithfulness. It is also thought to derive its meaning from the fact that when Sarah and Abraham conceived, people laughed because they were so old. It has evolved from the name Yitzchaq, which is derived from the Hebrew word tzachaq, meaning “to laugh.”

How Popular Is The Name Isaac

Family name origins & meanings

Jewish, English, Welsh, French, etc.: from the Biblical Hebrew personal name yishāq "he laughs." This was the name of the son of Abraham (Genesis 21:3) by his wife Sarah. The traditional explanation of the name is that Abraham and Sarah laughed with joy at the birth of a son to them in their old age, but a more plausible explanation is that the name originally meant "may God laugh", i.e. "smile on him." Like Abraham, this name has always been immensely popular among Jews, but was also widely used in medieval Europe among Christians. Hence it is the surname of many gentile families as well as Jews. In England and Wales it was one of the Old Testament names that were particularly popular among Nonconformists in the 17th–19th centuries, which accounts for its frequency as a Welsh surname. (Welsh surnames were generally formed much later than English ones.)

In Eastern Europe the personal name in its various vernacular forms was popular in Orthodox (Russian, Ukrainian, and Bulgarian), Catholic (Polish), and Protestant (Czech) Churches. It was borne by a 5th-century father of the Armenian Church and by a Spanish saint martyred by the Moorish rulers of Cordoba in ad 851 on account of his polemics against Islam. In this spelling, the American family name has also absorbed cognates from other European languages, e.g. German Isaak, Dutch Izaac, etc. (for the forms, see Hanks and Hodges 1988). It is found as a personal name among Christians in India, and in the U.S. is used as a family name among families from southern India.

Famous people with this first name

Famous people who gave their babies this name

Isaac in Pop Culture

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

  • Isaac Clarke from Dead Space - A systems engineer fighting for survival in a space colony infested with aliens.
  • Isaac Lahey from Teen Wolf - A werewolf with a troubled past, seeking redemption and a new pack.
  • Isaac Mendez from Heroes - An artist who can paint the future.
  • Isaac Davis from The Fault in Our Stars - A cancer survivor coping with the loss of his eyesight and his girlfriend.
  • Isaac Jaffe from Sports Night - Executive producer of a sports news show, wisdomous and paternal.

Popularity of the Name Isaac

According to Social Security Administration data, the name Isaac has consistently held a place of popularity in the United States, often finding itself within the top 50 names for boys over recent years. This name, rooted in Biblical tradition meaning "laughter," has a strong historical presence that continues to endear it to modern parents.

Isaac was the son of elderly Sarah and 100-year-old Abraham in the Old Testament. Many people laughed at the old age of the couple, giving Isaac its meaning. The name has since moved away from its Biblical roots and taken hold in other ways with notable namesakes Isaac Hanson, Isaac Newton, Isaac Walton, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Isaac Asimov, Isaac Stern, and Isaac Hayes.

In the realm of arts and entertainment, Isaac has been a popular choice for character names, adding a touch of classic depth to various narratives. From The Love Boat's affable bartender, Isaac Washington, to more dramatic roles in literature and film, the name conveys a strong sense of integrity and likability.

Isaac's enduring appeal can be attributed to its rich historical and cultural significance, combined with a timeless quality that resonates with parents seeking a name with both depth and universal appeal.

Where Is the Name Isaac Popular?

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

Nicknames for Isaac

These shortened names can make great nicknames for your baby.

  • Ike
  • Izzy
  • Zack

Isaac Pairs Well With These Middle Names

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

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