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Updated April 15, 2024

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Boy name origins & meanings

What does Joseph mean and stand for?


  • Hebrew: May Jehovah add/increase
  • Biblical: The earthly father of Jesus, symbolizing piety and kindness

Gender: Male

Syllables: 2

Pronunciation: The name Joseph is pronounced joe-sef

Joseph is derived from the Latin form of Greek Ioseph, from the Hebrew name Yosef meaning "He will add" from the root Yasaf. In the Old Testament Bible, Joseph was the 11th son of Jacob, the traditional ancestor of the people of Israel. Joseph was an esteemed advisor to the pharaoh from 1894-1878 B.C.

How Popular Is The Name Joseph

Family name origins & meanings

English, German, French, and Jewish: from the personal name, Hebrew Yosef  "may He (God) add (another son)." In medieval Europe this name was borne frequently but not exclusively by Jews; the usual medieval English vernacular form is represented by Jessup. In the Book of Genesis, Joseph is the favorite son of Jacob, who is sold into slavery by his brothers but rises to become a leading minister in Egypt (Genesis 37–50). In the New Testament Joseph is the husband of the Virgin Mary, which accounts for the popularity of the given name among Christians.

A bearer of the name Joseph with the secondary surname Langoumois (and therefore presumably from the Angoumois region of France) is documented in Quebec City in 1718.

Joseph in Pop Culture

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

  • Joseph Joestar from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure - A bold and cunning character known for his strategic mind and humorous personality.
  • Joseph "J.D." Dorian from Scrubs - The central character known for his daydreams and the heartfelt narration of the series.
  • Joseph "Joe" Goldberg from You - A deeply complex character with a dark side, showcasing the extremes of love and obsession.
  • Joseph Cooper from Interstellar - A dedicated astronaut and father, navigating through space to save humanity.
  • Joseph Tribbiani from Friends - A charming, yet dim-witted actor known for his love for food and his friends.

Popularity of the Name Joseph

According to the Social Security Administration data, Joseph has been a consistently popular name in the United States. It has maintained its ranking in the top 20 names since 1920. Over the years, Joseph has remained a timeless and well-loved name, resonating with many historical figures, including notable individuals like Joseph Stalin, Joseph Kennedy, and Joseph Pulitzer.

Joseph is one of the most popular Biblical names to date. In the Old Testament, Joseph is the favorite son of Jacob and Rachel. In the New Testament, it is the name of the Virgin Mary's husband. Although its popularity has declined considerably within the past 20 years, it is still one of the most popular boy names.

In pop culture, we have seen famous actors such as Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Joseph Fiennes carrying the name to prominence. Additionally, characters named Joseph have graced various media titles, such as the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and the TV series Peaky Blinders. The enduring appeal of the name Joseph is a testament to its enduring charm and significance throughout history.

Where Is the Name Joseph Popular?

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

Nicknames for Joseph

These shortened names can make great nicknames for your baby.

  • Giuseppe
  • Joe
  • Joey

Joseph 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 Joseph Also Like

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