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Updated June 5, 2024

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Boy name origins & meanings

What does Nathaniel mean and stand for?


  • Hebrew: Gift of God

Gender: Male

Syllables: 3

Pronunciation: The name Nathaniel is pronounced nuh-than-yuhl.

The name Nathaniel has its origins in the Hebrew name Netan'el, which means "gift of God", composed of the words natan (“to give”) and ’el (in reference to God). It is a Biblical name, most notably borne by Nathanael, an apostle in the New Testament who is believed to be the same person as Bartholomew. Nathaniel has been a classic name through the ages, favoured for its gentle strength and spiritual connotation.

How Popular Is The Name Nathaniel

Family name origins & meanings

European: From the Biblical Hebrew personal name meaning "given by God." This was borne by a minor prophet in the Bible (2 Samuel 7:2). It is found as both a Jewish and Gentile surname in Europe.

Indian: In South India it is used as a given name among Christians, and in the U.S. it has come to be used as a family name among South Indian Christians.

Famous people who gave their babies this name

Nathaniel in Pop Culture

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

  • Nathaniel Fisher from Six Feet Under - Patriarch of the Fisher family and founder of Fisher & Sons Funeral Home.
  • Nathaniel Archibald from Gossip Girl - Known as "Nate," he is a wealthy and charming student at St. Jude's.
  • Nathaniel Graff from Jericho - A character who serves as a government agent.
  • Nathaniel Nash from Red Sparrow - A young CIA officer in a cat-and-mouse game against Russian intelligence.
  • Nathaniel Flint from Treasure Planet - Infamous space pirate and captain of the RLS Legacy.

Popularity of the Name Nathaniel

According to Social Security Administration data, Nathaniel has been a well-regarded name in the U.S., consistently ranking within the top 100 names for many years. It saw its peak popularity towards the late 1990s and early 2000s. Nathaniel is often appreciated for its Biblical roots and its elegant, classic sound. Nathaniel is a popular name in both the Old and New Testament (usually spelled Nathanael), in the New Testament, Nathaniel is also known as Bartholomew.

Throughout history, Nathaniel has been borne by several notable individuals. Nathaniel Hawthorne, the prominent 19th-century American novelist best known for The Scarlet Letter, is a distinguished literary figure with this name. Other notable Nathaniels include Revolutionary General Nathanael Greene, rebel slave Nat Turner, and writer Nathanael (born Nathan) West. On screen, actors such as Nathaniel Parker, known for his role in the BBC series The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, have carried on the name's legacy.

Fictionally, Nathaniel Fitzwilliam Archibald, often referred to as Nate, is a central character in the popular TV series Gossip Girl. Other characters named Nathaniel appear in Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost, James Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales, Charles Dickens' The Pickwick Papers, and Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.

Where Is the Name Nathaniel Popular?

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

Nicknames for Nathaniel

These shortened names can make great nicknames for your baby.

  • Nat
  • Nate
  • Nathan

Nathaniel Pairs Well With These Middle Names

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

Appears On

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