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Updated January 22, 2024

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Boy name origins & meanings

  • Latin : Little one

What does Paul mean and stand for?

The name Paul is of Latin origin and means "small" or "little one." It is from the Roman family name Paulus, which in Latin meant "small" or "humble." Paul carries much significance for the Christian church.

Syllables: 1

How Popular Is The Name Paul

Family name origins & meanings

  • English, French, German, and Dutch : from the personal name Paul (Latin Paulus ‘small’), which has always been popular in Christendom. It was the name adopted by the Pharisee Saul of Tarsus after his conversion to Christianity on the road to Damascus in about ad 34. He was a most energetic missionary to the Gentiles in the Roman Empire, and played a very significant role in establishing Christianity as a major world religion. The name was borne also by numerous other early saints. The American surname has absorbed cognates from other European languages, for example Greek Pavlis and its many derivatives. It is also occasionally borne by Jews; the reasons for this are not clear.
  • Irish : reduced Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Phóil ‘son of Paul’. Compare McFall.
  • Catalan (Paül) : habitational name from any of several places named Paül.
  • Spanish : topographic name from paúl ‘marsh’, ‘lagoon’.
  • Spanish : Castilianized form of Basque Padul, a habitational name from a town of this name in Araba province.

What Does the Name Paul Mean?

The name Paul is one of the oldest in history and is Latin for "small." Mostly fashionable in Roman and medieval times, Paul has lost a bit of its spark recently, but still remains one of the most widely recognized names.

How Popular is the Name Paul?

Paul is the number 257 most popular boys name in the US, according to 2021 Social Security Administration data. It fell out of the top 200 for the first time in decades in 2014. Since then, it has steadily decreased in rank.

However, it is the 26th most popular name on

Popularity of the Name Paul in the United States

According to Google search data analysis, in the last five years Paul was at its peak popularity in June 2021.

Paul was searched for most often in the following states:

  1. Minnesota
  2. Wisonsin
  3. District of Columbia
  4. Massachussetts
  5. Rhode Island

Famous People Named Paul and Paul in Pop Culture

An old name, Paul invokes images of someone from nearly every century, if not decade. Saint Paul (originally called Saul) founded the Christian church with Peter. There have been six Pope Pauls since. Paul Revere was an American revolutionary and Paul Allen was one of the creators of Microsoft. Other notable namesakes include actor Paul Blackthorne, football player Paul Butcher (and his son, Paul Butcher Jr.), singer Paul Di'Anno, singer Paul McCartney, musician Paul Garcia, bassist Paul Gray, U2 band member Paul David "Bono" Hewson, actor Paul Rudd, musician Paul Simon and many, many more. With so many notable namesakes, it's not surprise that Paul is also popular in pop culture, appearing in Dune, The Wonder Years, The Longest Yard, Star Trek: Discovery, The Promised Land, The Young and The Restless, Mad Men, and Paul to name a few.

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