Skip to main content Skip to header navigation

This classic, traditionally masculine name has Hebrew roots and originates in the Bible (Joseph was the 11th son of Jacob in the Old Testament, and was the father of Jesus — the earthly one, that is). Joseph comes from the Hebrew Yosef and Yasaf meaning "to add" or "increase" — a great name for a kid with many older siblings already.

Joseph has long been a popular name. Its most popular year on record was 1956, in which nearly 2% of U.S. births were named Joseph. It saw another resurgence in the '80s and stayed near the top of the charts until 1991, when it started dropping in usage. Still, by 2018 it had only dropped to #23 — not too shabby for more than a century of popularity.

Famous Josephs in Hollywood alone include Joseph Fiennes, Joseph Mazzello, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Joseph Gatt, Joseph Morgan, Joe Pesci, Joe Manganiello, Joe Mantegna, and Joey Lawrence. Joe Biden was the U.S. Vice President under President Barack Obama from 2008-2016 and is currently running for President.

Variations of Joseph include Joey, Jo, Jodie, Pepe in Spanish and Giuseppe in Italian. If you want to branch out into other Biblical names, try Luke, Mark, Peter, Matthew, Thomas, Samuel, James, Michael, Joshua, Isaac, or David. Or go modern snazzy with "J" names thanks to Jeremy, Jasper, Jansen, Jaden, or Jarred.

Joseph in quotes:

“There is no indication that God explained to Joseph what He was doing through those many years of heartache or how the pieces would eventually fit together. He had no ways of knowing that he would eventually enjoy a triumphal reunion with his family. He was expected, as you and I are, to live out his life one day at a time in something less than complete understanding.”
― James C. Dobson, Life on the Edge: The Next Generation's Guide to a Meaningful Future

“All day had been flooding with rain; we could not go to church, so Joseph must needs get up a congregation in the garret; and, while Hindley and his wife were basked downstairs before a fire … Heathcliff, myself and the unhappy plough-boy were commanded to take out Prayer-books and mount - we were ranged in a row, on a sack of corn, groaning and shivering, and hoping that Joseph would shiver too, so that he might give us a short homily for his own sake.”
― Emily Brontë, 'Wuthering Heights'


Biblical Names Meaning:

In Biblical Names the meaning of the name Joseph is: Increase; addition.

Hebrew Baby Names Meaning:

In Hebrew Baby Names the meaning of the name Joseph is: May Jehovah add/give increase. St Joseph of Arimathea undertook the burial of Jesus (in Holy Grail lore). In the bible Joseph was sold by his brothers into slavery and later rose to become a supreme power in Egypt. Also Jesus' legal father.

American Baby Names Meaning:

In American Baby Names the meaning of the name Joseph is: Increase; addition.

Search by a specific category

Or search by baby name