Boy Baby Name


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Quick Facts on Joseph

  • Gender:
  • Boy
  • Origin:
  • English, Hebrew
  • Number of syllables:
  • 2
  • Ranking popularity:
  • 20
Simple meaning:
God shall add (another son)

Characteristics of Joseph

  • Independent
  • Individualistic
  • Ambitious
  • Strong-willed
  • Inventive
  • Successful

Etymology & Historical Origin - Joseph

Joseph is the anglicized form of the Hebrew name “Yosef” which translates to “(God) shall add (another son).” This is a fitting translation, as Joseph was the eleventh son of Israel’s (nee Jacob) from the book of Genesis. Joseph was Israel’s most favored son that “he made him a robe of many colors” because he was “the son of his old age” (Genesis 37:3). This inspired jealousy from Joseph’s brothers who eventually sold him into slavery to Egypt. Joseph rose to become chief steward to Pharaoh in Egypt and was eventually reconciled with his brothers when they came to buy corn from him during a seven-year famine. In the New Testament, Joseph is the name of the husband of the Virgin Mary who essentially becomes Jesus’ foster father. Lastly, the name is borne in the Bible by a rich Jew (a secret disciple of Jesus) who took Jesus down from the cross and buried him. According to medieval legend, this Joseph (Joseph of Arimathea) brought the Holy Grail to Britain.

Popularity of the Name Joseph

The lowest ranking the name Joseph has had in the United States in the past 100+ years is 16. Every other year, the name has always remained in the Top 15 most popular boys’ names in America, and in the past decade, it has averaged at position #10. While the name owes much of its popularity since the 17th century to Biblical significance, its staying power in modern times can be attributed to its timelessness and flexibility. This is an “everyman’s” name – a regular Joe – that has a strong, humble sound to it; while the full name Joseph brings a dignified resonance. It is also a name that goes well with almost any surname, middle name or sibling name.
Popularity of the Boy Name Joseph
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Joseph

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Joseph

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Joseph

    Joseph K. from "The Trial" Joseph K. is the central figure in Franz Kafka's unfinished masterpiece, “The Trial,” written around 1915 and posthumously published in 1925. As hero and protagonist of the novel, Joseph K. is the Chief Clerk of a bank. Ambitious and shrewd, he is on the fast track to success until he is arrested one morning at the age of 30. Neither reader nor K. is given a reason for the arrest which culminates into his execution one year later. In “The Trial” and through K., Kafka explores the dangers of an over-bureaucratized society that ignores the personal, emotional and subjective needs of individual human beings.

  • Popular Songs on Joseph

    Popular Songs on Joseph

    Hey Joe - A song by Jimi Hendrix

    Joe Harper Saturday Morning - A song by Van Morrison

    Joseph & Joe - A song by John Denver

    Joseph's Lullaby - A song by MercyMe

    Run Joey Run - A song by David Geddes

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Joseph

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Joseph

    "Owen Foote" series (Stephanie Greene) - This is a series of children’s books about Owen Foote and his best friend Joseph and their many experiences. Recommended for ages 7-11.

    Joseph had a Little Overcoat (Simms Taback) - When Joseph's overcoat becomes too worn and old to keep he recycles it into a jacket, and the process continues until he makes something out of nothing at the end. A fun read-a-loud that will keep you guessing as to what he will make next. Based on an old Yiddish folk song. Winner of the 2000 Caldecott Medal. Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Something from Nothing (Phoebe Gilman) - Joseph loved the blanket his grandfather gave him when he was a baby so much that he didn't want to part with it. His grandfather, a tailor, transforms the blanket into many different things- a vest, a tie, a coat, a handkerchief- as it keeps getting older and more worn till eventually nothing is left but the story of it. Recommended for ages 4-8.

  • Famous People Named Joseph

    Famous People Named Joseph

    Famous People Named Joseph - Joseph Stalin (Russian); Joseph McCarthy (politician); Joseph Heller (author); Joseph Brodsky (Nobel Prize winner/ Literature); Joe Biden (politician); Joseph Harry Fowler Connick, Jr. (musician); Joseph Conrad (author); Joe DiMaggio (baseball hall of famer); Joe Jonas (musician); Joseph Haydn (composer); Joseph Heller (author); Joe Lieberman (politician); Joseph Carey Merrick (the "Elephant Man"); Joseph Ratzinger (given name of Pope Benedict XVI); Joe Satriani (musician); Joseph Simmons (rapper); Joseph Smith, Jr. (founder of the Latter Day Saints); Joseph Stalin (Russian communist party leader)

  • Children of Famous People Named Joseph

    Children of Famous People Named Joseph

    Famous People who Named their Son Joseph - Sting (musician); Cathy Moriarty (actress); Jack Johnson (musician); Jerry Lewis (entertainer); Joe Piscapo (comic); Joseph Biden (politician); Joseph Kennedy (businessman); Judy Garland (entertainer); Kevin Costner (actor); Kristin Scott Thomas (actress); Marilu Henner (actress); Natalie Morales (newscaster); Pete Townshend (musician); Ray Romano (comic/actor); Robert Kennedy (politician); Rutherford B. Hayes (U.S. President); Stephen King (author); Billie Joe Armstrong (musician); Mario Puzo (author); John Madden (football coach)

Personality of the Boy Name Joseph

The number one personality is a leader - strong and competitive. They are willing to initiate action and take risks. One personalities work hard toward their endeavors and have the ability to apply their creative and innovative thinking skills with strong determination. They believe in their ability to succeed and are too stubborn to be hindered by obstacles. Ones meet obstacles head-on with such mental vigor and energy that you better step aside. They resent taking orders, so don't try telling them what to do either. This is an intensely active personality, but they are also known as starters rather than finishers. They have a propensity to become bored and will move quickly to the next project if not properly challenged.  They are the ones to think up and put into action new and brilliant ideas, but they are not the ones to stick around and manage them. This personality has an enthusiastic and pioneering spirit. They are distinctly original.

Variations of the Baby Name - Joseph

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