Girl Baby Name


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Quick Facts on Josephine

  • Gender:
  • Girl
  • Origin:
  • English, French, Hebrew
  • Number of syllables:
  • 3
  • Ranking popularity:
  • 160
Simple meaning:
May God add, the Lord increases

Characteristics of Josephine

  • Inspirational
  • Highly Intuitive
  • Spiritual Teacher
  • Extremely Bright
  • Uplifting
  • Truth-seeker

Etymology & Historical Origin - Josephine

The English adopted the name Josephine from Joséphine which is the French equivalent of the Hebrew name “Yosef” (Joseph). The original Hebrew name translates to “(God) shall add (another son).” This is a fitting translation, as Joseph was the eleventh son of Israel (Jacob) from the book of Genesis. Joseph was also the most favored son that “[Israel/Jacob] made him a robe of many colors” because he was “the son of his old age” (Genesis 37:3). There are two notable bearers of the name: Joséphine Bonaparte who became the first Empress of France, and Josephine Baker, an African-American singer and dancer who found fame (and a home) in France. For more information on these illustrious ladies, see the “People of Historical Significance” section below.

Popularity of the Name Josephine

Like Jacqueline, Josephine is a quintessential French female name which automatically infuses it with elegance and sophistication. The high-point of Josephine’s popularity in the United States is well behind us. The name was a favorite choice at the turn of the 20th century more than 100 years ago. In fact, Josephine held a position on the Top 50 list of most commonly used girl’s names for 50 straight years (from 1880-1930). It wasn’t until 1943 that the name fell off the Top 100 list. The name’s low-point on the charts came in 1987 at position #498 (very low usage). Fortunately, the name has been experiencing a comeback in the past 20 years. Josephine just managed to reappear on the Top 200 list and we hope to see her continue to climb the charts. The name is far too lovely and feminine to neglect. If anything, we hope that the “Lord increases” the usage of this pretty name!
Popularity of the Girl Name Josephine
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Josephine

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Josephine

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Josephine

    Josephine Anwhistle (Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events) Josephine Anwhistle is Aunt Josephine of the Lemony Snicket’s series, A Series of Unfortunate Events, who is introduced in the third of the series, The Wide Window. The three Baudelaire orphans are placed with her, and promptly fall into another succession of wild adventures. First of all, Josephine isn’t really an aunt – she is their second cousin’s sister-in-law – that’s much removed! She lives in an unheated little house on stilts overlooking a lake, she is afraid of most of the household appliances, and her greatest passion in life is proper grammar. Every kid’s dream, right? Needless to say, the three little Baudelaires are up to the task. And after the 2004 movie, it is impossible to think of Aunt Josephine without seeing Meryl Streep.

    Josephine March (Little Women) Josephine March is, of course, our beloved “Jo” of Louisa May Alcott’s 1868/9 classic, Little Women, and the alter-ego for her author. She has inspired young girls for generations, both through the book(s) and the several movie versions. For her place and time, Jo was truly a tomboy – she wants to go off to the Civil War, she is a mild cusser, she loves to run, she has a temper, she is outspoken, she writes swashbuckling plays – in short, she does everything that a well bred Victorian era girl should not do. That’s why we love her. She is like a breath of fresh air in a stifling room; in truth, she outshines her sisters, Meg the good, Amy the vain, and Beth the so-angelic-she-has-to-die young. She is ambitious and creative, and determined not to let the social restrictions of her times cheat her out of reaching for the stars, and we’re all grateful to her.

  • Popular Songs on Josephine

    Popular Songs on Josephine

    Goodnight Sweet Josephine - a song by The Yardbirds

    Hello, Josephine - a song by Fats Domino

    Josephine - a song by Tori Amos

    Josephine - a song by Chris Rea

    Josephine - a song by The Wallflowers

    My Girl Josephine - a song by Fats Domino

    Not Tonight Josephine - a song by Slade

    Oh Josephine - a song by The Black Crowes

    Ride on Josephine - a song by Bo Diddley

    Ride on Josephine - a song by George Thorogood

    Yes Tonight Josephine - a song by Johnnie Ray

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Josephine

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Josephine

    Could you stop Josephine? (Stephane Poulin) - Josephine’s back, but not for long. This time that escapist cat leads her adoring young master on a wild chase through a country farm. Poulin, who grew up on a farm, obviously relishes all the tricks Josephine uses to evade little Daniel and his country cousin as she races through cow patch, henhouse, pigpen, barn, and fields with the farm cat and dog in attendance. The story ends as usual with the kind of surprise only a cat of some invention can devise. French edition available called Peux-tu attraper Josephine? Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Have You Seen Josephine? (Stephane Poulin) - Daniel trails his cat Josephine through the streets of Montreal to find out where she goes each Saturday. Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Jennifer and Josephine (Bill Peet) - A rickety old car and a scrawny stray cat teach a lesson in the meaning of friendship. Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Josephine (Marjorie N. Cherry) - Toward the end of the Civil War, nineteen-year-old Josie runs away from her adoptive home on a small farm in North Carolina. In these pages, Marjorie Cherry tells us why, and what happened to Josie afterwards. Danger, friendship, romance, compassion, self-reliance, racial and ethnic understanding are just a few of the themes running through this captivating story, handsomely illustrated by Mary Lynn Brophy. Don't miss this story of a strong and independent young woman of the American South more than a century ago. Recommended for ages 9-12.

    Josephine Wants to Dance (Jackie French) - Josephine Wants to Dance encourages all readers to never give up and to always dance to their own music. Josephine loves to dance. She dreams of wearing a pink tutu and silk ballet shoes. But everyone reminds her that kangaroos don’t dance—they hop! Kangaroos don’t wear tutus, and they never wear ballet shoes! So Josephine sneaks into town, where the ballet rehearses, and watches for hours as the dancers spin and swirl and pirouette and curtsy. But on the day of the ballet performance, the prima ballerina twists her ankle and a new dancer is needed for the lead role, a dancer who can jump higher than all the rest. Will Josephine be able to make her dream of becoming a ballerina come true? Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Legend of the Lost Josephine Mine (Joseph R. Young) - Twelve-year-old Joseph Martin hadn't meant to travel so far into the "Lost Josephine Mine," but he has become hopelessly lost. Moments later, he stumbles across a skeleton lying in a chamber filled with riches! As Joseph opens a nearby treasure chest, the cavern fills with light. Magically the skeleton springs back to life as he and Joseph are transported into another realm. Joseph soon finds himself captive on a pirate ship sailing toward a volcanic island in search of a mythological treasure with the power to grant material wealth to anyone who can obtain it! Recommended for ages 9-12.

    Napoleon and Josephine Paper Dolls (Tom Tierney) - Paper dolls fans and history buffs will treasure this collection featuring one of the world's most famous and fascinating couples. Figures of Napoleon and his empress, Josephine, are accompanied by lavish costumes for their wedding, coronation, and other important occasions. 2 costumed dolls; 14 additional costumes. Recommended for ages 4-8.

  • Famous People Named Josephine

    Famous People Named Josephine

    Famous People Named Josephine - Joséphine de Beauharnais (first Empress of the French, wife of Napoleon Bonaparte); Josephine Baker (actress, singer, dancer); Josephine Hopper (wife and model of painter Edward Hopper); Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium (former Princess of Belgium); Josephine of Leuchtenberg (Queen consort of Sweden)

  • Children of Famous People Named Josephine

    Children of Famous People Named Josephine

    Famous People who Named their Daughter Josephine - Charlie Chaplin (actor/director/comic genius); Fanny Ardant (French actress); James Cameron (director)

  • Historic Figures

    Josephine - Girl Baby Name - Historic Figures

    Joséphine Bonaparte (23 Jun 1763 - 29 May 1814) - Joséphine was born the eldest daughter to an impoverished French aristocrat who had a commission in the navy so she grew up on the island of Martinique. At 16, she married a rich young army officer and moved with him to Paris. The couple had two children, but her husband grew ashamed of Joséphine's provincial manners and unsophisticated ways and they eventually separated. She stayed on in Paris and became a student of fashion and sophistication. Eventually her first husband would be guillotined for his participation in the French Revolution and she would be imprisoned for her unfortunate association with him. Her prison stay would be brief and upon release, now no longer unsophisticated; Joséphine was able to catch the eye of Napoleon Bonaparte, then a rising young army officer. They married in a civil ceremony in 1796 (she likely fudged the truth about her age and true financial means). She obviously charmed the socks off the (shall we say) less-sexually-experienced Napoleon who wrote her heaps of passionate love letters (e.g., “Sweet and incomparable Joséphine, what a strange effect do you produce upon my heart!”) that she largely ignored. This femme fatale was too busy causing a scandal by flirting with another army officer. Napoleon almost divorced her, but eventually forgave her. When Napoleon finally became Emperor of the French (1804) she insisted on a proper marriage with religious rites. The following day she attended Napoleon's coronation by the Pope in Notre-Dame as Empress of France. Serious problems in the marriage began when Joséphine was unable to produce a male heir which was also compounded by her extravagant spending. Napoleon was cleverly able to use a church technicality in order to annul the marriage, but he didn’t quite give her the old heave-ho. Joséphine continued to live out her life lavishly and entertain extravagantly, the cost of which was footed by the Emperor.

    Josephine Baker (3 Jun 1906 - 12 Apr 1975) - Born Freda Josephine McDonald in St. Louis, Missouri to a single black woman (her father was probably a white man of German ancestry for whom her mother had worked); Josephine had great struggles as a child. At the age of eight she was sent to work for an abusive woman who burned her hand when the young girl put too much soap in the laundry. She ran away to the slums of St. Louis at the age of 12 and would eventually make her way to New York during the Harlem Renaissance of the early 1920s. It was at this point that she found her talent as a performer and would try her luck in Paris. It was there in Paris that Josephine Baker would find instant success as an erotic dancer and was nicknamed the “Bronze Venus” and the “Black Pearl.” Even the American “ex-pat” living in France Ernest Hemingway described her as "… the most sensational woman anyone ever saw.” The French loved Josephine and she loved them right back. During WWII, Josephine aided the French Resistance by carrying secret messages written in invisible ink on her sheet music across France (she would become the first American-born woman to receive the French military honor Croix de guerre for her war efforts) . She was one brave lady. Josephine Baker was truly a pioneer among African-Americans and an inspiration to all.

Personality of the Girl Name Josephine

The number 11 is a Master Number, and embodies heightened traits of the Two. This personality is on a life journey to find spiritual truth. They are extremely idealistic and intuitive. Elevens have a rare and exceptional spiritual energy that brings a sense of obligation to illuminate the world around them. It's a very powerful responsibility, but these people have far more potential than they know. It's important that they surrender to higher ideals. They have the capacity to see the bigger picture, and they possess the skills to inspire others spiritually. Elevens have strong diplomatic skills and can become great peacemakers. Master numbers can be both a blessing and a curse, as they walk the fine line between greatness and the potential for self-destruction.

Variations of the Baby Name - Josephine

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