Joseph, a figure in the Book of Genesis.
Pronunciation/ˈzɪf, -sɪf/
Name day19 March
MeaningYWHW shall add, God will add, taken away or praise, fame taken away
Region of originMiddle East
Other names
Related namesJoe, Joey, Joel, Jojo, Jos, Joss, Josh, John, Jose, Josephus, José, Joseba, Jože, Jāzeps, Dodô, Doido, Joep, Jupp, Posie, Bapi, , Giuseppe, Yosef, Yoseph, Ouseph, Iosif, Peppa, Hovsep, Yusuf, Seph, Sepp, Jo, Josie, Josip, Josif, Josef, József, Pepa, Josephine, Josephina, Increase,Juuso, Joshua, Ġużepp, Ġużè, Żepp, Żeppi

Joseph is a common male given name, derived from the Hebrew Yosef[1] (יוֹסֵף). "Joseph" is used,[2] along with "Josef", mostly in English, French and partially German languages. This spelling is also found as a variant in the languages of the modern-day Nordic countries. In Portuguese and Spanish, the name is "José". In Arabic, including in the Quran, the name is spelled يوسف, Yūsuf. In Persian, the name is Yousef, and in Turkish it is Yusuf. In Pashto the name is spelled Esaf (ايسپ) and in Malayalam it is spelled Ousep (ഔസേപ്പ്).

The name has enjoyed significant popularity in its many forms in numerous countries, and Joseph was one of the two names, along with Robert, to have remained in the top 10 boys' names list in the US from 1925 to 1972.[3] It is especially common in contemporary Israel, as either "Yossi" or "Yossef", and in Italy, where the name "Giuseppe" was the most common male name in the 20th century. In the first century CE, Joseph was the second most popular male name for Israeli Jews.[4]

In the Book of Genesis[5] Joseph is Jacob's eleventh son and Rachel's first son, and known in the Hebrew Bible as Yossef ben-Yaakov.[6] In the New Testament the most notable two are Joseph, the husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus; and Joseph of Arimathea, a secret disciple of Jesus who supplied the tomb in which Jesus was buried.


The Bible offers two explanations for the origins of the name Yosef: first, it is compared to the word asaf from the root /'sp/, 'taken away': "And she conceived, and bore a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach"; Yosef is then identified with the similar root /ysp/, meaning 'add': "And she called his name Joseph; and said, The LORD shall add to me another son."[7] The Jewish Encyclopedia says that it is a theophoric name referencing the Tetragrammaton, and in fact his name is spelled Jehoseph, with the theophoric first syllable 'Jeho', once in Psalms.[8] The name can also consist of the Hebrew yadah meaning "praise", "fame" and the word asaf.[citation needed]

Variants, diminutives and familiar forms in other languages

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Variations for males include:

Female forms

Main article: Josephine (name)


Biblical figures



Arts and entertainment



See also: Patriarch Joseph (disambiguation)





Fictional characters

See also


  1. ^ "JOSEPH". Retrieved 10 March 2015. "like all other Hebrew names beginning with the syllable "Jo," it has Yhwh as its first element"
  2. ^ "JOSEPH". Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  3. ^ Frank Nuessel (1992). The Study of Names: A Guide to the Principles and Topics. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. p. 10.[ISBN missing]
  4. ^ Ilan, Tal (2002) Lexicon of Jewish Names in Late Antiquity: Israel 330 BCE–200 CE (Texts & Studies in Ancient Judaism, 91), Coronet Books, pp. 56–57; Hachili, R. "Hebrew Names, Personal Names, Family Names and Nicknames of Jews in the Second Temple Period," in J. W. van Henten and A. Brenner, eds., Families and Family Relations as Represented in Early Judaism and Early Christianity (STAR 2; Leiden:Deo, 2000), pp. 113–115 (note: Hachili placed Joseph in the third place after Yohanan based on narrower basis on data than Ilan's, whereas Bauckham's calculation, based on Ilan's data, places Joseph at the second place); Bauckham, Richard (2017). Jesus and the Eyewitnesses (2nd ed.). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. pp. 68–72. ISBN 9780802874313. Quote (p. 71): 15.6% of men bore one of the two most popular male names, Simon and Joseph; (p. 72): for the Gospels and Acts... 18.2% of men bore one of the two most popular male names, Simon and Joseph.
  5. ^ Genesis 30:24
  6. ^ "JACOB, also called Israel". Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  7. ^ Friedman, R. E., The Bible with Sources Revealed (2003), p. 80
  8. ^ "JOSEPH". The Jewish Encyclopedia. Retrieved 10 March 2015. "like all other Hebrew names beginning with the syllable 'Jo,' it has Yhwh as its first element".