Joseph is a common male given name, derived from the Hebrew Yosef (יוֹסֵף). "Joseph" is used, 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.
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. 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 Palestine Jews.
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."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.
Variants, diminutives and familiar forms in other languages
^"JOSEPH". jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/. JewishEncyclopedia.com. Retrieved 10 March 2015. "like all other Hebrew names beginning with the syllable "Jo," it has Yhwh as its first element"
^"JOSEPH". jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/. JewishEncyclopedia.com. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
^Frank Nuessel (1992). The Study of Names: A Guide to the Principles and Topics. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. p. 10.[ISBN missing]
^Ilan, Tal (2002) Lexicon of Jewish Names in Late Antiquity: Palestine 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. ISBN9780802874313. 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.