December 19, 2012


Joseph ~ God Will Increase ~ Hebrew

Joseph's Dream by Gaetano Gandolfi
Popularity and History
In honor of the holiday season, I thought a feature on the name Joseph would be fitting. This name is a true classic, and has been in the top 25 names in the U.S. for more than a century, including more than 50 years in the top 10. There are few names with such a steady track record of popularity.

That being said, Joseph is at the lowest point it's ever been, if 22 could be considered "low". (Learn more about name rank here.) What we're finding today is that the most traditional names are sometimes taking a backseat to contemporary choices. I do think that Joseph may be used a little less than it has been and could drop by a few more points in years to come. But it would take many, many years of this trend to continue for this name to be considered less than classic.

Joseph is cherished around the world for its religious roots in the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic faiths. It's referenced in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, as the name of:
  • The son of Jacob and Rachel, dream interpreter and Vizier (highest official) of Pharaoh
  • The husband of the Virgin Mary and earthly father of Jesus
  • A follower of Jesus who donated his tomb for Jesus' body

Joseph has roots that mean to add. It is noted in the Bible to mean God shall add, and was picked by Rachel for her son because "the Lord shall add to me another son." It's a nice choice especially for parents who are looking for a name that has connotations of abundance and a blessing from God.

There are plenty of international variations as well as down-to-earth nicknames for the classic name Joseph. They include:
  • Giuseppe
  • Joe
  • Joey
  • José
  • Josef
  • Joss
  • Josue
  • Yosef
If you love this time of year, you may also like these Christmas and holiday names. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

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