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Pronunciation/ˈzɪf, -sɪf/
Name day19 March
Region of originuncertain
Other names
Related namesJoe, Joey, Jojo, Jos, Joss, Jose, Josephus, José, Josué, Joseba, Gonzo, Ganso, Dodô, Doido, Posie, Bapi, , Giuseppe, George, Yoseph, Peppa, Yusuf, Seph, Sepp, Jo, Josie, Josephine, Josephina, Juuso

Joseph is a masculine given name originating from Hebrew, recorded in the Hebrew Bible, as יוֹסֵף, Standard Hebrew Yossef, Tiberian Hebrew and Aramaic Yôsēp̄. The name can be translated from Hebrew יוסף יהוה yosef YHWH as signifying "Yahweh/Jehovah shall increase/add".[1]

The name appears in the Book of Genesis:[2] Joseph is Jacob's eleventh son and Rachel's first son, and known in the Jewish Bible as Yossef ben-Yaakov.[3]

In the New Testament among the persons named Joseph, the most notable two are: 1) Joseph, the husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus; and, 2) Joseph of Arimathea, a secret disciple of Jesus who supplied the tomb in which Jesus was buried. In the first century CE, Joseph is the second most popular male name for Palestine Jews.[4]

The form "Joseph"[5] is used mostly in English, French and German-speaking countries. This spelling form is also found as a variant in the Nordic countries. In Persian the name is called "Yousef". In Portuguese and Spanish, the name is called "José". In Arabic, including in the Quran, the name is spelled يوسف or Yūsuf. 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.[6] 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.

Common nicknames[edit]

Common diminutives of Joseph are Joe and Joey. Others include Ossie (in Assyrian Neo-Aramaic), Joss and Jody. The feminine form of the name, Josephine, is commonly abbreviated to Jo.

Variants, diminutives and familiar forms in other languages[edit]

Variations for males include:[7]

Female forms[edit]


Biblical figures[edit]



Arts and entertainment[edit]







See also[edit]


  1. ^ (כד וַתִּקְרָא אֶת-שְׁמוֹ יוֹסֵף, לֵאמֹר: יֹסֵף יְהוָה לִי, בֵּן אַחֵר. 24 And she called his name Joseph, saying: 'The LORD add to me another son.')
  2. ^ Genesis 30:24
  3. ^ "JACOB, also called Israel". Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  4. ^ 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); apud 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. ^ "JOSEPH". Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  6. ^ Frank Nuessel (1992). The Study of Names: A Guide to the Principles and Topics. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. p. 10. Retrieved 11 September 2013.  – via Questia (subscription required)
  7. ^ Campbell, Mike. "Behind the Name: Meaning of Names, Baby Name Meanings".
  8. ^ In Portuguese, Flavius Josephus, the author of the Jewish Antiquities is known as Flávio Josefo.