Origin: Hebrew יוֹסֵף
Meaning: “He shall add; God shall add.”
The name is derived from the Biblical Hebrew male name, יוֹסֵף (Yosef).
In the Old Testament, the name is borne by the first son of Rachel and the eleventh son of Jacob. After being sold off as a slave by his brothers, Joseph ended up in Egypt, later becoming an important advisor to the pharoah.
In the New Testament, it is borne by the husband of the Virgin Mary. Known as St. Joseph among Catholics, he is a particularly revered saint among Italian Catholics, considered the patron saint of stepfathers and carpenters.
Another important character with this name in the New Testament, is Joseph of Arimathea, a disciple of Christ and also the man who provided a burial spot for Jesus after his death.
The name has always been very prevalent throughout Europe and the Middle East.
In the United States, its popularity can be due to several factors: it was common among both various Christian and Jewish immigrants. The name is even very common among Muslim families.
Currently, Joseph is the 20th most popular male name in the United States, (2010). In fact, Joseph has never ranked outside of the Top 20. Common English nicknames are Joe and Joey. His rankings in other countries are as follows:
- # 1 (Yusif, Azerbaijan, 2012)
- # 1 (Yusuf, Turkey, 2010)
- # 2 (Yusuf, Tajikistan, 2009)
- # 2 (Youssef, Tunisia)
- # 3 (Yousef, Arab-World, 2011)
- # 4 (José, Equitorial Guinea, 2011)
- # 5 (Joosep, Estonia, 2011)
- # 5 (Isle of Man, 2009)
- # 5 (Yousouf, Israel, among Muslim and Christian boys, 2010)
- # 5 (José, Philippines, 2011)
- # 5 (Jose, Puerto Rico, 2010)
- # 7 (Youssef, Morocco)
- # 8 (Josip, Croatia, 2010)
- # 8 (Yosef, Israel, among Druze boys, 2004)
- # 9 (Yosef, Israel, among Jewish boys, 2010)
- # 14 (Giuseppe, Italy, 2010)
- # 15 (England/Wales, 2010)
- # 16 (Joseph/Giuseppe, Malta, 2010)
- # 29 (Northern Ireland, 2010)
- # 36 (New Zealand, 2010)
- # 37 (Ireland, 2010)
- # 41 (Australia, NSW, 2010)
- # 41 (József, Hungary, 2010)
- # 43 (José, Spain, 2010)
- # 44 (Scotland, 2010)
- # 51 (José, United States, 2010)
- # 62 (Josef, Sweden, 2010)
- # 68 (Josip, Bosnia & Herzegovina, 2010)
- # 68 (Josep, Catalonia, 2010)
- # 71 (José, Catalonia, 2010)
- # 74 (Canada, BC, 2010)
- # 149 (France, 2009)
Other forms of the name include:
- Josef (Afrikaans)
- Isuf (Albanian)
- Jozef/Jozif (Albanian: Zef is a diminutive form)
- Sepp (Alsatian)
- Hovsep Հովսեփ (Armenian)
- Yūsuf/Youssef/Yussef يوسف, (Arabic)
- Yusif/Yusuf/Usub (Azeri)
- Joseba/Josepe (Basque)
- Joseph ДЖО́ЗЕФ (Belarusian/English/German/French)
- Josip (Bosnian/Croatian: Joso, Jozo and Joško are diminutive forms)
- Jusuf (Bosnian)
- Yosif Йосиф (Bulgarian)
- Josep (Catalan, Pep is a common diminutive form)
- Ghjaseppu (Corsican)
- Jozèf (Creole/Haitian)
- Josef (Czech)
- Joep (Dutch: originally a diminutive form, now used as an independent given name)
- Joop (Dutch: originally a diminutive form, used as an independent given name)
- Joost (Dutch: originally a diminutive form, now used as an independent given name)
- Jozef (Dutch)
- Joseph (English/French/German)
- Joséphin (French: obscure)
- Joosep (Estonian)
- Jósef (Faroese)
- Jooseppi (Finnish)
- Juuso (Finnish)
- Bepùt/Bepi/Bepo (Fruilian)
- Xosé (Galician)
- Ioseb იოსებ (Georgian)
- Ioses/Joses Ιωσης (Greek: Biblical)
- Iōséph Ἰωσήφ/Iosepos, Iosipos Ιώσηπος (Greek: Modern)
- Yosef יוסף (Hebrew)
- Isuppu (Hindi)
- József (Hungarian: Jóska is the diminutive form)
- Yusuf/Yusup/Ucup (Indonesian)
- Giuseppe (Italian: diminutive forms are Beppe, Peppe and Peppino)
- Giuseppino (Italian)
- Pino (Italian: diminutive form now used as an independent given name)
- Seosamh (Irish-Gaelic)
- Ujöp (Ladino)
- Iosephus/Josephus (Latin)
- Jāzeps (Latvian)
- Gioxeppe (Ligurian)
- Joep (Limburgish)
- Juozapas (Lithuanian)
- Juozas (Lithuanian)
- Giüsèpp (Lombard: Pèpp and Bèpp are diminutive forms)
- Ousep/Ousef/Yosef (Malayalam)
- Ouseppachen/Kochaappu (Malayalam)
- Ġużeppi (Maltese: Ġużi, Ġuż, Peppi, Pepp, Żeppi and Żepp are diminutives)
- Hohepa (Maori)
- Jupp (Moselfrench)
- Josef (Norwegian)
- Josèp (Occitanian)
- Iosifu Іѡсифъ (Old Church Slavonic)
- Yūsuf/Youssef/Yussef يوسف, (Persian)
- Joosef (Plattdeutsch)
- Józef (Polish)
- Gèseppe (Puglian)
- Jüppes/Jüppke (Ripoarisch)
- Iosif (Romanian)
- Gisep (Romansch)
- Iosif/Osip Иосиф (Russian)
- Jisepu (Sardinian)
- Josif Јосиф (Serbian)
- Seòsaidh (Scots-Gaelic)
- Giuseppi (Sicilian)
- U’Seppi (Sicilian)
- Zefel/ Zeflik (Silesian)
- Jozef (Slovakian)
- Jožef/Jože (Slovene)
- Sefer (Swabian)
- José (Spanish/Portuguese: Pepe and Pepito are the diminutive forms)
- Yusup/Usup/Ucup (Sudanese)
- Yoseppu (Tamil)
- Yusuf (Turkish)
- Yosyp (Ukrainian)
- Josep (Valencian)
- Juxepe (Venetian: diminutives are Bepi and Bepin)
- Joseff (Welsh)
- Yissl/Jayzl/Yussel (Yiddish)
Bavarian diminutive forms are Pepi, Perperl, Sepp, Seppi, Seppl and Söpp.
Other German diminutives include: Seb, Seffi and Beppal is a Swiss-German diminutive form.
A Rheinish diminutive is Jupp.
Czech diminutives are: Pepík, Pepek, Pepan and Pepin.
Dutch short forms are Jef, Zef and Jos.
A common Hebrew short form is Yosi.
Italian diminutives and its dialectical forms include: Scepp (Calabrian); Pepp’, Pè, Peppiniéllo, Peppì, Peppinié (Campanese); Gioxe, Bepi, Bepin (Ligurian); Gepe and Pinin (Piedmontese); Seppud, Bapèpp, Peppo, Peppin, G’sip, Giusè, Pinucc, Peppon, ‘Mbà Peppe and P’pen (Puglian); Peppe and Pippo (Sicilian); Bepi and Beppe (Tuscan) and Bepìn and Bepo (Venetian).
Standard Italian diminutives are: Bepi, Beppe, Beppino, Geppetto, Geppino, Peppe, Peppenuzzo, Peppi, Peppino, Peppinello, Peppiniello, Peppinetto, Peppo, Peppuccio, Pino Pinello, Pinuccio, Peppone, Pippo Puccio and Seppe.
Portuguese diminutives include: Zé, Zézinho, Zéca and Zécinha.
Slovakian diminutives are: Jožko, Jojo and Dodo.
Slovene short forms are: Pepe, Pepi and Pepc.
A common Spanish compound name is José Maria
Its more common feminine form of Josephine became prevalent throughout Europe at the end of the 18th-century and at the beginning of the 19th-century, due to the popularity of Josephine Bonaparte, (1763-1814), the wife of Napoleon.
Originally, Joséphine was a French diminutive form of Josèphe. Joséphine became the standard form around the same time Josephine Bonaparte became famous and has remained the more common French feminine form of Joseph, since.
Currently, in the United States, she is the 186th most popular female name, (2010). In the Netherlands, she was the 153rd most popular female name, (2010).
Other feminine forms include:
- Jozefina (Albanian)
- Josepa (Catalan: diminutive is Pepa)
- Josipa (Croatian)
- Josefa (Czech/Portuguese/Spanish)
- Josefina (Czech)
- Jozefien (Dutch)
- Joetta (English)
- Josephina/Josephine (English)
- Josefiina (Finnish)
- Josée (French)
- Josèphe (French)
- Joséphine (French)
- Josette (French)
- Josefine (German/Danish)
- Josepha (German)
- Iosiphina Ιωσηφίνα (Greek: Modern)
- Jozefa (Hungarian/Slovene)
- Jósefína (Icelandic)
- Seosaimhín (Irish-Gaelic)
- Giosetta (Italian)
- Giuseppa/Giuseppina (Italian)
- Iosephina (Latin)
- Ġużeppa (Maltese: Ġuża is the diminutive form)
- Józefa (Polish)
- Józefina (Polish)
- Jožefina/Jožefa/Joža (Slovene)
- Jožica (Slovene: originally a diminutive form, now used as an independent given name)
- Josefa/Josefina (Spanish)
- Josefin/Josefine (Swedish)
- Yosipa/Osipa/Yuzefa (Ukrainian)
Croatian diminutive form is Pepica.
Czech diminutives are: Pepa, Pepca, Pepicka, Pepina, Pepka, Jóža, Jožka and Jóžin.
Common English short forms for Josephine include: Fifi, Jo, Jody, Jojo, Josie and Posey.
Common French diminutive forms are Fifi and Fifette.
German diminutives are Pepa.
Italian diminutives are: Giusy, Pina, Pinuccia, Pinella and Pippa.
Slovene diminutive form is Pepca
Marie-Josée is a common French compound form.
Designated name-days are March 19 and May 1.