Meaning: “God has heard.”
The name is derived from the Hebrew שְׁמוּאֵל (Shemu’el) meaning, “God has heard.”
According to 1 Samuel 1:20, Hannah gave her son the name of Samuel in reference to when she had asked God for a son and God had heard her request.
Samuel was the last of the Hebrew Judges and the first of the Hebrew prophets and he also anointed the first two kings of Israel: Saul and David.
The name was always popular among Jews, but did not become prevalent in the English-speaking world until after the Protestant Reformation. The name was especially common among the Puritans of the 17th-century.
Currently, Samuel is the 28th most popular male name in the United States, (2008). In other countries, his rankings are as follows:
- # 9 Samvel (Armenia, 2008)
- # 13 (Australia, 2008)
- # 42 (Belgium, 2006)
- # 20 (Canada, B.C., 2008)
- # 88 (Chile, 2006)
- # 11 (England/Wales, 2008)
- # 47 (France, 2006)
- # 98 (the Netherlands, 2009)
- # 95 (Norway, 2009)
- # 39 (Scotland, 2009)
- # 59 (Sweden, 2009)
Other forms of the name include:
- Samvel (Armenian)
- Samel (Basque)
- Samoyla/Samuil Самуил (Bulgarian/Russian/Ukrainian)
- Samuel (Czech/Dutch/English/French/German/Polish/Portuguese/Scandinavian/Slovak/Spanish)
- Samuël (Dutch)
- Samuli (Finnish)
- Samouel Σαμουηλ (Greek: Biblical)
- Shemu’el שְׁמוּאֵל (Hebrew: Biblical)
- Shmuel שְׁמוּאֵל (Hebrew: Modern)
- Sámuel (Hungarian)
- Samúel (Icelandic)
- Samuele (Italian)
- Samweli (Kiswahili)
- Samuels (Latvian)
- Samuelis (Lithuanian)
- Szmuel (Polish-Hebrew: a Polish transliteration of the modern Hebrew form, used primarily among Polish Jews)
- Samuilu Самѹилъ (Old Church Slavonic)
- Samuil (Romanian)
- Samuèli (Sardinian)
- Sawyl (Welsh)
- Shem (Yiddish)
- Schmuel (Yiddish)
Common English/German short forms are Sam and Sammy.
Czech short forms are: Samo, Samko, Samik , Samenko and Saminko.
A Polish diminutive is Samek.
A Hungarian and Finnish short form is Samu.
An Italian feminine form is Samuela and an obscure Norwegian feminine form is Samueline.
Designated name-days are: February 16 (Germany), August 20 (France/Poland), August 26 (Slovakia) and September 1 (Czech Republic and Sweden).
- Atikian, Martha Bilezikian. Armenians’ Names (Martha Bilezikian Atikian, 1973)
- Hoffman, William F. and George W. Helon. First Names of the Polish Commonwealth: Origins & Meanings. (Polish Genealogical Society of America, 1998)