Daniel, Danielle


Gender: Masculine
Origin: Biblical Hebrew
Meaning: “God is my Judge.”

If you are like me, you probably think Daniel is dull and overused. Then there is the other camp who might think this is a wonderful classic. It has the youthful nickname options of Dan and Danny and its used in just about every European country with such variants as the Italian Daniele and the Czech and Polish diminutive forms of Danek. Another plus is that, while the name has religious connotations, its doesn’t adhere to a specific denomination. It is fair game for both Jewish and Christian parents alike, Catholic and Protestant. It is even used among Muslims.

The name Daniel is found in the Old Testament, (it has its own book), composed of the Hebrew elements dan meaning “judge” and the 1st person possessive singular suffix of i plus El which was a reference to God.

As for the Biblical Daniel himself, according to the Bible, he was a Jewish boy who was captured by the Babylonians and employed as a sort of dream-reader, (sounds like a pretty cool job). Daniel was so good at his job that he eventually became famous, even among his Persian and Babylonian captives. Due to his prestige and influence, Daniel was also able to persuade his captors to release the Jews back to their homeland. There is far more to the Biblical Daniel’s story than I will write here, but he is probably most noted for his steadfast loyalty to his faith and people as well as his miraculous survival after being thrown in a den of lions.

In the United States, Daniel has been steadfast in its popularity. He currently comes in at # 5. Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, he comes in at # 7. In Scotland at # 3. In Ireland # 4. While in Spain he comes in at a whopping # 2.

This forms is also used in the Czech Republic, Finland, French-speaking countries, German-speaking countries, Poland, Portuguese-speaking countries, Romania,  Scandinavia, Slovakia and Spanish-speaking countries

Other forms include :

  • Dana (Afrikaans)
  • Danieli (Albanian)
  • Danyal دانيال (Arabic)
  • Taniel (Armenian)
  • Danel (Basque)
  • Danilo (Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian)
  • Deniel (Breton)
  • Danail Данаил (Bulgarian)
  • Danelu (Corsican/Sardinian/Sicilian)
  • Daan (Dutch/Limburgish)
  • Daniël (Dutch)
  • Daaniel/Taaniel (Estonian)
  • Tanel/Tani (Estonian)
  • Taano/Tanno (Estonian)
  • Taneli/Tatu (Finnish)
  • Dāniyyêl דָּנִיֵּאל (Hebrew: Modern)
  • Dániel (Hungarian)
  • Daniló (Hungarian)
  • Dános (Hungarian)
  • Daniele (Italian: dahn-YAY-lay)
  • Daniello (Italian: an archaic version which died out in the 17th-century)
  • Danilo/Danilio (Italian: obscure)
  • Danielius (Lithuanian)
  • Daniilu Данїилъ (Old Church Slavonic)
  • Dani داني (Persian)
  • Daniyal دانيال (Persian)
  • Danil/Dănuṭ (Romanian: duh-NOOTS)
  • Daniil Даниил (Russian)
  • Daniele/Danijel (Slovene)
  • Dani/Däne/Dänu/Danü (Swiss-German: Bern dialect)
  • Danyal/Danyel(Turkish)
  • Deiniol (Welsh)

Czech diminutives are: Dan, Daník, Daneček, Danoušek, Danny, Dandýsek, Dady, Danda, Dáda, Danda, Dannys, Danušík and Dandýsek, Italian diminutive forms are: Nilo, Danio, Danino and Nilio.

Danya Даня is a common Russian and Ukrainian diminutive form.

Let us not forget its feminine versions of Daniella, Daniela and Danielle. As of 2010, its Spanish and Slavic diminutive form of Dania reached the top 1000, coming in as the 999th most popular female name in the United States.

The French Danielle, does not have the same staying power as its masculine counterpart. Though always more common as a middle name, Danielle is one of the quintessential names of the 1980s. In 1987, she came close to reaching the top 10 by hitting # 14. In the last popularity census, Danielle still comes in rather high at # 144.  Its Latinate counterpart of Daniela comes in a tad bit higher at # 121, while the Italian Daniella is all the way down at # 303.

Other forms are:

  • Danijela (Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian/Slovene)
  • Danaila (Bulgarian)
  • Daniela (Czech/German/Polish/Portuguese/Romanian/Scandinavian/Slovene/Spanish)
  • Danielle (English)
  • Danièle (French)
  • Danelia (Italian: obscure)
  • Daniella (Italian)
  • Danila/Danilla (Italian: obscure)

Italian feminine diminutives are : Dana, Dania and Nila.

Designated name-days are: July 21 (Germany/Hungary/Slovakia), December 10 (Poland/Lithuanian), December 11 (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Norway, Sweden), December 17 (Greec/Czech Republic)

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2 thoughts on “Daniel, Danielle

  1. The Slavonic form of Daniel appears to be Danilo (Dah-nee-loh) which is also – much to my surprise – an Italian variant of Daniele. Daniello is an archaic form of Daniele that first appeared on the scene in the Middle Ages and died out in the 17th century.
    Also the Basque region has its own form of Daniel: Danel.
    And last but not least, there is also Danyal and Danyel, the Turkish forms of Daniel.

  2. Thanks! Edited it.

    I have never encountered Danilo in Poland, so I am assuming it is more of a Southern Slavic form. Further research indicated that Daniel is also used in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Daniel is currently quite prevalent in Poland. The common nickname option is Danek.

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