Of all the Sam names, Samson seems to be the least appreciated, ranking only as the 867th most popular male name in the United States (“Popular Baby Names.” Social Security Administration. 2011. Social Security Online. 1 Sept. 2011. http://www.ssa.gov/oact/babynames/)
The name is found in the Old Testament as the name of one of the Israelite judges. He was given supernatural strength by God. However, when he admitted to Delilah that the secret to his power was in his hair, she had it shaven off while he was sleeping.
It is derived from the Hebrew שִׁמְשׁוֹן (Shimshon) meaning “sun.”
The name was first introduced in England after the Norman conquest due to the veneration of a Welsh bishop who founded monasteries in Brittany and Normandy.
In Basque folklore it is found as the name of a mighty giant who is attributed to creating the Pyrenees by throwing stones.
Other forms of the name include:
Shamshoun شمشون (Arabic)
Samson Самсо́н (Czech/English/French/Norwegian/Polish/Russian/Ukrainian/Welsh)
Sampson Σαμψών (Greek)
Shimshon שמשון (Hebrew)
The designated name-days are: July 10 (Poland) and July 28 (Poland and France).
Common English short forms are Sam and Sammie. In Polish, the diminutive is Samsonik.