From French Joséphine, a feminine equivalent of Joseph formed with the diminutive suffix -ine. It is now widely used in the English-speaking world. Notable bearers have included the British social reformer Josephine Butler (1828–1906) and the American-born French dancer and singer Josephine Baker (1906–75).
English and Scottish: patronymic from the personal name John. As an American family name, Johnson has absorbed patronymics and many other derivatives of this name in continental European languages. (For forms, see Hanks and Hodges 1988.)