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English form of the biblical Hebrew name Yosef, meaning ‘(God) shall add (another son)’. This was borne by the favourite son of Jacob, whose brothers became jealous of him and sold him into slavery (Genesis 37). He was taken to Egypt, where he rose to become chief steward to Pharaoh, and was eventually reconciled to his brothers when they came to buy corn during a seven-year famine (Genesis 43–7). In the New Testament Joseph is the name of the husband of the Virgin Mary. It is also borne by a rich Jew, Joseph of Arimathea (Matthew 27:57; Mark 15:43; Luke 23:50; John 19:38), who took Jesus down from the Cross, wrapped him in a shroud, and buried him in a rock tomb. According to medieval legend, Joseph of Arimathea brought the Holy Grail to Britain. The name was uncommon in Britain in the Middle Ages but was revived in the mid 16th century and had become popular by the 1630s, remaining so ever since.
10th in the U.S.

Nicknames & variations

Quick facts

Millions
of people in the U.S have this name
2,257,955
to be exact
2,429,175
if you include dead people (since the government started keeping track)
New Jersey
has the most people named Joseph per capita
1914
marked the height of its popularity
0.21%
99.79%
29%
55+
35%
30-54
18%
13-29
18%
0-12

Top state populations

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