Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Daniel

The name Daniel comes from the Hebrew word “daniy'el” which translates to “God is my judge.” The name is borne from the Hebrew Bible and Old Testament in two major ways. One, Dan is introduced in Genesis as the fifth born son of Jacob and one of the patriarchs of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. The Hebrew דָּן (Dan) means “judgment” or “he judges”. For more on Dan and the Tribe of Dan, see historical references below. The name Daniel is more closely connected to the prophet Daniel, from the Book of Daniel. His Hebrew name (דָּנִיֵּאל) means more specifically “GOD is my judge”.
 
Daniel was a Jewish slave living in the city of Babylon around the 7th and 6th centuries B.C. after the destruction of the first Temple and the capturing of Jerusalem. He gained favor and prominence in the court of King Nebuchadnezzar II when it was discovered Daniel could interpret dreams (a divine power afforded him by Yahweh). He lived through six kings/rulers of the Neo-Babylonian Empire and one Persian King (after the Persians defeated the Babylonians, which, of course, Daniel foretold through his ability to prophesize on dreams). During the Persian reign, Daniel was eventually thrown into a lion’s den by his enemies, only to be saved by an angel of God who held the lions’ mouths shut to prevent Daniel’s death. This particular Biblical story became popular in the Middle Ages and was often depicted in “miracle plays” which gave the name further distinction and prominence.
 
As a given name, Daniel was especially popularized among the English around the time of the Protestant Reformation; in other words, Daniel has seen successful usage for 500 years! We’d say that constitutes some serious endurance and staying-power. The name remains hugely successful just about anywhere you can imagine. It’s #2 in Spain, #4 in Ireland, #5 in Northern Ireland, #6 in Scotland and #9 in Israel. Daniel is a Top 20 favorite in the United States, Canada, Hungary, England, Catalonia, Norway and Australia. It’s also a favorite in Chile, Austria and Denmark. We are talking about a universally appreciated baby boy’s name.

All About the Baby Name – Daniel

Personality

OF THE BOY NAME DANIEL

The number Nine personality represents the completion or ending of the cycle, and a need for perfection. This is the personality that moves from "self" to a greater understanding and compassion for the human condition and the world order. They want to make the world a better place. Nines are capable of great spiritual and humanitarian achievements. They are courageous and fearless, able to fight great battles on behalf of worthy causes. These personalities will not tolerate injustice. They are compassionate people with a strong sensitivity to others. They are able to both educate and inspire. Friendships and relationships are the lifeblood to the Nine, and they place a high value on love and affection. Nines are often exceptionally gifted artistically, and they have a keen imagination and enterprising mind.

Popularity

OF THE BOY NAME DANIEL

The name Daniel has been on America’s Top 50 most popular Baby Boy Names list for 130+ years now (which is as far back as we have available data). The timelessness of the name has played a part in its consistent popularity even when other Biblical boy names wavered on the charts. In the 1980’s, Daniel achieved Top 10 status nationwide, and it has pretty much remained there for 30 years now (#11 in 2012). The name’s persistent appeal not only has to do with its Judeo-Christian significance, but also because it has a handsomely distinguished sound to it. Dan and Danny are common short forms.

Quick Facts

ON DANIEL

GENDER:

Boy

ORIGIN:

English

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

10

PRONUNCIATION:

DAN-yul

SIMPLE MEANING:

God is my judge

Characteristics

OF DANIEL

Multi-talented

Intuitive

Oneness

Idealistic

Philanthropy

Independent

Perfection

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Daniel

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME DANIEL

Daniel Deronda is the title character of George Eliot’s 1876 novel, Daniel Deronda. Daniel seems to be the incarnation of the biblical Good Samaritan – he just can’t help helping people, often to his own detriment. Daniel has been raised by a wealthy mentor, and he has some justifiable questions about his true origins. The unraveling of the mystery of his birth and his involvement with the beautiful Gwendolen and the lovely Mirah provide lively (if unlikely) plot twists that lead to a satisfying denouement. Daniel’s character, sterling to begin with, only improves with the stresses placed upon it by outrageous fortune.

Daniel Molloy is the reporter who interviews Louis in Anne Rice's "Interview with the Vampire". He becomes obsessed with finding Lestat after Louis refuses to turn him into a Vampire. Daniel's romantic idea of the vampires eventually takes a darker turn.

Daniel Molloy is the reporter who interviews Louis in Anne Rice's "Interview with the Vampire". He becomes obsessed with finding Lestat after Louis refuses to turn him into a Vampire. Daniel's romantic idea of the vampires eventually takes a darker turn.

Popular Songs

ON DANIEL

Daniel in the Lion's Den
a song by Rob Laurens

Daniel
a song by Elton John.

Daniel and the Sacred Harp
a song by The Band

Daniel Prayed
a song by Patty Loveless

Daniel (Elton John)
A very popular song with a lovely melody by Elton John.

Daniel and the Sacred Harp (The Band)
The classical rock band wrote a song about a harp-playing Daniel.

Daniel Prayed (Patty Loveless)
A nice little country diddy about Daniel.

Famous People

NAMED DANIEL

Dan Akroyd (actor)
Daniel Day Lewis (actor)
Danny Devito (actor)
Dan Akroyd (actor)
Daniel Day Lewis (actor)
Danny Devito (actor)
Daniel “Dan” Akroyd (comic/actor)
Daniel Day Lewis (actor)
Daniel “Danny” Devito (actor)
Daniel Boone (American outdoorsman)
Daniel “Dan” Rather (news anchor)
Daniel Webster (American statesman/politician)
Daniel Defoe (English author)
Daniel Nestor (Canadian tennis player)
Daniel Craig (English actor)

Children of Famous People

NAMED DANIEL

Jennifer Hudson;

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME DANIEL

Daniel is most known for his steadfast faithfulness to God despite the many pressures of being held captive in Babylon. Indeed, he was a man who lived up to the etymology of his name “God is my judge” (and my only judge). Many colorful stories surround Daniel in the Biblical Book bearing his name. His knack for interpreting dreams won him high positions in the royal courts of Babylon (although he never cared about such favors – his only allegiance was to God). In fact, his ability to correctly interpret dreams convinced Nebuchadnezzar II in the existence of Yahweh. In his later years, Daniel is famous for interpreting the meaning behind the “handwriting on the wall”, words which suddenly appeared on the palace walls during a feast hosted by the then-current Babylonian ruler Belshazzar. A dismembered hand, a relic from the fallen Temple, wrote these words: “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin” (Number, Number, Weight, Divide), indicating that Belshazzar’s days were numbered, his rule had been weighed and found lacking, and his kingdom would be divided by the Persians. This is precisely what happened. Thanks to God, Daniel was always spot-on.

Daniel Boone is considered one of the greatest American woodsman and outdoorsman. Born in Pennsylvania in 1734, and later moved to North Carolina, he went onto discover, settle and protect much land. He led the first group of colonists into Kentucky and later settled in West Virginia and Missouri. He became posthumously famous when Lord Byron wrote about him in his 1823 poem "Don Juan" which led to many exaggerated tales of Boone's adventures. His skillfulness in the outdoors and his dignity in the face of misfortune made Daniel Boone a symbol of early American history.

Daniel Defoe was an English author and prolific writer most known for his novels "Robinson Crusoe" and "Moll Flanders." His work is filled with irony, and widely taught in high schools and universities alike.

Daniel Boone is considered one of the greatest American woodsman and outdoorsman. Born in Pennsylvania in 1734, and later moved to North Carolina, he went onto discover, settle and protect much land. He led the first group of colonists into Kentucky and later settled in West Virginia and Missouri. He became posthumously famous when Lord Byron wrote about him in his 1823 poem "Don Juan" which led to many exaggerated tales of Boone's adventures. His skillfulness in the outdoors and his dignity in the face of misfortune made Daniel Boone a symbol of early American history.

Daniel Defoe was an English author and prolific writer most known for his novels "Robinson Crusoe" and "Moll Flanders." His work is filled with irony, and widely taught in high schools and universities alike.

Daniel Defoe was an English author and prolific writer most known for his novels "Robinson Crusoe" and "Moll Flanders." His work is filled with irony, and widely taught in high schools and universities alike. Born in London circa 1660 as Daniel Foe (he added the “De” prefix to his surname to make it sound more aristocratic), Defoe witnessed more than your average kid during his childhood (London’s Great Plague and Great Fire). Not to mention a lot of political and religious upheaval happening at the time. It probably didn’t make things easier for him that his parents and he were religious dissenters (Presbyterians) during a period of heavy intolerance. He was also almost always in debt, either being imprisoned for it or running away from it. Regardless of any strikes against him, Daniel Defoe’s ability to inhabit his characters (even women) and leave behind such treasures as Robinson Crusoe and Moll Flanders, means that it is us who owe a great debt to him.

Daniel Boone (2 Nov 1734 - 26 Sep 1820) -considered one of the greatest woodsman and outdoorsman in American history. Born in Pennsylvania in 1734, and later moved to North Carolina, he went on to discover, settle and protect much of our precious land. He led the first group of colonists into Kentucky and later settled in West Virginia and Missouri. He became posthumously famous when Lord Byron wrote about him in his 1823 poem "Don Juan" which led to many exaggerated tales of Boone's adventures. His skillfulness in the outdoors and his dignity in the face of misfortune made Daniel Boone a heroic symbol of early American history.