Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Isaac

Isaac is one of the oldest Biblical names, borne from the Old Testament as the son of Abraham; the son who was nearly sacrificed by his father as a burnt offering at God’s command (Genesis 22:1-13). At the very last second of this nail-biting scene, an angel descended and yelled for Abraham to stop. Apparently, God was sufficiently satisfied that Abraham would have killed his son, his only son, for Him. It was one of those perverse laboratory experiments God enjoyed playing on man before He went from being a jealous God to a kind God (ah, but we digress). The name Isaac is derived from the Hebrew “Yitzhaq” (יִצְחָק) meaning, quite literally, “he laughs”. We love this joyful etymology! Apropos, in Genesis 18:12-15, we learn why there’s an element of “laughter” in Isaac’s name. You see, God promised Abraham that Sarai (Sarah) would conceive and bear a son. When Abraham told his wife, she basically did an ancient version of LOL’ing. Why? Well, because she simply didn’t believe it. You see, Sarah was not only barren all her life, but she was now quite old (like 100 years old). In Genesis 21:6, right after Isaac was born, “Sara said, ‘God has given me cause for laughter, and whoever hears of it will laugh with me.’” Hence Isaac’s name. How can you not love the name Isaac with a story like that? It makes us want to giggle every time we see it. Of course Isaac was the son of Abraham with whom God carries on His covenant; Isaac lived on to father Esau and Jacob (by Rebecca), and the covenant goes on from there (through Jacob). Isaac has always been a distinctly Jewish name until the Puritans adopted him for usage after the Protestant Reformation. Today he “laughing” all the way to the hospital nursery and is enjoyed by Jews and Gentiles alike. In fact, Isaac is seeing international interest at the moment. He’s ranked highest in Australia (a top 20 fave), but also does quite well in the United States, England, Northern Ireland and Canada. Not to mention Spain, Catalonia and Chile.

All About the Baby Name – Isaac

Personality

OF THE BOY NAME ISAAC

Romance is the hallmark of the Six personality. They exude nurturing, loving, and caring energy. Sixes are in love with the idea of love in its idealized form - and with their magnetic personalities, they easily draw people toward them. Like the number Two personality, they seek balance and harmony in their life and the world at large. They are conscientious and service-oriented, and a champion for the underdog. These personalities naturally attract money and are usually surrounded by lovely material objects - but their human relationships are always primary. They thrive in giving back to others rather than being motivated by their own desires. This is when they achieve great things. Sixes are natural teachers, ministers and counselors.

Popularity

OF THE BOY NAME ISAAC

The name Isaac has enjoyed persistent usage in America since the days of colonization. Its low-point of popularity was during the 1960s (which was still only moderate) and its high-point of popularity is being experienced right now. Isaac first achieved Top 100 status in America in 1995 and today (2012) he’s managed to hit position #30. Remarkably, over 25% of the masculine names currently on America’s Top 100 list are from the Old Testament (Jacob, Ethan, Noah, Michael, Daniel, Elijah, Benjamin, Joshua, David, Joseph, Gabriel, Samuel, John, Nathan, Isaac, Caleb, Jonathan, Isaiah, Eli, Aaron, Jeremiah, Levi, Zachary, Josiah, Adam, Nathaniel). Clearly a highly fashionable naming trend in the United States right now. Isaac definitely has Biblical associations that are called to mind immediately upon hearing the name, but it also feels like an intellectual choice given all the accomplished Isaacs that have come and gone: inventors, physicists, Nobel laureates, composers, violinists, etc. Nicknames like Zack and Ike are always options, as well.

Quick Facts

ON ISAAC

GENDER:

Boy

ORIGIN:

Hebrew

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

29

PRONUNCIATION:

I-zik

SIMPLE MEANING:

He laughs

Characteristics

OF ISAAC

Humanitarian

Community-minded

Family-oriented

Loving

Affectionate

Compassionate

Sensitive

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Isaac

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME ISAAC

We cannot find any significant literary characters by the name of Isaac

Popular Songs

ON ISAAC

Isaac
a song by Madonna

Famous People

NAMED ISAAC

Isaac Bashevis Singer (Nobel Prize in literature)
Isaac Albéniz (composer)
Isaac Hanson (musician)
Isaac Hayes (musician)
Isaac Mizrahi (designer)
Isaac Newton (physicist)
Isaac Stern (violinist)
Isaac Slade (musician)
Itzhak Perlman (violinist)
Isaac Singer (inventor of the sewing machine)

Children of Famous People

NAMED ISAAC

We cannot find any children of famous people with the first name Isaac

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME ISAAC

Born the year Galileo died, Sir Isaac Newton is considered one of the greatest scientists who ever lived. He had a profound impact on astronomy, physics, and mathematics. Born prematurely on Christmas day and after his father’s death, his mother eventually remarried and abandoned him to grandparents. This would impact him for the rest of his life, causing him great insecurity. Fortunately, somewhere down the road, an uncle recognized his scholarly talents so Newton eventually made it to Trinity College in Cambridge. Among his many achievements was the invention of the telescope; the invention of calculus; the revelation of the three laws of motion; and the development of the law of universal gravitation. His contribution to science was almost insurmountable.