Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Ismael

Ismael is the Spanish equivalent of the Hebrew name Yishma'el (Ishmael) meaning ‘God will hear’. In the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible, Ishmael was the son of Abraham and half-brother to Isaac. His story is told in Genesis chapter 16. Abraham and his wife Sarah (Sarai) cannot conceive a child, so Sarah gives her Egyptian handmaiden, Hagar, to Abraham. He agrees to this not atypical biblical marital arrangement (an ancient version of “Sister Wives”). Once Hagar is successful at conceiving Abraham’s child, she looks upon her mistress Sarah with contempt (we can’t help picturing Hagar doing a little jig in front of Sarah singing “I AM pregnant and YOOOU are not. HA-ha-ha-ha-HA-ha!”). Of course Sarah is furious and so treats Hagar harshly, causing the handmaiden to flee. An angel of God appears before Hagar instructing her to return and submit to Sarah. The angel says: “Behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael because the Lord has listened to your affliction.” And so his name was called Ishmael, born to Abraham when he was 86 years old! Later on, old Sarah herself miraculously gets pregnant and bears Isaac. Armed with a son of her own, Sarah now wants Hagar and Ishmael out of the picture to ensure Isaac gets the inheritance and is recognized as the next patriarch (God has already decided that Isaac would be the instrument of His covenant anyway). Banished and wandering the wilderness with his mom, Ishmael almost dies from thirst. God comes to the rescue, saves Ishmael from near death, and promises to make him a “great nation” unto himself (the Ishmaelites). According to tradition, Ishmael is the forefather of the Arab peoples, and Isaac is the forefather of the Jewish tribes. And so goes the story of Ishmael. Ishmael has never been a particularly popular name within English-speaking nations, but Ismael is surprisingly popular among Spaniards and Catalonians.

All About the Baby Name – Ismael

Personality

OF THE BOY NAME ISMAEL

The number Five personality loves the excitement of life and can easily adapt to all situations. As natural adventurers, these personalities thrive on the new and unexpected and prefer to be in constant motion. It makes them feel alive. They'll stir up some action if there's not enough around, and as inherent risk-takers they enjoy pushing the envelope. Naturally rebellious, the Five personality has no fear and never resists change.  Traveling and new experiences feed their souls. Fives are very social and attract friends with ease. People love to be around the Five fun-loving and exciting energy.  This is also a lucky number in numerology (like the Threes), so fortune seems to shine on them, helped along by their own optimism and good-nature. Fives have a quick wit, a cerebral mind, and are generally very persuasive. 

Popularity

OF THE BOY NAME ISMAEL

As mentioned above, Ismael is ranked high in Spain and Catalonia, but not in Mexico or the United States. Ishmael is a Biblical figure not particularly important to the Catholics (which is the primary religion of Spanish-speaking people), so we are curious as to why Ismael is so popular in Spain and Catalonia. Perhaps it’s left-over influence from the medieval Moorish occupation of the Iberian Peninsula (Moors being Muslim Arabs from Northern Africa). Ishmael is basically considered the forefather of the Arab (Islamic) tribes. In any case, Ismael doesn’t appear to be a particularly popular name in the mainly Catholic nations of Mexico or South America. Ismael first appeared on the U.S. popularity charts in 1928. The name has slowly climbed to levels of mild popularity. This is a name given to no more than 1000 baby boys per year. It’s a nice sounding name (particularly in the Spanish tongue).

Quick Facts

ON ISMAEL

GENDER:

Boy

ORIGIN:

Spanish

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

3

RANKING POPULARITY:

400

PRONUNCIATION:

is-MY-el

SIMPLE MEANING:

God will hear

Characteristics

OF ISMAEL

Freedom-loving

Adventurous

Adaptable

Intellectual

Easygoing

Progressive

Sensual

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Ismael

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME ISMAEL

Popular Songs

ON ISMAEL

We cannot find any popular or well-known songs with the name of Ismael


Famous People

NAMED ISMAEL

Ismael Urzaiz (Spanish soccer player)

Children of Famous People

NAMED ISMAEL

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

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME ISMAEL

We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Ismael