Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Nathaniel

Nathaniel is an English personal name from the Hebrew Nethan'el (נְתַנְאֵל), derived from the elements “nathan” meaning “he has given” and “El” meaning “God”. The name appears in the New Testament, in its Greek form Ναθαναηλ (Nathanael) when Jesus refers to him as an Israelite “in whom there is no deceit” (John 1:45). Also known as Bartholomew in the other gospels, Nathanael was most likely a fisherman and one of Jesus’ lesser known apostles. It’s not clear when the name became popular in the English-speaking world, but it was most likely propelled by the Puritans starting in the 17th century. The Puritans had a knack for choosing lesser known names out of the Bible and bestowing them upon their children in an act of modesty. Today Nathaniel is a popular baby boy’s name in the United States, Canada and England.

All About the Baby Name – Nathaniel

Personality

OF THE BOY NAME NATHANIEL

The Three energy is powerful and enthusiastic. These personalities are cheerful, full of self-expression, and often quite emotional. They have an artistic flair and "gift-of-gab" that makes them natural entertainers. Their joyfulness bubbles over, and their infectious exuberance draws a crowd. The Three personality is like a child - forever young and full of delight. They are charming, witty, and generally happy people. The Three personality lives in the "now" and has a spontaneous nature. Threes seem to live with a bright and seemingly unbreakable aura that attracts others to them. In turn, they are deeply loyal and loving to their friends and family. Luck also has a tendency to favor number Threes.

Popularity

OF THE BOY NAME NATHANIEL

American parents probably choose Nathaniel as a more formal version of the name Nathan. Nathaniel has existed on the U.S. popularity charts since the government started tracking the frequency of personal names in 1880. Its popularity at the turn of last century (i.e., early 1900s) was moderately high, but his Top 100 achievement wouldn’t come until 1978. Nathaniel’s best year ever came in 1998 when he hit position #60 on the charts. Since that time, the name has slipped in usage a little but it’s still showing no signs of leaving the Top 100. As a three (or four)-syllable name, Nathaniel has a lyrically quality and a classical elegance. However, its attraction doesn’t stop there. Nathaniel can easily be shortened to Nathan or Nate, Natty or Nat – so whatever number of syllables parents are after, this name should work for them.

Quick Facts

ON NATHANIEL

GENDER:

Boy

ORIGIN:

English

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

3

RANKING POPULARITY:

91

PRONUNCIATION:

na-THAN-yul or na-THAN-ee-al

SIMPLE MEANING:

God has given

Characteristics

OF NATHANIEL

Communicative

Creative

Optimistic

Popular

Social

Dramatic

Happy

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Nathaniel

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME NATHANIEL

While Nathaniel is a minor character in Ayn Rand’s controversial 1947 novel of rugged individualism, “Atlas Shrugged,” he is nonetheless the man who gives the main character, Dagny Taggart, her drive and ambition. As the founder of Taggart Transcontinental, Nat Taggart rises from obscure poverty to unequaled and unapologetic rich success. Dagny Taggart struggles with the modern day consequences of her grandfather’s legacy, all the while living life on the terms he bequeathed her through her blood line: “He was a man who had never accepted the creed that others had the right to stop him.”

In 1836 Charles Dickens embarked upon a serialized string of stories about the adventures of Mr. Samuel Pickwick and friends that turned out to be so wildly popular it was shortly thereafter published as a novel, his first – “Pickwick Papers.” Among the three companions of Mr. Pickwick is the beleaguered Nathaniel Winkle, a young man who fancies himself quite the sportsman, but is, in fact, hilariously inept around guns and animals. In the gently humorous hands of his creator, Mr. Winkle is an object of fun, but a most delightful one.

A white child raised by the Delaware tribe of Native Americans, Nathaniel “Natty” Bumppo is the protagonist of James Fennimore Cooper’s so-called “Leatherstocking Tales”, five books published between 1827 and 1841, depicting a life led between two worlds. Over the course of his long and lonely lifetime, Natty bridges the gap between civilization and so-called “savagery”. He is a complicated man leading a simple life, with an enduring respect for the wilderness that is fast vanishing and the way of life that goes with it, yet with a foot in the opposing camp of Western European imposed class and societal structures. The books have inspired many movies based on his character, and the book and TV series gave us the enduring and endearing character of “Hawkeye” (one of Natty’s Indian nicknames) in M*A*S*H.

Popular Songs

ON NATHANIEL

Nathaniel
a song by Outkast [explicit]

Famous People

NAMED NATHANIEL

Nathaniel Adams Cole (aka Nat King Cole, musical legend)
Nathaniel Hawthorne (author)
Nathaniel Hone (artist) (painter)

Children of Famous People

NAMED NATHANIEL

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

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME NATHANIEL

Nathaniel Hawthorne is the 19th century American novelist who gave us such classics as The House of Seven Gables, The Scarlet Letter, and The Marble Faun. His own New England, Puritan forbears provided the grist for the mill of his writing themes: we are born of sin, live in guilt, and pay through punishment and repentance. The abiding climate of intolerance and religious fervor contributed to the dark demises of his major characters, but not without his shedding complex psychological light upon their motivations. Hester Prynne, for example, stands out as an early example of a feminist who abides by her own principles. Nominally a Transcendentalist, in the company of the likes of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and Amos Bronson Alcott, Hawthorne nonetheless did not trust the abilities of artistic intellectuals. By all measures, Hawthorne seems to have led a relatively happy life, with a good, solid marriage to Sophia Peabody and as the father of three healthy children. He was successful at his chosen work and even served President Franklin Pierce as a United States consul in Liverpool, England. He died in 1864, at what we would call a young age – sixty – but continues to hold his exalted place in literary history through the ages.