Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Yosef

Yosef (יוֹסֵף) is the Hebrew form of Joseph; the name translates to “(God) shall add (another son).” This is a fitting etymology since Yosef (Joseph) was Yaakov’s (Jacob’s) eleventh son in the book of Genesis. In fact, Yosef was Yaakov’s favorite son, so much so that “he made him a robe of many colors” because he was “the son of his old age” (Genesis 37:3). As it would in any family, Yaakov’s favoritism of Yosef inspired jealousy among his brothers so they conspired to sell Yosef into slavery to Egypt, in essence ridding themselves of the family’s “golden child”. Although once in Egypt, Yosef rose to become chief steward to Pharaoh after wisely advising Pharaoh to stockpile food during a period of abundance (in essence, preparing Egypt for the coming seven year famine). Once the famine struck all the surrounding lands, Yosef’s brothers came to Egypt to buy corn from the very brother they had betrayed earlier. The brothers reconciled (clearly Yosef was a forgiving guy) and Yaakov came to Egypt to be reunited with his beloved son. Given Yosef’s importance in Jewish tradition and his patriarchal status as head ancestor to two of the Twelve Tribes of Israel (through his two sons), Yosef is not surprisingly a Top 10 name for baby Jewish boys in Israel.

All About the Baby Name – Yosef

Personality

OF THE BOY NAME YOSEF

The number Seven personality is deeply mystical and highly in tune with their spirituality. They operate on a different wavelength than the average joe. Spending time alone comes easily to Sevens, as it gives them time to contemplate philosophical, religious and spiritual ideas in an effort to find "real truth".  Sevens are wise, but often exude mystery as if they are tapped into something the rest of us don't understand. They love the outdoors and are fed by nature. Sevens are constantly seeking to understand human nature, our place in the universe, and the mystery of life in general. This makes them quite artistic and poetic, but they are also keen observers with high intellect - so they are equally scientific-minded. Sevens are charitable and care deeply about the human condition.

Popularity

OF THE BOY NAME YOSEF

Yosef first made an appearance on America’s Top 1000 list of baby boy names in 1989, then again in 1999 and finally again in 2001. This time, the name has managed to stick. As the Hebrew form of Joseph, Yosef is a name given to Jewish-American baby boys. While it has seen moderate increases in usage in the past several years, we don’t expect to see it get much higher on the charts. Jewish-Americans represent only about 2% of the U.S. population so it’s simply not enough to have a substantial impact on a name’s usage, especially those in their original Hebrew forms. Just about every name English-speakers have adopted from the Old Testament (and many from the New Testament) has etymological roots and meanings in the Hebrew language. Just like Joseph came from Yosef. Now many Jewish-Americans are going back to their traditional names rather than the English versions. Yosef is another celebratory example of this trend.

Quick Facts

ON YOSEF

GENDER:

Boy

ORIGIN:

Hebrew

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

709

PRONUNCIATION:

YO-sef

SIMPLE MEANING:

God shall add (another son)

Characteristics

OF YOSEF

Mystical

Wise

Eccentric

Intuitive

Imaginative

Philosophical

Solitary

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Yosef

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME YOSEF

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

Popular Songs

ON YOSEF

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


Famous People

NAMED YOSEF

Yosef Elboim (Jewish rabbi)
Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn (Jewish rabbi)
Yosef Caro (codifier of Jewish Law)
Yosef Shalom Eliashiv (Jewish rabbi)
Yosef Burg (Israeli politician)
Yosef Hayyim (authority on Jewish Law and Master Kabbalist)
Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld (Jewish rabbi)
Yosef Goldman (scholar of Jewish-American history)
Yosef Haim Brenner (figure in modern Hebrew literature)

Children of Famous People

NAMED YOSEF

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

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME YOSEF

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