Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Yusuf

Yusuf is the Arabic equivalent of Yosef (Hebrew) and Joseph (English) which translates to “(God) shall add (another son).” This is a fitting etymology since Joseph was Jacob’s eleventh son in the book of Genesis. In fact, Joseph was Jacob’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, Jacob’s favoritism of Joseph inspired jealousy among his brothers so they concocted a plan to sell Joseph into slavery to Egypt, in essence ridding themselves of the family’s “golden child”. Although once in Egypt, Joseph 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, Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt to buy corn from the very brother they betrayed earlier. The brothers reconciled (clearly Joseph was a forgiving guy) and Jacob came to Egypt to be reunited with his beloved son. Aside from the important Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) Joseph, there is, of course, the New Testament Joseph, i.e., the husband of the Virgin Mary who essentially became foster father to Jesus Christ. Lastly, the name Joseph is also borne in the Bible by a rich Jew who took Jesus down from the cross and buried him. According to medieval legend, this Joseph (Joseph of Arimathea) brought the Holy Grail to Britain. The Old Testament Joseph is a highly regarded prophet by Muslims which is why we find Yusuf/Yousef a common name among Arabs. There are slight differences between the Yosef in the Hebrew Bible vs. Yusuf in the Qur'an but it’s essentially the name story (for instance there’s a lot of emphasis on Yusuf’s handsomeness in Islam). In terms of Western usage, the name Yusuf shows up on the charts in countries with considerable Arab citizenry (for instance the U.S., France, Germany, Norway and the Netherlands). It is also one of the most popular boy names in Turkey and Tajikistan.

All About the Baby Name – Yusuf

Personality

OF THE BOY NAME YUSUF

The Number 2 personality in numerology is all about cooperation and balance. It's the number of diplomats and mediators. They are not leaders, but strive rather for harmony in partnerships. These are the peacemakers. Equality and fairness are important in their dealings, and they are willing to share power and responsibility to achieve a harmonious outcome. This personality is calm and patient, waiting for things to evolve instead of pushing aggressively for an outcome. They are good-natured and easy-going, and care deeply on an emotional and spiritual plane. Twos appreciate beauty and nature and are intent on making the world a better place.

Popularity

OF THE BOY NAME YUSUF

Yusuf is a spelling of Joseph primarily used among Arab-Americans (and perhaps some Turkic-Americans). Because these particular ethnic populations overall are small on a per capita basis, given the sheer size of the U.S. population there’s enough to move the needle on the charts. Arabic names started to come onto the American naming scene around the 1970s as immigration increased and as African-Americans began to embrace Islamic names. Yusuf specifically appeared on the male naming charts for the first time in 2001 so he’s a little late to the game (although Yousef recently showed up so now we have a little competition). Of course Joseph has honors as one of the most successful, widely used and enduring names ever in circulation among Christian Westerners (more thanks to Jesus’ foster-dad than to Jacob’s eleventh son, though). We can clearly understand given Joseph’s importance in the Hebrew Bible, the Christian New Testament and the Islamic Qur'an why and how this name may get the blue ribbon prize for being one of the most acceptable and highly regarded names among all three monotheistic religions. From this perspective we see Joseph as a positive connector. Yusuf, too! Perhaps that’s what folk singer Cat Stevens thought when he changed his name to Yusuf Islam.

Quick Facts

ON YUSUF

GENDER:

Boy

ORIGIN:

Arabic

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

606

PRONUNCIATION:

U-sehf

SIMPLE MEANING:

God shall add (another son)

Characteristics

OF YUSUF

Cooperative

Considerate

Compassionate

Nurturing

Sensitive

Patient

Loving

Kind

Gracious

Balanced

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Yusuf

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME YUSUF

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

Popular Songs

ON YUSUF

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


Famous People

NAMED YUSUF

Yusuf Islam (aka Cat Stevens, singer)

Children of Famous People

NAMED YUSUF

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

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME YUSUF

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