Daniel Name Meaning

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What Does Daniel Mean?

Looking for a strong, traditional name for your baby boy? Daniel might be the perfect pick for you.

The name Daniel is a biblical name. Its earliest origins can be traced back to the Old Testament of the Bible, where it was defined as “God is my judge” in Hebrew.

Daniel of the Old Testament is known for remaining loyal to the God of Israel despite persecution and danger. According to the Bible, he was thrown into a lion’s den for refusing to worship the king, but God protected Daniel and he was not harmed by the lions. The biblical Daniel was also a visionary with the power to interpret dreams.

  • Origin: The name Daniel comes from the Hebrew words din (to judge) and el (God). It is found in the Old Testament, notably in the Book of Daniel.
  • Gender: Daniel is historically the masculine form of the name. Feminine variations, such as Danielle, Daniella, or Daniela, are common.
  • Pronunciation: DAN-yul

Although many baby names are separated by gender, Verywell Family believes that sex does not need to play a role in your name selection process. It’s important to select a name that you feel suits your new baby the best.

How Popular Is the Name Daniel?

Daniel is a name that never seems to go out of style. It’s an ever-popular name, having been a top-50 baby name for boys in the U.S. throughout the past century.

The name Daniel steadily rose in popularity from the 1920s to the 1980s. It first broke into the top 20 in 1952, and top 10 in 1976. Daniel was in the top 10 consistently from 1981 to 1995, reaching its peak at the rank of 5 in 1985 and 1990, and was a top-10 name again from 1999 to 2011.

In 2020 Daniel was ranked as the 14th name for boys in America.

Although the name Daniel is typically used as a boy name, it can certainly be used however you see fit as sex doesn't have to be a part of your name selection process.

Name Variations

As it is a biblical name, Daniel has an equivalent in virtually every known language. These include:

  • Daan (Dutch)
  • Danail (Bulgarian)
  • Daniele (Italian)
  • Danijel (Serbian/Croatian)
  • Daniyyel (Hebrew)
  • Danyal (Turkish)
  • Dănuṭ (Romanian)
  • Deiniol (Welsh)
  • Dónall (Irish)
  • Tanel (Estonian)
  • Taneli (Finnish)

Similar Names

Other boy names from the Old Testament:

  • Aaron
  • Abraham
  • Benjamin
  • Elijah
  • Ezra
  • Jonathan
  • Joshua
  • Noah
  • Samuel

Other boy names starting with D:

  • Dale
  • Dana
  • Darnell
  • Darrell
  • Darren
  • David
  • Davis
  • Dennis
  • Dexter
  • Diego
  • Douglas

Common Nicknames

Common nicknames for Dan include:

  • Dan: Suggests a sturdy, reliable, masculine figure like Dan Rather, the longtime host of the "CBS Evening News," or Dan Conner, the lovable dad portrayed by John Goodman in the TV shows "Roseanne" and "The Conners." Dans are often nicknamed “Dan the Man”—mostly because it’s a convenient rhyme, but also because of its frequent usage. This name connotes a strong, reliable personality.
  • Danny: Has more of a playful, boyish spirit. Many who are called Danny in boyhood grow up to be called Dan. Adults still known as Danny may have a funny or mischievous spirit, like the impish actor Danny DeVito, Danny Tanner (the dad played by Bob Saget in "Full House"), or the greaser Danny Zuko memorably portrayed by John Travolta in "Grease."

Suggested Sibling Names

  • Andrew
  • Deborah
  • James
  • Max
  • Naomi
  • Peter
  • Rachel
  • Rebecca
  • Sarah
  • Violet
  • Walter

Famous People Named Daniel

Notable Daniels in the U.S., like the pioneer Daniel Boone and the 19th-century statesman Daniel Webster, embodied the biblical Daniel’s loyalty and courage. The name Daniel is also associated with distinguished English actors such as Daniel Radcliffe, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Daniel Craig.

Famous Daniels:

  • Daniel Bernoulli, Dutch-Swiss mathematician
  • Daniel Defoe, British writer, best known as the author of "Robinson Crusoe"
  • Daniel Ellsberg, American activist
  • Daniel Tosh, U.S. comedian

Famous Dans:

  • Dan Aykroyd, Canadian-American actor best known for appearing in "Saturday Night Live" and "Ghostbusters"
  • Dan Castellanata, American actor best known for voicing Homer Simpson
  • Dan DeCarlo, American cartoonist, co-creator of "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" and "Josie and the Pussycats"
  • Dan Gurney, American racecar driver
  • Dan Marino, NFL quarterback for the Miami Dolphins
  • Dan Rather, American journalist and news anchor

Famous Dannys:

  • Danny DeVito, American actor
  • Danny Elfman, American musician and film composer
  • Danny Glover, American actor
  • Danny Kaye, American actor and comedian
  • Danny O’Reilly, Irish musician

Fictional Dans/Daniels/Dannys:

  • Dan Conner, "Roseanne," "The Conners"
  • Daniel LaRusso, "The Karate Kid"
  • Daniel Tiger, "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood," "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood"
  • Danny Phantom, "Danny Phantom"
  • Danny Tanner, "Full House"

More Baby Names

Still searching for the perfect baby name? Check out these related baby name lists for even more options:

1 Source
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Social Security Administration. Popular baby names.

By Wendy Wisner
Wendy Wisner is a lactation consultant and writer covering maternal/child health, parenting, general health and wellness, and mental health. She has worked with breastfeeding parents for over a decade, and is a mom to two boys.