Joshua Name Meaning

baby boy

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What Does Joshua Mean?

If you’re looking for a warm, familiar, traditional name that has been popular in the U.S. for the past half-century, Joshua could be the name for you.

Joshua comes from the Hebrew name “Yehoshua, meaning “God is deliverance.” In the Old Testament of the Bible, Joshua was the name of the Israelite leader who succeeded Moses and led the Hebrews to the Promised Land.

  • Origin: Yehoshua is derived from yeho (a name of God) and shua (a form of the verb to deliver or save). The letter Y was changed to an I in Latin and Greek and became a J in English. Jehoshua was eventually shortened to Joshua.
  • Gender: Joshua is traditionally the masculine form of the name.
  • Pronunciation: JAH-shoo-ah

Although baby names are often separated by gender, Verywell Family believes that sex need not play any role in your name selection process. It’s important to select the name that you feel is best suited for your new baby.

How Popular Is the Name Joshua?

Joshua has been one of the top 100 boy names in America since 1971. Its popularity steadily rose in the 1970s, reaching the top 10 in 1979 and staying there for the next 30 years.

The name Joshua was in the top five baby boy names in the U.S. from 1983 to 2008, peaking at No. 3 between 2002 and 2006. Its popularity has declined in the past decade but it remains a top 100 boy name, with the latest statistics ranking Joshua at No. 54.

Although the name Joshua is typically used as a masculine 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 a biblical name, Joshua has an equivalent in virtually every known language. These include:

  • Giosue (Italian)
  • Iokua (Hawaiian)
  • Iosua (Romanian)
  • Joaquim (Portuguese)
  • Joaquin (Spanish)
  • Joschua (German)
  • Josua (Hungarian)
  • Josva (Danish)
  • Jozsua (Hungarian)
  • Jozua (Dutch)
  • Yehoshua (Hebrew)

In English, Joshua is often shortened to Josh.

Similar Names

The name Jesus is closely related to Joshua. The original name of Jesus was Yeshua, an Aramaic short form of the Hebrew name Yehoshua. The New Testament was written in ancient Greek, and Yeshua was rendered as Iesous, which became Iesus in Latin and Jesus in English.

Other Boy Names Starting with J:

  • Jacob
  • Jack
  • James
  • Jason
  • Jeremy
  • John
  • Joseph
  • Justin

Other Old Testament Boy Names:

  • Aaron
  • Elijah
  • Ezra
  • Daniel
  • David
  • Nathan
  • Noah
  • Samson
  • Seth

Suggested Sibling Names

Here are some names that pair well with Joshua:

  • Christopher
  • Ethan
  • Matthew
  • Nicholas
  • Abigail
  • Emily
  • Hannah
  • Miriam

Famous People Named Joshua

There have been a multitude of famous people given the name Joshua or a variation of it.

Famous Joshuas

  • Joshua Bell, American violinist and conductor
  • Joshua Bolten, American lawyer and politician, chief of staff to former President George W. Bush
  • Joshua Chamberlain (1828–1914), brigadier general in the Union army during the American Civil War
  • Joshua Evans (1731–1798), American Quaker minister, journalist, and abolitionist
  • Joshua Fishman (1926–2015), American linguist
  • Joshua Jackson, Canadian-American actor known for his roles in the TV show “Dawson’s Creek” and the “Mighty Ducks” film series
  • Joshua Johnson, American journalist and host of “The Week with Joshua Johnson” on MSNBC
  • Joshua Oppenheimer, English film director known for his films “The Act of Killing” and “The Look of Silence”
  • Joshua Perper, Romanian-born American forensic pathologist and toxicologist
  • Joshua Redman, American jazz saxophonist and composer
  • Joshua Reynolds (1723–1792), English painter specializing in portraits
  • Joshua Slocum (1844–1909), American seaman and adventurer known as the first man to sail solo around the world

Famous Joshes

  • Josh Beckett, American former Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Josh Dun, American musician known as the drummer for the alt-rock band Twenty One Pilots
  • Josh Gad, American actor, voice actor, and comedian known as the voice of Olaf in “Frozen”
  • Josh Groban, American singer, songwriter, actor and record producer
  • Josh Hartnett, American actor known for his roles in “Pearl Harbor” and “Black Hawk Down”
  • Josh Mostel, American actor known for his roles in “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Billy Madison”
  • Josh Radnor, American actor known for his role on the TV show “How I Met Your Mother”
  • Josh Thomas, Australian actor, writer, and comedian known for the TV series “Please Like Me” and “Everything’s Gonna Be Okay”

More Baby Names

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

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    Article Sources
    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. Get ready for baby: popularity of a name. Published 2021.