Joshua Name Meaning

baby boy

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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 Israelite leader who succeeded Moses and led the Hebrews to the Promised Land.

  • Origin: Yehoshua is derived from yeho (meaning God) and shua (meaning 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 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 Joshua?

Joshua has been one of America's top 100 boy names since 1971. Its popularity steadily rose in the 1970s, reaching the top 10 in 1979 and staying there for 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, ranking at No. 54 in 2020.

Although people typically use Joshua as a masculine name, you can certainly use it however you see fit.

Name Variations

Joshua is a biblical name, and it 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, people often shorten Joshua 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:

Other Old Testament boy names:

Suggested Sibling Names

Here are some names that pair well with Joshua:

Famous People Named Joshua

There have been many 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), a 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:

    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. Get ready for baby: popularity of a name.

    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.