Michael Name Meaning

Curious Baby Boy
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What Does Michael Mean?

Are you searching for a classic, refined name for your baby boy? Michael is a strong option to consider.

Michael was first derived from the name Mikha’el, meaning “who is like God?” in Hebrew. This rhetorical question was posed to reiterate no person was like God. 

In Hebrew tradition, Michael was one of the archangels. Michael is listed as the only archangel in the Bible, where he appears in the Old Testament’s Book of Daniel as a protector of Israel. 

The saint’s popularity brought the name Michael to prominence centuries ago. Michael has been commonly used in Western Europe since the Middle Ages and in England since the 12th century.

  • Origin: The name Michael is of Hebrew origin and means “who is like God?” or “gift from God.” It is found in the Old Testament, notably in the Book of Daniel.
  • Gender: Michael is historically the masculine form of the name. Feminine variations, such as Michelle, Michaela, or Mila, are common.
  • Pronunciation: mye-kehl

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 Michael?

The name Michael was commonly used for emperors, kings, and saints. Michael is an ever-popular name that has consistently ranked in the top-100 for boys over the past century.

Michael enjoyed an unprecedented run in popularity in the U.S. from 1954 to 2008, often ranking in the first or second spot. The name stayed in the top 10 until 2017, when it ranked 12. In 2020, Michael also ranked as the 12th most popular name for boys in America.

While the name is sometimes used for baby girls, it does not rank in the 1000 most frequently used names for girls.

Name Variations

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

  • Michel (French)
  • Mikhail (Greek, Russian)
  • Mihály (Hungarian)
  • Mícheál (Gaelic)
  • Michele (Italian)
  • Michal (Polish)
  • Miguel (Portuguese, Spanish)
  • Mihail (Rumanian)
  • Michiel (Dutch)
  • Mikel (Swedish)
  • Mihangel (Welsh)
  • Mícheál (Irish)
  • Miguel (Portuguese)
  • Mikkel (Danish, Norweigian)
  • Micheil (Gaelic)

Similar Names

Other boy names from the Old Testament:

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

Other boy names starting with M:

  • Malachi
  • Marcus
  • Mark
  • Mario
  • Mason
  • Matthew
  • Maverick
  • Maxwell/Max
  • Micah
  • Miles
  • Mitchell
  • Morgan

Common Nicknames

Common nicknames for Michael include:

  • Mike: Suggests a robust and athletic persona, such as boxer Mike Tyson, or American television personality Mike Rowe. This shorthand version of Michael dates back to the 1800s and is a commonly used nickname for Michael.  
  • Mikey: A lesser-used nickname with a more playful undertone. Many boys who are called Mikey will grow into the nickname Mike as they get older. This nickname was made popular in the 1970s when actor John Gilchrist played a young boy named Mikey in the Life cereal commercials. The beloved advertisements spawned the catchphrase, “Mikey Likes It.” 

Suggested Sibling Names

  • Benjamin
  • Gabriel
  • Matthew
  • Thomas
  • William
  • Amelia
  • Charlotte
  • Emma
  • Grace
  • Lily

Famous People Named Michael

Notable Michaels in the U.S., like preacher Michael Blackwell and philanthropist Michael Drescher, represent the biblical Michael’s commitment to duty and leadership. The name Michael is also associated with distinguished American politicians such as Michael Dukakis, Michael Patrick Flanagan, and Michael Pence.

Famous Michaels:

  • Michael Bublé, Canadian singer
  • Michael J. Fox, Canadian-American actor
  • Michael Jordan, NBA basketball player
  • Michael Kors, American fashion designer
  • Michael Palin, British comedian
  • Michael Phelps, American swimmer

Famous Mikes:

  • Mike Ditka, NFL player, coach, and commentator
  • Mike Meyers, Canadian actor
  • Mike Oliver, British sociologist and disability advocate
  • Mike Piazza, American baseball player
  • Mike Tyson, American boxer

Famous Mikeys:

  • Mikey Ambrose, American soccer player
  • Mikey Boyle, Irish hurler
  • Mikey Chung, Jamaican musician and record producer
  • Mikey Craig, English musician
  • Mikey Robins, Australian media personality, comedian, and writer
  • Mikey Walsh, British writer and LGBTQ activist

Fictional Michaels/Mikes/Mikeys:

  • Michael Meyers, Halloween
  • Michael Scott, The Office
  • Mike Seaver, Growing Pains
  • Mike Wheeler, Stranger Things
  • Little Mikey, Life cereal commercials

More Baby Names

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

1 Source
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  1. Social Security Administration. Popular baby names.

By Renee Plant
Renee Plant is a health and wellness freelance writer with a passion for delivering well-researched, factual content to readers.