Sam Name Meaning

Sleeping newborn

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What Does Sam Mean?

Sam is a boy's name with biblical ties. The name Sam is of Hebrew origin and is often used as a nickname for Samuel. Its meanings include "told by God" and "God hears."

In the Old Testament, Samuel is featured as a prophet and judge of the Israelites. Most people bearing the name Sam use it as a nickname, but it is sometimes a given name.

The name Sam has been used for over a century. While it is primarily chosen by parents expecting baby boys, the nickname Sam is a common moniker for girls.

  • Origin: The name Sam of Hebrew origin meaning "told by God."
  • Gender: Sam is historically the masculine form of the name. Feminine variations include Samantha, Sami, and Samuela.
  • Pronunciation: sam

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 Sam?

As a given name, Sam pales in comparison to the more popular Samuel. While Samuel has been in the top 100 for more than a century, Sam has been off that list for just as long, ending its top-100 run in 1926.

Sam ranked as the No. 653 most popular name for boys in 2020. It reached its peak in 1900 when it was No. 34.

Similar Names

Sam is a concise, masculine name. If you like the sound and origin of the name Sam, you may also appreciate:

  • Ben
  • Chase
  • Finn
  • Gabe
  • Jack
  • Luke
  • Max
  • Paul

Other boy's names starting with S:

  • Salvatore
  • Sawyer
  • Sebastian
  • Sean/Shaun/Shawn
  • Seamus
  • Silas
  • Simon
  • Stephen/Steven
  • Sullivan
  • Sylvester

Common Nicknames

The name Sam is often the abbreviated version of longer names, like Samuel and Samson. However, it can also be used as a standalone name. A common nickname for the name Sam is Sammy, which is a sweet-sounding name for a younger child.

Suggested Sibling Names

The following names may pair well with Sam:

  • Abigail
  • Benjamin
  • Elizabeth
  • Emma
  • Grace
  • Hannah
  • Henry
  • Lucas
  • Michael
  • Olivia
  • William

Famous People Named Samuel

Because of its longevity, there's certainly no shortage of recognizable Sams (and Samuels). Here are a few notable people who bear the name—both real and fictional:

Famous Sams

  • Sam Cooke, American singer-songwriter
  • Sam Elliott, American actor
  • Sam Kinison, American comedian
  • Sam Shepard, American actor-playwright-author
  • Sam Smith, English singer-songwriter

Famous Samuels

  • Samuel Adams, American politician
  • Samuel Beckett, Irish playwright
  • Samuel Clemens, Birth name of American author Mark Twain
  • Samuel L. Jackson, American actor
  • Samuel Morse, American inventor

Fictional Sams

  • Sam Axe, "Burn Notice"
  • Sam Evans, "Glee"
  • Sam Malone, "Cheers"
  • Sam Winchester, "Supernatural"
  • Sam Wheat, "Ghost"

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. Popularity of name.

Additional Reading

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