Samuel Name Meaning

baby boy

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What Does Samuel Mean?

If you’re looking for a name that is familiar, traditional, and also rising in popularity, you might consider the name Samuel.

The name Samuel is from the Old Testament of the Bible, and derives from a Hebrew phrase meaning either “God has heard” or “name of God.” Samuel from the Bible is respected by Jews, Christians, and Muslims as a wise prophet, judge, and leader of ancient Israel.

  • Origin: The name Samuel comes from either the Hebrew words Shem (name) and El (God), or Sh’ma (hear) and El (God). The name can be interpreted either as “name of God” or “God has heard.”
  • Gender: Samuel is historically the masculine form of the name. Samuelle, Samuella, and Samantha are sometimes used as feminine variations.
  • Pronunciation: SAM-yoo-ul

Although baby names are often separated by gender, Verywell Family believes that sex need not 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 Samuel?

Samuel has been a popular name throughout the English-speaking world since biblical names became common in the 16th century. It has consistently been a top-100 name for boys in the U.S. for over a century.

The name Samuel dropped out of the top 50 from the late 1920s until the mid-1980s but came back up to the No. 50 spot in 1987. Since then it has surged, ranking No. 25 in 2002 and remaining in the top 30 ever since. The most recent statistics show that Samuel is the No. 25 baby name for boys in America.

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

Name Variations

As the Bible has been translated into virtually every known language, Samuel has many variant forms and spellings. These include:

  • İsmail (Turkish)
  • Kamuela (Hawaiian)
  • Saamuel (Estonian)
  • Saimu'ala (Hindi)
  • Sâmo'el (Persian)
  • Samouí̱l (Greek)
  • Samu (Hungarian)
  • Samuil (Russian)
  • Samuli (Finnish)
  • Sāmūxel (Thai)
  • Sawyl (Welsh)
  • Shmu’el (Hebrew)
  • Somhairle (Irish)

Similar Names

The nicknames Sam or Sammy are often short forms of Samuel, but they can also be short for Samson, another name from the Old Testament. The name Samson is derived from the Hebrew Shimshōn, meaning “man of the sun.”

The feminine variant Samantha may be a mashup of the name Samuel and either the feminine name Anthea or the Greek word anthos meaning “flower.” Samara is another popular feminine name, not related to Samuel, but also commonly shortened to Sam.

Other boy names starting with S:

  • Sawyer
  • Seamus
  • Sean
  • Sebastian
  • Seth
  • Shepherd
  • Simon
  • Spencer
  • Stephen
  • Stuart

Other boy names from the Old Testament:

  • Aaron
  • Abraham
  • Benjamin
  • David
  • Ezra
  • Jacob
  • Joshua
  • Levi
  • Nathan
  • Noah

Suggested Sibling Names

Here are a few names that may pair nicely with Samuel:

  • Daniel
  • Deborah
  • Elijah
  • Evelyn
  • Hannah
  • Isaac
  • Mark
  • Matthew
  • Miriam
  • Ruth
  • Sarah

Famous People Named Samuel

As noted, Samuel has been a popular name for a long time. It has lent itself to many famous people, including the following.

Famous Samuels

  • Samuel Adams (1722–1803), Founding Father of the United States
  • Samuel Alito (born 1950), associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Samuel Beckett (1906–1989), Irish playwright known for his play "Waiting For Godot"
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), English poet, a founder of the Romantic movement in poetry
  • Samuel “Shemp” Howard (birth name Samuel Horwitz, 1895-1955), American actor and comedian, member of the Three Stooges
  • Samuel L. Jackson (born 1948), American film and television actor and film producer
  • Samuel Morse (1791–1872), American inventor and artist, best known for developing Morse code
  • Samuel Walton (1918-1992), American businessman, founder of Walmart

Famous Sams

  • Sam Cooke (1931-1964), American singer and songwriter referred to as the "King of Soul"
  • Sam Fuld (born 1981), former Major League Baseball player, and the general manager for the Philadelphia Phillies
  • Sam McCullum (born 1952), former NFL player, wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings
  • Sam Mendes (born 1965), English stage and film director, known for such films as "American Beauty," "Road to Perdition," and "Skyfall"
  • Sam Raimi (born 1959), American film director, known for the "Evil Dead" series and "Spider-Man" trilogy
  • Yosemite Sam, a common foil for Bugs Bunny in the "Looney Tunes" cartoons

More Baby Names

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

2 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. Popularity of a name.

  2. Ancestry. Samson family history and name meaning.

Additional Reading

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.