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Joshua Name Meaning

Updated
Learn about the name Joshua including the meaning, gender, origin, popularity, and more.

Joshua

  • Meaning: Joshua means “God is salvation” or “God is lordly.” This comes from the Hebrew name “Yehoshua,” with the same meaning. Joshua was a central figure in the Hebrew Bible who succeeded Moses to lead the Hebrews to the Promised Land in the Book of Exodus. Yehoshua comes from two Hebrew words: “Yeho” meaning “God,” and “Shua” meaning to “save” or “deliver.”
  • Gender: Joshua is primarily given to boys as a name, however, there are female derivatives as well.
  • Origin: The name Joshua is of Hebrew origin.
  • Pronunciation: The name Joshua is pronounced “JOSH-oo-uh,” or “JOSH-yoo-uh.”
  • Popularity: The name Josh is very popular. In the United Kingdom during the first decade of the 21st Century, Joshua was one of the top five names for male babies. The name decreased in popularity following that period, and in recent years Joshua has ranked in the top 50 names for boys.
  • Nicknames: Jaden, Jay, Jo, Joe, Josh, Joshy, Jos, JJ, Oshy, Shua.
  • Variations: Giosue, Iokua, Iosua, Joaquim, Joaquin, Joschua, Josua, Josva, Jozsua, Jozua, Yehoshua
  • Namesakes: Josh Groban, singer, songwriter, musician, actor, and record producer.

What Does the Name Joshua Mean?

Joshua means “God is salvation” (or “God is lordly”). That meaning comes from the Hebrew name “Yehoshua,” which has a similar definition. Joshua is a central figure in Judaism, and the Book of Joshua is named after him (1).

In the Hebrew Bible, Joshua succeeded Moses and led the ancient Hebrews to the Promised Land in the Book of Exodus. The name Yehoshua originates from two Hebrew words: “Yeho,” meaning “God,” and “Shua,” which translates as “save” or “deliver.”

What Is the Origin of the Name Joshua?

The Hebrew boy’s name Yehoshua parallels the Greek “Iesous.” Over time, Joshua gained prominence throughout Europe, with many variations. Indeed, many Jewish families from the 16th Century onwards were able to use the name without having to translate it into a more drastically different spelling.

How Popular Is the Name Joshua?

The name Joshua has been enduringly popular. During the first decade of the 21st Century in the UK, Joshua was one of the top five names given to male babies. The name decreased in popularity following that period. Still, in recent years, Joshua has ranked as one of the top 50 names for boys.

How Do I Pronounce Joshua?

“JOSH-oo-uh.” It can also be pronounced as “JOSH-yoo-uh” with a push-off between the first and second syllables.

Is Joshua a Boy or Girl Name?

Joshua is traditionally a name for boys. Nevertheless, there are female iterations, including Josephine, Joelle, and Josepha.

Variations of Joshua

As Joshua is a popular name with biblical ties, it has manifested in many ways, shapes, and forms across the globe. These are often influenced by language, dialect, and region. Some, but not all, include:

  • Giosue
  • Iokua
  • Iosua
  • Joaquim
  • Joaquin
  • Joschua
  • Josua
  • Josva
  • Jozsua
  • Jozua
  • Yehoshua

Nicknames for Joshua

Despite there being many variations, only a few nicknames exist in comparison.

Some of those nicknames include:

  • Jaden
  • Jay
  • Jo
  • Joe
  • Josh
  • Joshy
  • Jos
  • JJ
  • Oshy
  • Shua

Similar Names to Joshua

There are numerous names similar to Joshua, some of which have biblical origins while others are not. These include:

Middle Names for Joshua

Joshua is often a middle name itself, but some great pairings with it as a first name include:

Sibling Names for Joshua

Many names go great alongside Joshua for a sibling, both for boys and girls. Some of them include:

For a brother:

And for a sister:

Famous People Named Joshua

There have been many famous people named Joshua. The first that comes to mind these days is Josh Groban, a critically-acclaimed American singer, songwriter, musician, actor, and record producer.

Some other famous Joshuas includes:

  • Joshua Bell: American violinist and conductor.
  • Josh Hamilton: American Major League baseball player.
  • Josh Homme: American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, and actor.
  • Joshua Jackson: Canadian-American actor known for his roles in Dawson’s Creek and The Mighty Ducks.
  • Joshua Kelley: American football player.

Joshua in Popular Culture

Today, many Joshuas have become prominent characters in pop culture as well.

You might recognize:

  • Josh Bauer: A minor character in the American television series 24.
  • Josh Chan: Character from the American television series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
  • Josh Lyman: Character from the American television series The West Wing.
  • Josh: Character from the television series The Flash.
  • Josh Baskin: The main character from the 1980s film Big.
  • Josh Nichols: Character from the television series Drake & Josh.
  • Joshua “Josh” Washington: A Character from the survival horror game Until Dawn.

Joshua FAQs

There might be some other questions in your mind about the name Joshua. Let’s take a closer look at some.

Is There a Country Named Joshua?

There is no country named “Joshua.” Rather, the name comes from the Hebrew name Yehoshua, which means “God is salvation” (or “God is lordly”).

In the Hebrew Bible, Joshua succeeds Moses to lead the Hebrew people to the Promised Land, or Canaan (now Israel).

Why is Joshua Such a Popular Name?

There are many factors in this answer. In particular, the religious importance of Joshua has led to it being widely adopted by those who practice an Abrahamic faith. Beyond its religious meaning, the name Joshua appears extensively in popular culture thanks to famous names and fictional characters.

Is Joshua an Irish Name?

Yes. The name is widely popular in Ireland thanks to the religious significance of Joshua.

Is Joshua a Hispanic Name?

There are variations of the name Joshua in almost every culture, as we covered above. But in Hispanic culture, the name is often rendered as “Josué.” Josué would primarily be found in Spain and Portugal, as well as in South and Central America.