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Michael Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

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

Michael Overview

  • Meaning: “Who is like God” or “Gift from God.”
  • Gender: Michael is most often a masculine name but can also be used for girls.
  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Pronunciation: Mye-Kehl
  • Popularity: Michael is one of the most popular names in the world. Michael and its variants often rank in the top 20 percent of names in the U.S., Ireland, Russia, and Spain.
  • Nicknames: Mike, Mikey, Micky, Mick
  • Variations: Miguel, Mikkel, Mikhail, Michaela, Michel, Michelle, Misha
  • Namesakes: Michael the Archangel, Michael Jordan, Michael Jackson, Mike Tyson, Michael Buble, and Michael Douglas

What Does Michael Mean?

A name that goes back to the days of the Old Testament, Michael is a popular name today. You might wonder what the meaning of the name Michael is. Whether you’re considering naming your baby Michael, know someone named Michael, or have that moniker yourself, you’ll find that Michael has a deep meaning.

Michael comes from Hebrew roots and means “Who is like God,” a rhetorical question that translates to “No one is like God.” Michael is also translated to mean “Gift from God.”

What is the Origin of the Name Michael?

The name Michael comes from the Hebrew name Mikha’el. In the Old Testament, Michael was the archangel in the Book of Daniel, who was a protector of Israel.

How Popular is the Name Michael?

Michael has been among the most popular names for boys in America during the past 100 years. In Social Security rankings of the most popular male names over the past century, Michael held the top spot 44 times, more than any other name (1).

Michael and its variations are the most popular names globally, ranking 20th in Northern Ireland popularity, 27th in Canada, and 42nd in Australia, England, and Wales.

Plenty of babies are named with Michael variations, too. Mikael is the third most popular name in Finland. Mikhail is the seventh most popular name in Russia. Mikkel is the 15th most popular name in Denmark, while Miguel is the 14th most popular name in Spain (2).

How Do I Pronounce Michael?

Michael is pronounced Mye-Kehl. It is among the more easily pronounced names.

Is Michael a Boy or Girl Name?

While Michael is more often used as a boy’s name, Michael can be a girl’s name as well, as evidenced by the actress Michael Learned, who starred in the TV series “The Waltons” in the 1970s.

Variations of Michael

Among the variations of Michael are these famous names.

  • Michaela (Latin)
  • Michel (French)
  • Michele (Italian)
  • Michelle (French)
  • Miguel (Spanish)
  • Mikhail (Russian)
  • Mikkel (Danish)
  • Misha (Russian)

Nicknames for Michael

Sometimes people named Michael or one of its variations go by nicknames. These popular nicknames include:

  • Mick
  • Mickey
  • Mike
  • Mikey
  • Mikko

Similar Names to Michael

Other traditional or biblical names that are similar to Michael include monikers like:

Middle Names for Michael

Michael combines well with many middle names to make myriad first and middle name combinations, including these.

Sibling Names for Michael

Sibling names for a child named Michael can be variants of Michael, begin with an M, or be of similar origin. Here are a few options.

Famous People Named Michael

Michael is the name of many famous people, including these notable celebrities.

  • Michael Jackson: American musical artist known as the King of Pop.
  • Michael Jordan: American professional basketball great
  • Michael Phelps: American Olympic swimming medalist.
  • Michael Douglas: American actor.
  • Mike Tyson: American boxer.
  • Mick Jagger: British lead singer in the Rolling Stones.
  • Michael Buble: Canadian singer.

Michael in Popular Culture

Many Michaels have made an impact on popular culture. Here are some of the significant Mikes.

  • Michael: Character in the The Good Place, played by Ted Danson.
  • Michel Bluth: Jason Bateman’s character in Arrested Development.
  • Michael Delfino: Secondary character in the television series Desperate Housewives, portrayed by James Denton.
  • Michael Kelso: Ashton Kutcher’s character on cult hit television show That ‘70s Show.
  • Michael “Squints” Palledorous: Bespectacled character portrayed by Chauncey Leopardi in The Sandlot.
  • Michael Scott: Main character in the American version of The Office, played by Steve Carell.
  • Mike Teavee: One of the children from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, played by Paris Themmen.
  • Mike Wazowski: Main character in the Pixar animated films including Monster’s Inc. and Monsters University, voiced by Billy Crystal.

Michael FAQs

You may still have questions about the name Michael. These frequently asked questions may shedmore light on this famous name.

Who is Michael in the Bible?

Michael is an archangel appearing in the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament and Revelation in the New Testament. Michael is a military commander of angels who protects Israel and fights the forces of evil.

What Does Michael Mean in the Quran?

Michael the archangel also appears in the Quran as bringing about God’s providence. Just as in Judeo-Christian texts, Michael is a force for good who protects others against evil.

Why is Michael Such a Popular Name?

Michael is a popular name because of its religious significance and how it rolls off the tongue in multiple languages.

Michael is often a family name that is passed down from generation to generation. The name also has a history of goodness and bravery, making it a popular name for boys and increasingly for girls as well.

Has Michael Influenced Last Names?

Certainly! Michael, Michaels, McMichael, and more are last names often found in England, Ireland, Canada, and the United States, starting in the early 1800s (3).

Is Michael a Saint?

Yes, St. Michael, the Archangel, is considered the patron saint of military and police forces because of his role as a military commander of angels and a protector of Israel. Michael is known for helping good triumph over evil.

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