When you shop through links on our site, we may receive compensation. This educational content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.

Stephen Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

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

Stephen Overview

  • Meaning: Stephen means “wreath” or “crown.”
  • Gender: Stephen is a more common name for boys.
  • Origin: Stephen is an English name that traces back to Ancient Greek word roots.
  • Pronunciation: “STEE-vin“
  • Popularity: Stephen is a popular name in the United States and is in the top 500 most popular names for baby boys.
  • Nicknames: Stav, Stef, Steff, Steph, Stev, Steve, Stevey, Stevie, Stevy, Ven, and Venie.
  • Variations: Esteban, Estefan, Estevan, Etienne, Staffan, Steba, Steben, Stephan, Stefano, Steffan, Steffen, Steffon, Stephan, Stephano, Stephanos, and Steven.
  • Namesakes: Stephen Baldwin, Stephen Colbert, Stephen Curry.

What Does Stephen Mean?

Stephen is a beautiful and classic name. It comes from Old English and has origins going back to Ancient Greece. The name Stephen means wreath or crown.

The meaning of the name Stephen relates to the Greek word stephein, a verb that means to encircle (1). In Ancient Greece, they crowned contest winners with laurel wreaths. Therefore, the meaning of Stephen is related to honor, fame, and rewards.

Although the etymology of Stephen is related to wreaths and crowns, the contemporary meaning is more strongly associated with the Christian martyr, Saint Stephen. Stephen was a Christian deacon in the first century and is considered the first Christian martyr (2).

Since most people name their children Stephen due to the Christian cultural influence, the name has become strongly associated with bravery, leadership, and self-sacrifice.

What is the Origin of the Name Stephen?

The name Stephen is an Old English name, and it comes from the Ancient Greek name Stephanos, which means wreath or crown. Stephanos was the name of Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr. Stephen, or Stephanos, had a Greek name because he was a Hellenized Jew who later converted to Christianity.

After Stephanos became a renowned martyr and saint, the name gained popularity in Christian culture. When Latin became a more dominant language in Christianity, the name became the Latinized version, Stephanus.

In Old English, Stephanus translated to Stephen. Originally this name was mostly used for monks and other extremely devout Christians. However, since the Christian conquest era, the name Stephen became common for any Christian. Today, the name remains relatively popular in cultures where Christianity is prevalent.

How Popular is the Name Stephen?

Stephen is a popular name for boys in the United States. For over a hundred years, the name Stephen has remained within the top 500 most popular baby names in the United States (3).

Stephen’s biggest peak in popularity in the last century was from 1949 to 1951, when it was the nineteenth most popular name in the United States for baby boys. Although the name’s popularity has gradually declined, it has remained relatively popular.

How Do I Pronounce Stephen?

Stephen is pronounced like “STEE-vin.” It should rhyme with the word even.

Is Stephen a Boy or Girl Name?

Stephen is traditionally a name for boys. It is far more popular as a boy’s name than as a girl’s name, and the most famous namesake for Stephen, Saint Stephen, was a man.

However, naming practices change over time, and people today are much more creative with gendered names than in the past. With that in mind, it is quite possible that there will be more girls named Stephen or some variation thereof in the future.

Variations of Stephen

Stephen is a common name in many cultures. Some variations of Stephen include:

  • Esteban (Spanish)
  • Estefan (Greek)
  • Estevan (Spanish)
  • Etienne (French)
  • Staffan (Scandinavian)
  • Steba (Greek)
  • Steben (Greek)
  • Stephan (Scandinavian)
  • Stefano (Greek)
  • Steffan (Scandinavian)
  • Steffen (Scandinavian)
  • Steffon (Scandinavian)
  • Stephan (Greek)
  • Stephano (Greek)
  • Stephanos (Greek)
  • Steven (English)

Nicknames for Stephen

Since Stephen is an old name, people have had plenty of time to develop good nicknames. Nicknames for Stephen include:

  • Stav
  • Stef
  • Steff
  • Steph
  • Stev
  • Steve
  • Stevey
  • Stevie
  • Stevy
  • Ven
  • Venie

Similar Names to Stephen

If you are trying to think of more names like Stephen, consider names with similar sounds and aesthetics. Some ideas for similar names to Stephen include:

  • Samuel
  • Sawyer
  • Scott
  • Seaborn
  • Shawn
  • Sheldon
  • Shepherd
  • Sherman
  • Simpson
  • Sinclair
  • Spencer
  • Stanley
  • Sully
  • Swanson
  • Sylvester

Middle Names for Stephen

Simple, classic names work well as middle names for Stephen. Some examples of good middle names for Stephen are:

Sibling Names for Stephen

Many names work well for siblings to Stephen. One approach is to think of other traditional names from Christian culture.

Names for a Brother

Ideas for names for a brother include:

Names for a Sister

Ideas for names for a sister include:

Famous People Named Stephen

The most famous person named Stephen is Saint Stephen. Other famous people named Stephen include:

  • Stephen Baldwin: American actor.
  • Stephen Colbert: Comedian and late-night host.
  • Stephen Curry: Basketball player.
  • Stephen Fry: Actor.
  • Stephen Graham: English actor.
  • Stephen Hawking: Physicist.
  • Stephen Irwin: Australian naturalist.
  • Stephen King: American writer.
  • Stephen Martin: Actor and comedian.
  • Stephen Sondheim: Composer.
  • Stephen Wozniak: Co-founder of Apple, Inc.

Stephen in Popular Culture.

Stephen is a common name in fiction. Examples include:

  • Stephen Dedalus: Main character in “A Portrait of a Young Man” by James Joyce.
  • Stephen Stotch: Character in South Park.
  • Stephen Strange: Dr. Strange from the Marvel Universe.

Stephen FAQs

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the name Stephen.

What Is the Spiritual Meaning of the Name Stephen?

Although the literal meaning of the name Stephen is wreath or crown, it is commonly associated with Saint Stephen. Saint Stephen is the first martyr of the Christian Church.

Is the Name Stephen in the Bible?

The name Stephen appears in the Bible. Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr, is mentioned several times in Acts of the Apostles, a book in the Christian New Testament.

Is It Steven or Stephen?

Steven and Stephen are both correct spellings of the name. Stephen is an older version of the name and comes from Old English. Steven is a popular spelling of the name in American English.

Feedback: Was This Article Helpful?
Thank You For Your Feedback!
Thank You For Your Feedback!
What Did You Like?
What Went Wrong?