[ 2 syll. sa-muel, sam-u-el ] The baby boy name Samuel is pronounced in English as SAEM-YahL or SAEM-Yuw-ahL †. Samuel is an English, French, German, and Hebrew name of Hebrew origin. The name's meaning is God has heard; asked of God. The name could be derived from Shemuel (Hebrew) or Shmuel (Hebrew), of the elements 'shama' and 'el' (meaning God, powerful), or else as a contraction of the Hebrew 'shaul meel'. It was borne in the Bible by the prominent 11th century BC judge and prophet who gave his name to two books of the Old Testament; his mother stated that she had Samuel because she 'asked him of the Lord'. The name has traditionally been a Jewish name; it was later widely adopted by English Puritans in the 17th century. In Scotland, it is taken as an Anglicized form of the Gaelic Somhairle. The short form Sam is found in Uncle Sam, the personification of the United States (US); the term has been used since 1812. The name Samuela (English and Italian) is the female form of Samuel.
Samuel is a widely used name; it has 55 variants that are used in English and other languages. Variants used in English include Samael, Samaul, Samel, Sameul, Samiel, Sammea, Sammee, Sammel, Sammey, Sammi, Sammoel, Sammuel, Samoel, Samuele (also used in Italian), Samuell, Samuello, Samuelo, Samuka, Samule, Samwell, Sanko, Saumel, Sem, Simuel, Zamuel, and Zanvil. Other English forms include the short forms Sam and Shem (also used in Yiddish), the diminutive forms Sambo, Sammie, and Sammy, and the variant spelling Samual.
Foreign variants of Samuel include Kamuela (Hawaiian), Safwyl (Welsh), Samaru (Japanese), Samko (Czech), Samo (Czech), Samouel (Greek), Samoyla (Russian), Samuelis (Lithuanian), Samuil (Russian and Slavic), Samuli (Finnish), Samuru (Japanese), Samvel (Russian), Samy (French), Sawel (Welsh), Sawyl (Welsh), Schmuel (Yiddish), Shemuel (Yiddish), Shmuel (Hebrew), Simão (Portuguese), Somhairle (Irish), and Zamiel (German). Specific foreign variants include the diminutive forms Sami (Finnish and Hungarian) and Samu (Hungarian).
Samuel is very popular as a baby name for boys. The name's popularity rose from the 1960s up to the 2000s. Its usage peaked in 2001 with 0.715% of baby boys being given the name Samuel. It ranked at #26 then. The baby name has since experienced a loss in popularity. In 2018, its usage was 0.505% and its ranking #21, but it was nonetheless the most popular among all boy names in its group. In 2018, 22 times more boys were named Samuel than the subsequent ranked name, Sam.
† Pronunciation for Samuel: S as in "see (S.IY)" ; AE as in "at (AE.T)" ; M as in "me (M.IY)" ; Y as in "you (Y.UW)" ; AH as in "mud (M.AH.D)" ; UW as in "two (T.UW)" ; L as in "lay (L.EY)"
Details of famous persons named Samuel:
Actor Samuel L. Jackson, born 21 December 1948.
Artist Samuel F. B. Morse, born Samuel Finley Breese Morse, 27 April 1791 - 2 April 1872, Charlestown, Massachusetts.
Author Samuel Beckett, born 13 April 1906 - 22 December 1989, Dublin, Ireland.
Author Samuel R. Delany, born 1 April 1942, New York, New York.
Author Samuel Johnson, born 18 September 1709 - 13 December 1784, Lichfield, England.
Author Samuel Pepys, born 23 February 1633 - 16 May 1703, London, England.
Inventor Samuel Colt, born 19 July 1814 - 10 January 1862, Hartford, Connecticut.
Lawyer Samuel Alito, born Samuel Anthony Alito, Jr., 1 April 1950, Trenton, New Jersey.
Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, born 21 October 1772 - 25 July 1834, Devonshire, England.