Joshua is a short form of the Hebrew name Yehoshua. The "yeho" element of this name refers to Yahweh (the Hebrew name for God), and the "shua" portion refers to salvation, so the two elements combined are interpreted as meaning "Yahweh is salvation."
Yehoshua also happens to be the root of the name Jesus, along with other Joshua-equivalents such as Giosue (used in Italian), Iokua (Hawaiian), Josue (Spanish & French), Jozsua (Hungarian), Jozua (Dutch) and Yushua (Arabic).
Currently the 4th most popular baby boy name in the U.S., Joshua had ranked 3rd from 2002 through 2006. It's been a top ten name since 1979, and a top 100 name since 1971. (Up until the early 1960s, Joshua had been only moderately popular.) It is also popular in other English-speaking regions such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Other forms of the name have ranked in the U.S. as well. For instance, Josh has been a top-1,000 name since 1960, and ranked intermittently even before that point. Spelling variant Joshuah ranked twice in the 1980s. And Spanish form Josue has been in the top 1,000 since the early 1970s. (It's currently in the top 200 and still climbing.)
Which famous people have had the name Joshua? They include...
- Sir Joshua Reynolds (b. 1723), English painter
- Joshua L. Chamberlain (b. 1828), professor, army general, and Governor of Maine
- Joshua Gibson (b. 1911), American baseball player
- Yehoshua (Joshua) Sobol (b. 1939), Israeli playwright
- Joshua Aaron Fishman (b. 1926), American sociologist and linguist
- Josh Brolin (b. 1968), American actor
- Joshua Jackson (b. 1978), American actor
- Josh Hartnett (b. 1978), American actor
- Joshua Howard (b. 1980), American basketball player
- Josh Groban (b. 1981), American singer and pianist
Joshua is also featured in the common name of a certain species desert yucca tree, the Joshua Tree. ("Joshua Tree" has, in turn, been featured in the name of towns, parks, films and songs.)
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