Samuel means "God heard" or "name of God," and is a Hebrew name from the Bible. The story goes that Samuel's mother, a woman named Hannah, was struggling to conceive. She prayed in the temple for God to give her a child, and a priest overheard. He told her that her prayer would be answered but that her son must be given to the temple in service of God once he was weaned.
Samuel would become a prophet who played a major role in the Old Testament of the Bible, selecting Saul as the first king of Israel and anointing David as king in Saul's place. This is perhaps the oldest account of this given name.
In ancient history, Samuel is a name that was given to an emperor of the First Bulgarian Empire who ruled from 997 to 1014 A.D., the third king of Hungary who ruled in the 2nd century, and Samuel of Nehardea, an important teacher in ancient Judaism. In American history, Samuel was the name of the founding father Samuel Adams and the author Samuel Clemons, better known by his pen name Mark Twain.
It probably isn't surprising, then, to learn this name has earned popularity around the world. It is prevalent in most English-speaking countries and throughout Europe and Africa. Since it's used around the world, pronunciations vary, including "sam-yoo-ehl," "sam-yehl," and "sam-mwehl." The most common nicknames are Sam and Sammy.
Samuel is a name that has come to be associated with innovative and creative thinkers, leaders, and trailblazers thanks to the long line of authors, inventors, kings, and founding fathers who have shared this name.
Samuel has been a top 100 baby name in the United States since at least 1900, according to the Social Security Administration. It has fluctuated some in the past century, but never dipped below number 91, and peaked at number 21 in 2018, proving that the name has staying power even in modern times.
Samuel is typically a boy's name, though there are a few girls born in the United States each year who are named Samuel or Sam. Samantha may be a feminine variant of Samuel.
With a history that's thousands of years old, Samuel has established itself as a baby boy's name that is isn't disappearing anytime soon.
Samuel Adams : Founding father of the United States
Samuel Alito, Jr. : U.S. Supreme Court justice
Samuel Beckett : Irish author known for his novels Molloy, Malone Dies, and Murphy
Samuel Clemons : Birth name of the American author Mark Twain
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor : English composer
Samuel Colt : Inventor known for his contributions in firearm manufacturing
Samuel L. Jackson : Actor and producer known for his roles in Pulp Fiction and Django Unchained
Samuel F.B. Morse : Co-developer of Morse code
Samuel Sewall : Massachusetts judge best known for his role in the Salem witch trials
Samuel Walton : Founder of Walmart
Sam Cooke : African-American musician known as the "King of Soul"
Sammy Hagar : American musician known for his time as rock band Van Halen's lead singer
Samuel L. Jackson : actor
Samuel Beckett : author
Samuel Pollock : hockey player
Samuel Barber : composer
Samuel Butler : author
Samuel Crompton : inventor
Samuel de Champlain : explorer