Baby Boy Name: Daniel

The classic name has cross-cultural appeal and staying power.

Sleeping baby boy
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Wondering what the baby boy name Daniel means?

Most of us know the name Daniel from the famous Biblical story of Daniel and the Lion's Den. Daniel is a Hebrew name which means, "God is my judge," and was the name of an important figure in the Old Testament. In the book of Daniel, he was a prophet who lived during the Jewish captivity in Babylon, where he rose to prominence in the royal court by interpreting the king's dreams.

The book of Daniel describes him as an honorable servant of God. Because he was so faithful to his god and not the king, the story goes, the leaders tried to kill Daniel by putting him in a den of lions to be eaten--but Daniel survives. 

The name Daniel was common during the Middle Ages, but then waned in usage. The Protestant Reformation ignited popularity for the name once again, and Daniel has become a name that seems to have staying power. With such a formidable backstory, Daniel is an intriguing choice for parents who want their baby to have a name with some religious meaning behind it.

Daniel has proven popular across cultures, with varied spellings in other languages. Since 1921, Daniel has stayed within the top 50 on the Social Security Administration's list of popular baby names.

Currently, Daniel is enjoying his highest point of popularity. He's pretty much been dancing within the top 10 baby names for nearly every year since 1981, and ranked No.

10 in 2014. Because Daniel has been a force for such a long period, he holds a spot on the Top 100 Names of the Past Century.

Pronunciation of Daniel Varies by Language

In English, Daniel is pronounced in 2 syllables with emphasis on the first, DAN-yul. However, several other languages can vary to 3 syllables or placing emphasis on the last syllable.

Some different pronunciations include:

  • dah-nee-EL (Hebrew)
  • dan-YEL (French)
  • DAH-nee-el (German

Nicknames and other Versions of Daniel

Common nicknames for Daniel are Danny and Dan. Neil might be considered an option as well. There are also the feminine versions of Daniel, for girls, including the popular Danielle and Daniela.

Sibling Name Suggestions:

If you are trying to pick the perfect sibling name to pair with the name Daniel, you might look for inspiration from other Old Testament or Biblical names. For a sister, that could include Elizabeth, Judith, Rachel or Rebecca. For a brother, options include Adam, Benjamin, Jonah, and Noah.

Famous People Named Daniel

The name Daniel has been around a long while, and as such, has been a pick for many well-known figures in history and modern-era popular culture.

Pioneer Daniel Boone was famous for his exploration and settlement of parts of what's now the state of Kentucky. Daniel Webster was an American politician who served two terms as Secretary of State.

Dan Aykroyd is a Canadian comic actor known for his roles in The Blues Brothers and Ghostbusters. Dan Castellaneta is an American voice actor, best known as the voice of Homer and several other characters on the long-running TV show The Simpsons.

Daniel Day-Lewis is an Academy Award-winning English actor known for his roles in the films My Left Foot, Lincoln and In the Name of the Father. And Daniel Radcliffe is an English actor best known for starring as Harry in the Harry Potter film series.

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