Israel

First Name
59k
in the U.S.
since 1880
Last Name
10k
in the U.S.
in 2010
Girls
Boys
First
Last
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How to Pronounce Israel

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Meaning and Origin

What does the name Israel mean? Find out below.

Origin and Meaning of Israel

"Israel" is a name of Hebrew origin, and it means "Wrestled with God". It's a name commonly given to boys.

Other Dictionary Sources
  1. An ancient kingdom of the Hebrew tribes at the southeastern end of the Mediterranean Sea; founded by Saul around 1025 BC and destroyed by the Assyrians in 721 BC
  2. Jewish republic in southwestern Asia at eastern end of Mediterranean; formerly part of Palestine
Wiktionary

From Middle English Israel, from Old English, borrowed from Latin Israel, from Ancient Greek Ἰσραήλ (Israḗl), from Hebrew יִשְׂרָאֵל (yisra'él, “Israel”). In the Bible, it is said to be from the name יִשְׂרֶה אֵל (yisré 'él) given to Jacob in Genesis 32:29, after which his descendants came to be known as Israelites and their land as the "kingdom/land of Israel". The personal name, already attested in Eblaite and Ugaritic texts, has been variously translated as "he wrestles with God", "he prevails with God", or "God rules" (possibly from the same root ש־ר־ה/ש־ר־ר as שָׂרָה (“Sarah”)).

Line 27 of the Merneptah Stele (from about 1200 BCE) is thought to contain the earliest attestation of the name Israel in any language, Egyptian ysrj3r (although alternative readings have been proposed, such as Jezreel):

  1. The State of Israel, a modern country in the Middle East, at the eastern shore of the Mediterranean.
  2. The Land of Israel, a region that is roughly coextensive with the State of Israel.
  3. (historical) An ancient kingdom that occupied roughly the same area in ancient times.
  4. (historical) An ancient kingdom that occupied the northern part of this area, as distinct from Judah.
  5. The Jews, taken collectively.
  6. A male given name, notably borne by Jacob (after Genesis 32:28).

Israel was also found in the following language(s): Asturian, Catalan, Finnish, German, Latin, Norwegian Bokmål, Norwegian Nynorsk, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Swedish, and Tagalog

Notable Persons Named Israel

Irving Berlin was a broadway musicals, revues, show tunes, broadway theatre, revue, and show tune songwriter, composer, and lyricist. He was most prominent from 1907 to 1971. Irving was given the name Israel Isidore Baline on May 11th, 1888 in Tyumen. He passed away on September 22nd, 1989.

Popularity:

Lee Strasberg was an actor, director, acting teacher, and theatre director. His most notable accomplishments were from 1925 to 1981. Lee was given the name Israel Strassberg on November 17th, 1901 in Budaniv. He died on February 17th, 1982.

Popularity:

Israel Houghton is a contemporary christian music, gospel music, and contemporary worship music singing, songwriter, record producer, and arrangement. He plays Guitar, Keyboard instrument, Rhodes piano, and Vocals. He has had major accomplishments since 1997. Israel was born on May 19th, 1971 in Oceanside, California, U.S. Israel is also known as Israel & New Breed.

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Ira Gershwin was a popular music and classical music lyricist. His most notable accomplishments were from 1910 to 1980. Ira was given the name Israel Gershowitz on December 6th, 1896 in New York City, New York, U.S. Ira is also known as Israel Gershvin and Arthur Francis. He died on August 17th, 1983.

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Israel was born on January 7th, 1978 in Richmond, Utah, U.S. He breathed his last breath on December 2nd, 2012.

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Israel was born on April 3rd, 1989 in Australia. Israel is also known as Folay and Isileli (Tongan).

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Notable Persons With the Last Name Israel

Steve Israel is a Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Chairman of theDemocratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Steve was born on May 30th, 1958 in Brooklyn.

Popularity:

Lee Israel was an author and biographer. Lee was given the name Leonore Carol Israel on December 24th, 1939 in New York City, New York, U.S. Lee is also known as Israel, Leonore; Israel, and Lenore. She breathed her last breath on December 24th, 2014.

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Mel Allen was an american sportscaster, sports commentator, and americansportscaster. Mel was given the name Melvin Allen Israel on February 14th, 1913 in Birmingham, Alabama. He left this life on June 16th, 1996.

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Samuel was born on July 20th, 1959 in Louisiana.

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Al was born on April 16th, 1935. He passed away on March 16th, 2011.

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Menasseh Ben Israel was a rabbi. Menasseh was born in 1604 in Madeira. He passed away on November 20th, 1657.

Popularity:

How popular is the baby name Israel in the U.S.?

Click Here to Show Chart Data
Year Total Babies Born Girls Born Boys Born
1880 17 0 17
1881 23 0 23
1882 22 0 22
1883 18 0 18
1884 25 0 25
1885 22 0 22
1886 17 0 17
1887 15 0 15
1888 23 0 23
1889 20 0 20
1890 18 0 18
1891 18 0 18
1892 20 0 20
1893 14 0 14
1894 12 0 12
1895 15 0 15
1896 27 0 27
1897 11 0 11
1898 17 0 17
1899 12 0 12
1900 20 0 20
1901 14 0 14
1902 24 0 24
1903 14 0 14
1904 30 0 30
1905 19 0 19
1906 19 0 19
1907 19 0 19
1908 24 0 24
1909 27 0 27
1910 29 0 29
1911 40 0 40
1912 75 0 75
1913 116 0 116
1914 100 0 100
1915 137 0 137
1916 120 0 120
1917 143 0 143
1918 162 0 162
1919 129 0 129
1920 135 0 135
1921 142 0 142
1922 162 0 162
1923 118 0 118
1924 105 0 105
1925 103 0 103
1926 94 0 94
1927 99 0 99
1928 73 0 73
1929 79 0 79
1930 101 0 101
1931 73 0 73
1932 66 0 66
1933 74 0 74
1934 73 0 73
1935 80 0 80
1936 80 0 80
1937 70 0 70
1938 84 0 84
1939 75 0 75
1940 73 0 73
1941 84 0 84
1942 65 0 65
1943 90 0 90
1944 82 0 82
1945 82 0 82
1946 107 0 107
1947 112 0 112
1948 123 0 123
1949 146 0 146
1950 142 0 142
1951 176 5 171
1952 177 0 177
1953 187 0 187
1954 162 0 162
1955 189 0 189
1956 198 0 198
1957 180 0 180
1958 227 0 227
1959 218 0 218
1960 232 0 232
1961 233 0 233
1962 230 0 230
1963 223 0 223
1964 242 0 242
1965 260 0 260
1966 292 0 292
1967 277 6 271
1968 334 0 334
1969 357 0 357
1970 424 0 424
1971 475 5 470
1972 492 6 486
1973 481 7 474
1974 528 0 528
1975 539 9 530
1976 570 5 565
1977 638 8 630
1978 598 8 590
1979 701 14 687
1980 679 16 663
1981 604 10 594
1982 644 8 636
1983 597 7 590
1984 599 10 589
1985 598 0 598
1986 616 0 616
1987 621 7 614
1988 665 11 654
1989 759 0 759
1990 807 15 792
1991 869 21 848
1992 935 33 902
1993 931 19 912
1994 993 34 959
1995 1,006 32 974
1996 1,088 24 1,064
1997 1,191 23 1,168
1998 1,324 46 1,278
1999 1,305 36 1,269
2000 1,422 38 1,384
2001 1,377 37 1,340
2002 1,328 31 1,297
2003 1,398 32 1,366
2004 1,665 32 1,633
2005 1,694 40 1,654
2006 1,957 33 1,924
2007 1,993 58 1,935
2008 1,876 49 1,827
2009 1,809 33 1,776
2010 1,664 39 1,625
2011 1,645 36 1,609
2012 1,479 33 1,446
2013 1,515 46 1,469
2014 1,589 58 1,531
2015 1,631 60 1,571
2016 1,714 51 1,663

Explain the Trends

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Where is the name Israel popular?

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Popularity of Israel as a first name

The map shows the relative popularity of the name Israel as a first name in each of the states. See other popular names in Texas, Arizona, or New Mexico.

Popularity of Israel as a last name

The map shows the absolute popularity of the name Israel as a last name in each of the states. See other popular names in New York, California, or North Carolina.

Common last names for Israel

  • Cohen
  • Rodriguez
  • Rivera
  • Gonzalez
  • Perez
  • Goldberg
  • Hernandez
  • Miller
  • Goldstein
  • Martinez
  • Katz
  • Friedman
  • Levine
  • Rubin
  • Kaplan
  • Williams

Ethnicity Distribution

Ethnicity Israel U.S.
  White 70.01% 64.26%
  African American 19.64% 11.96%
  Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander 3.13% 4.85%
  American Indian and Alaska Native 0.85% 0.69%
  Two or More Ethnicities 1.80% 1.76%
  Hispanic or Latino 4.57% 16.26%

Of Last Name Israel

People with the last name Israel are most frequently White or African American

Entire United States

Fun Facts about the name Israel

  • How Popular is the name Israel? Israel is the 888th most popular name of all time. As a last name Israel was the 3,488th most popular name in 2010.
  • How many people with the first name Israel have been born in the United States? From 1880 to 2016, the Social Security Administration has recorded 59,046 babies born with the first name Israel in the United States. That's more than enough people named Israel to occupy the territory of Greenland (Denmark) with an estimated population of 56,749 (as of January 1, 2012).
  • What year were 5 or more babies first named Israel? The name was first given to 5 or more babies in the year 1880 when it was given as a first name to 17 new born babies.
  • When was Israel first recorded in the United States? The oldest recorded birth by the Social Security Administration for the first name Israel is Saturday, August 3rd, 1867.
  • What year had the most people named Israel born? The highest recorded use of the first name Israel was in 2007 with a total of 1,935 babies. That's a lot of babies named Israel!
  • Random Israel Factoid: According to the 2010 U.S. Social Security Administration data, the first name Israel ranks 96th in popularity as a baby boy's name in New Mexico. Imagine that, 28 babies in New Mexico have the same name as you in 2010.
  • Weird things about the name Israel: Your name in reverse order is Learsi. A random rearrangement of the letters in your name (anagram) will give Leisra. How do you pronounce that?
  • How many people have the last name Israel? In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau surveyed 10,245 people with the last name Israel.
  • How likely are you to meet someone with the last name of Israel? If you manage to meet 100,000 people in your life, chances are that 3 of them will have Israel as their last name.

What Israels Have Visited This Page?

Name poster for Israel

Name poster for Israel(click to save the high quality version)

Most Popular Names

All Name Lists

  • Sources:
  • U.S. Census Bureau: Frequently Occurring Surnames from the Census 2000 (public domain).
  • U.S. Social Security Administration: Popular Baby Names, Death Master File (public domain).
  • Other Dictionary Sources: WordNet 3.1 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University (License).
  • Wiktionary: Titles and License.
  • Notable persons via Wikipedia: Titles and License. Click each image for the attribution information.