Boy Names baby nameMichael

What does the name Michael mean?

The meaning of the name “Michael” is: “Who is like God?”.

Additional information: Michael is an extended form of Micha, a name of Hebrew origin, derived from the Hebrew name Mīkhā’ē‘l, from the question ‘מי כאל’, which means ‘Who is like God?’ It is used widely in the Bible for various characters, including one of the seven Archangels, closest to God and responsible for carrying out God's judgements and regarded as Saint. Also considered to be the field commander of the army, in Medieval period, and the patron saint of soldiers. The archangel Michael is the only archangel aside from Gabriel who is recognized by Christians, Jews, and Muslims.

As a biblical name, other names such as Gabriel, Matthew, Peter, and John are similar. The four most common nicknames for Michael are Mick, Mickey, Mike, and Mikey, and feminine names are based around variant spellings for Michaela (for example Mikki, Mikayla, and Michayla). The most common misspelling of Michael is ‘Micheal’, but others are ‘Michale’, ‘Micahel’, and ‘Michal’.

Michael has been an extremely popular name for boys in the USA since the end of World War Two, having never fallen out of the top ten since 1943 and sitting as the uncontested most popular name for boys in America from 1954 to 1998. Since 1998, however, its popularity has dipped to seventh in the USA, and 53rd in the UK. In 2012 it ranked number 8 in the USA. It is also a popular name worldwide, and in non-English speaking countries its foreign spellings are just as popular, including the Russian Михаи́л (Michael), the French Michel, and the Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish Mikael.

Michael was a popular name among many royal houses of Europe for centuries; this was also the name of nine Byzantine emperors and a czar of Russia. A lot of the name’s popularity can be attributed to two very famous Michaels being at the height of their respective careers at around the same time – Michael Jackson (musician) and Michael Jordan (basketball player). Other celebrities named Michael are Michael Douglas (actor), Michael J. Fox (actor), and Michael Faraday (scientist).

St Michael’s Mount, a small island off the coast of Cornwall, has been the subject of a number of myths, legends, and stories. Sailors from the fifth century would state that mermaids had lured them onto the rock, and others would say they had seen the patron saint of fishing, St Michael, standing on the island to guide them to safety. The island was also supposed to be the home of Cormoran the giant, the same giant from ‘Jack the Giant Killer’.