- this week

Gender: Male Meaning of Ishmael: "God will hear" Origin of Ishmael: Hebrew

The name Ishmael is a boy's name of Hebrew, Spanish origin meaning "God will hear". Ishmael and is often added to lists like Bible Names for Boys and discussed in our forums with posts like "Quick Question Thread?!".

From the experts:

Ishmael is most familiar through "Call me Ishmael," the opening line spoken by the youthful narrator of Moby-Dick. Few American parents have followed that advice, though the Spanish and Arabic spelling, Ismael, ranks at Number 362. With its warm and pleasant sound, though, we could see Ishmael tagging along behind Isaiah and Isaac.

In the Bible, Ishmael was Abraham's first son by the Egyptian maidservant Hagar, who was told by God to name him Ishmael. In Islamic tradition, Ishmael (or Ismail) is believed to have been the ancestor of the Arabs.

Ishmael Bush is one of the main characters in James Fenimore Cooper's novel The Prairie, and there is an Ismael in the Lemony Snicket book, The End. Some notable real-life bearers are novelist and poet Ishmael Reed and Indian-born film producer Ismail Merchant.

Find other names based on Ishmael using our baby name generator.

Famous People Named Ishmael

Ishmael, son of Abraham; half brother of Isaac
Ishmael, son of Azel, descendant of King Saul's son, Jonathan ( 1 Chr. 8:38)
Ishmael, father of Zebadiah the ruler of the house of Judah (2 Chr. 19:11)
Ishmael, son of Nethaniah, son of Elishama, Judean royalty and captain (2 Kings 25:23, 25)
Ishmael, captain of hundreds, son of Jehohanan (2 Chr. 23:1)
Ishmael, who took a foreign wife; of the sons of Pashur (Ezra 10:22)
Ishmael Scott Reed, American poet and novelist
Ishmael Anthony Miller, British footballer
Ishmael Houston-Jones, American dancer and choreographer
Ishmael Bernal, Filipino film director
Ishmael Beah, Sierra Leonean former child soldier and human rights activist

Pop Culture References for the name Ishmael

Ishmael, narrator of Herman Melville's "Moby Dick"
Ishmael, character in film "Kingpin"
Ishmael, book by Daniel Quinn about a telepathic gorilla named Ishmael
Ishmael, character in A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

Ishmael's International Variations

Melito, Ysmael, Isamel, Esmael, Ismael, Ishmael (Spanish) Ichmaël, Ismaël, Ismâïl (French) Ismeal, Ismeil, Ismail (Arabic)