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The Name Joe Finally Gets Presidential

November 7, 2020 Pamela Redmond
name Joe

Thanks to President-elect Joe Biden, the name Joe has finally joined the elite roster of presidents’ names.

Joe might be the ultimate friendly, down-to-earth, good guy name, and one of the most popular boy names for all of American history.

But unlike its fellow traditional, perennially popular boys’ names, Joe has until now never reached the highest office in the land. Today’s election of President Joe Biden changes all that.

Joe is usually short for Joseph, always in the US Top 25. In fact last year, Joseph dipped to its lowest point ever, Number 24. We probably all know someone named Joseph or Joe, or several someones. It’s a name that crosses class, cultural, religious, and yes, even political boundaries.

Joseph is a derivation of the Hebrew Yosef via the Greek and Latin Ioseph, meaning “he will increase.” Joseph is a figure in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, which makes it an appropriate choice for both Christians and Jews, though the best-known biblical Joseph was the carpenter and husband of the Virgin Mary who acted as Jesus‘s earthly father.

Joseph‘s international forms include the Italian Giuseppe, the Spanish Jose, the Dutch Joop, and the Maori Hohepa.

Feminine forms of Joseph include Josephine, Josepha, Josie, and Josette. While Joanne and Joanna, and of course short forms Jo or Josie, have been used to honor ancestral Josephs or get to short form Jo, those names actually derive from John.

Joe can also be a cup of Joe, G.I. Joe, Joe Cool, Joe Exotic, Joe Camel, Average Joe, and in another election, Joe the plumber, standing in for the average voter.

President-elect Joe Biden, who is always called Joe, was born Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr.. His grandfather as well as his father were also named Joseph. Robinette was his paternal grandmother’s maiden name.

Joe joins the long list of presidential names, both widely-used with the general populace as well as unusual. They are:

James (6): James Madison, James Monroe, James Polk, James Buchanan, and James Garfield and, yes, James EarlJimmyCarter

William (4): William Henry Harrison, William McKinley, William Howard Taft, and William Jefferson Clinton.

John (4): John Adams, John Quincy Adams, John Tyler and John Fitzgerald Kennedy

George (3): George Washington, George Bush, George W. Bush.

Andrew (2): Andrew Jackson and Andrew Johnson

Franklin (2): Franklin Pierce and Franklin D. Roosevelt

Joe/Joseph now takes its place among unique presidential first names:

About the author

Pamela Redmond

Pamela Redmond is the cocreator and CEO of Nameberry. The coauthor of ten bestselling baby name books, Redmond is an internationally-recognized name expert, quoted and published widely in such media outlets as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Today Show,, CNN, and the BBC. Redmond is also a New York Times bestselling novelist whose books include Younger, the basis for the hit television show, and its new sequel, Older.

View all of Pamela Redmond's articles

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