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For other uses, see Michael (disambiguation).
Pronunciation /ˈmkəl/
Gender Male
Word/name Hebrew: מִיכָאֵל / מיכאל‎ (Mikha'el)
Meaning "Who is like God?"[1]
Other names
Nickname(s) Mike, Mick, Mikey, Mickey, Mickie, Mic
Related names Michel, Michaela, Michelle, Michele, Mickie, Miguel, Mike, Mikey, Mitch, Mitchell, Mitchel, Mikhail, Mykhaylo

Michael /ˈmkəl/ is a male given name that comes from the Hebrew: מִיכָאֵל / מיכאל‎ (Mīkhāʼēl, pronounced [miχaˈʔel]), derived from the question מי כאל mī kāʼēl) meaning "Who is like God?"[1] (literally, "Who is like El?). In English, it is sometimes shortened to Mike, Mikey, Mickey, or Mick.

Female forms of Michael include Michèle, Michelle, Michaela, Mechelle, Micheline, and Michaelle, although Michael is occasionally seen as a female name, with women named Michael including the actresses Michael Learned and Michael Michele. Another form is Mychal, which can either be a male or female name.

Surnames that come from Michael include Carmichael, Dimichele, MacMichael, McMichael, Micallef, Michaelson, Mikkelsen, Mikhaylov, Mykhaylenko, Michaels, Michels, and Mitchell.


The name first appears in the Hebrew Bible, Numbers 13:13, where Sethur the son of Michael is one of twelve spies sent into the Land of Canaan. The Archangel Michael, referred to later in the Hebrew Bible (Daniel 12:1), and in the Qur'an named Mikhail. He is considered a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, and for the Roman Catholic Church, twenty-nine September is the feast day of the three archangels: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. For the Eastern Orthodox Church, eight November is the day of the two archangels, Michael and Gabriel, and of the rest of the Angels.


Michael is a popular given name in the United States, and has been in the top three most popular names given to male babies in the U.S. for each year since 1953, only falling out of the top 5 in 2011 for the first time since 1949.[2] It is in the top 100 most popular boys' names in England and Wales.[3] The name has been popular in Orthodox Christian countries, and was borne by several rulers of the Byzantine, Bulgarian and Russian Empires. In recent years, Michael has been the most popular name in the Philippines,[4] the second most popular name in Finland (Mikael)[5] and ranks among the top ten names in Denmark (Mikkel)[5] and Ireland (Mícheál).[6] It is the 23rd most popular name in Canada,[7] and the 37th most popular in Mexico (in the form of "Miguel").[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Campbell, Michael Behind the Name: The Etymology and History of First Names
  2. ^ "SSA: Popular Baby Names". Social Security Online. Office of the Chief Actuary of the United States Social Security Administration. 4 January 2007. Retrieved 2 February 2007. 
  3. ^ National Statistics Online - Top 100 names for baby boys in England and Wales
  4. ^ "Philippine Names". Aboutnames.ch. Retrieved 27 December 2011. 
  5. ^ a b The World's Most Popular Names[dead link]
  6. ^ Central Statistics Office Ireland. Top 25 Babies' Names for Boys
  7. ^ "Popular Baby Names in Canada". Perfect-baby-names.com. 22 February 1999. Retrieved 27 December 2011. 
  8. ^ Nombres más Comunes 2005[dead link]