Paul (given name)

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StPaul ElGreco.jpg
Pronunciation /pɔːl/
French: [pɔl]
German: [ˈpaʊl]
Dutch: [ˈpʌu̯l]
Gender Male
Name day April 29
Meaning "Humble"; "scarce"; "rare"; "small"

Paul /pɔːl/ (About this sound listen) is a common masculine given name in countries and ethnicities with a Christian heritage (Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Protestantism) and, beyond Europe, in Christian religious communities throughout the world. Paul – or its variations – can be a given name or surname.

Origin and diffusion[edit]

The name has existed since Roman times. It derives from the Roman family name Paulus or Paullus, from the Latin adjective meaning "small" or "humble".[1][2] During the Classical Age it was used to distinguish the minor of two people of the same family bearing the same name. The Roman patrician family of the Gens Aemilia included such prominent persons as Lucius Aemilius Paullus, Lucius Aemilius Paullus Macedonicus, Lucius Aemilius Lepidus Paullus, Tertia Aemilia Paulla (the wife of Scipio Africanus), and Sergius Paulus.

Its prevalence in nations with a Christian heritage is primarily due to its attachment to Saint Paul the Apostle, whose Greek name was Παῦλος, Paûlos, a transliteration from the Latin, also carrying the "modest" meaning of this name, and possibly chosen because of its similarity to his Jewish name Šaul. The name Paul is common, with variations, in all European languages (e.g. English, French, Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, Italian, German, Dutch, Scandinavian, Greek, Russian, Georgian).

Paul's popularity has varied. In the United States, the 1990 census shows it ranked the 13th most common (male) name;[3] however, Social Security Administration data shows popularity in the top 20 until 1968, with steadily declining use until its 2015 rank of 200th.[4]

The feminine versions are Paula, Pauline, Paulina, and Paulette.


Notable examples[edit]

Below are Pauls who are notable in their fields. This is not a comprehensive list of articles on people named Paul; see instead All pages beginning with Paul.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Name Paul - Origin and Meaning of Paul". Male & Female Names. Igor Katsev. 2013. Retrieved February 10, 2017.
  2. ^ "The Name Paulus - Origin and Meaning of Paulus". Male & Female Names. Igor Katsev. 2013. Retrieved February 10, 2017.
  3. ^ "Genealogy Data: Frequently Occurring Surnames from Census 1990 – Names Files",, U.S. Census Bureau, December 29, 2009, archived from the original on March 27, 2010
  4. ^ "Popularity of a Name: Popularity of name Paul". Social Security. Social Security Administration. Retrieved February 10, 2017.