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

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 Princess Michael of Kent and 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.

Judaism and Christianity[edit]

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), is considered a saint by the Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church. 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]

Forms across languages[edit]

LanguageFull formsDiminutive formsFeminine forms
Arabicميخائيل، ميشالميشو
ArmenianMikael, MiqaelMika, Miko
Mandarin麦克,迈克 (Màikè, Màikě)
EnglishMichael, MitchellMike, Mikey, Mickey, Mick, MitchMichelle, Michaela, Michael
FinnishMikko, MikaelMikkeMikaela
FrenchMichel, MickaëlMichèle
Georgianმიხეილი (Mikheil)
GermanMichaelMicha, MichiMichaela
GreekΜιχαήλ (Michaíl or Mihaíl), Μιχάλης (Michális or Mihális)Μικές (Mikés), Μίκης (Míkis)Μιχαέλα (Michaéla or Mihaéla), Μιχαέλλα (Michaélla or Mihaélla), Μιχαηλίνα (Michailína or Mihailína)
LatvianMiķelis, Miks
PortugueseMiguel, MicaelMiquelina, Micaela
RussianМихаил (Mikhaíl)Миша (Misha), Миха (Mikha)
SerbianМихаило (Mihailo)
UkrainianМихайло (Mikhailo)

"Mike", "Mick", "Mikiel", "Mikey", "Mikael", "Mic", "Misha" (common in Russia) and "Mickey" are short forms of, or nicknames for, Michael as a given name. "Mick" is commonly associated with Irish people.

The Irish language version of the name Michael is usually spelt Mícheál but is also sometimes spelt Micheál or simply Micheal. Meik and Maik are German short forms of Michael. The German pronunciation of both variants is identical to the English pronunciation of "Mike", since both are directly derived from their English counterparts. Similarly, the Welsh versions "Meical" and "Meic" are pronounced similar to their corresponding English analogues. Another Welsh version of the name is "Mihangel", which is a contracted combination of the name Michael and the word angel. Michiel [miˈxil] is Dutch and the Dutch given name "Chiel" is a variation of Michiel. Mikael, Mikell, Mikkel are Scandinavian.[9] In Swedish, "Micke" is a nickname for "Mikael" (also spelt "Michael").

In Greek "Μιχάλης" ("Michalis" or "Mihalis"; pronounced [miˈxalis]) is an everyday common form of the "Μιχαήλ" ("Michail" or "Mihail"). "Miķelis" is the Latvian form for Michael. In Russian, "Миша" ("Mischa" or "Misha"; pronounced [ˈmʲiʂə]) is a shortened form of "Михаил" (Mikhail; pronounced [mʲɪxɐˈil]). "Мишенька" (Mishen'ka) is a common diminutive form, "Миха" (Mikha) is an informal shortened form, "Мишка" (Mishka) is a pejorative form, and "Михайлович" (Mikhaylovich) is a patronymic form that can be shortened to more informal "Михалыч" (Mikhalych). Michal is Czech and Slovak. Michał [ˈmixaw] is Polish; Miko is Slavic.[9] Mëhill or Mhill is the Albanian for Michael. The first belongs to the southern (Tosk) dialect, the second to the northern (Gheg) dialect. In Hebrew, "מיכה" (Mikha) [ˈmiχa] is a common shortened form of "מיכאל" (Mikha'el). In Arabic, it is "میکائیل" (Mīkāʼīl; pronounced [miːkæːˈʔiːl]

Miquel (or Quelo in its shortened version) is the Catalan form of Michael.

Miguel [miˈɣel] is a Spanish and Portuguese form; Michel is French and popular in the Netherlands.[9] In French, both forms are popular: Michel (pronounced [miˈʃɛl]) and Mickaël.

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]
  9. ^ a b c "Michael — Name Meaning and Origin". Thinkbabynames.com. Retrieved 27 December 2011.