Gender Masculine
Pronounced Pron. PAWL(English, French)
POWL(German, Dutch)

Meaning & History

From the Roman family name Paulus, which meant "small" or "humble" in Latin. Paul was an important leader of the early Christian church. According to Acts in the New Testament, he was a Jewish Roman citizen who converted to Christianity after the resurrected Jesus appeared to him. After this he travelled the eastern Mediterranean as a missionary. His original Hebrew name was Saul. Many of the epistles in the New Testament were authored by him.

Due to the renown of Saint Paul the name became common among early Christians. It was borne by a number of other early saints and six popes. In England it was relatively rare during the Middle Ages, but became more frequent beginning in the 17th century. In the United States it was in the top 20 names for boys from 1900 to 1968, while in the United Kingdom it was very popular from the 1950s to the 80s. It has also been heavily used in Germany and France and continues to be popular there, though it is currently on the decline in the English-speaking world.

A notable bearer was the American Revolutionary War figure Paul Revere (1735-1818), who warned of the advance of the British army. Famous bearers in the art world include the French impressionists Paul Cezanne (1839-1906) and Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), and the Swiss expressionist Paul Klee (1879-1940). It is borne by actor Paul Newman (1925-2008) and the musicians Paul Simon (1941-) and Paul McCartney (1942-). This is also the name of the legendary American lumberjack Paul Bunyan and the fictional Paul Atreides from Frank Herbert's novel Dune (1965).

Related Names

VariantsPål(Swedish) Pål(Norwegian) Poul(Danish)
DiminutivesPaulie(English) Palle(Danish) Paavo(Estonian)
Other Languages & CulturesPal, Pali, Pavli(Albanian) Paulus(Ancient Roman) Boulos, Bulus(Arabic) Boghos, Poghos(Armenian) Pavel, Paviel, Paval(Belarusian) Paulos(Biblical Greek) Paulus(Biblical Latin) Paol(Breton) Pavel(Bulgarian) Pau, Pol(Catalan) Paulu(Corsican) Pavao, Pavle, Pavo(Croatian) Pavel(Czech) Paŭlo, Paĉjo(Esperanto) Páll(Faroese) Pauli, Paavali, Paavo(Finnish) Pauwel(Flemish) Paulo(Galician) Pavle(Georgian) Pavlos(Greek) Pál(Hungarian) Páll(Icelandic) Pól(Irish) Paolo(Italian) Pauls, Pāvels, Pāvils(Latvian) Paulius(Lithuanian) Pavle, Pavel(Macedonian) Pawlu(Maltese) Paora(Maori) Pau(Occitan) Paweł(Polish) Paulo, Paulinho(Portuguese) Pavel, Pasha(Russian) Pàulu(Sardinian) Pàl, Pòl(Scottish Gaelic) Pavle(Serbian) Pavol(Slovak) Pavel(Slovene) Pablo(Spanish) Pavlo(Ukrainian)
Surname DescendantsPaulsen(Danish) Paul, Paulis, Paulissen, Pauwels(Dutch) Paul, Paulson(English) Paul(French) Paul, Pohl(German) Paulsen(Norwegian)
User SubmissionsPàul, Päul, Pauł

People think this name is

classic   mature   formal   natural   wholesome   strong   refined   simple   serious   nerdy  

Name Days

Croatia: June 18
Denmark: January 10
Estonia: January 25
Finland: January 25
France: June 29
Germany: June 29
Norway: January 25
Sweden: January 25


Saint Paul by El Greco (1614)Saint Paul by El Greco (1614)


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Entry updated January 21, 2022