jo·​seph | \ ˈjō-zəf How to pronounce joseph (audio) also -səf How to pronounce joseph (audio) \

Definition of joseph

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 capitalized
a : a son of Jacob who according to the account in Genesis rose to high political office in Egypt after being sold into slavery by his brothers
b : the husband of Mary the mother of Jesus according to the Gospel accounts
2 : a long cloak worn especially by women in the 18th century


biographical name
Jo·​seph | \ ˈjō-zəf also -səf How to pronounce Joseph (audio) \

Definition of Joseph (Entry 2 of 2)

circa 1840–1904 In-mut-too-yah-lat-lat Nez Percé Indian chief

First Known Use of joseph


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for joseph


Latin, from Greek Iōsēph, from Hebrew Yōsēph

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The first known use of joseph was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Joseph.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jul. 2020.

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