What does Ishmael mean?
Ishmael /ish-mael/ as a boys' name is pronounced EES-mah-el. It is of Hebrew origin, and the meaning of Ishmael is "God listens".
Biblical: the son of Abraham by Sarah's Egyptian slave woman Hagar. Among his descendants were Bedouin tribes and Muhammad (seventh century), founder of Islam. Literary: because Ishmael was cast out to wander in the desert, the name is often used symbolically, as in Herman Melville's novel "Moby Dick". Ismael is the Spanish form; Ismail is Arabic.
(male) Iomael, Isamael, ..
(female) Ishma, Ishmaeli, ..
How popular is Ishmael?
Ishmael is an unusual given name for men but a very prominent last name for both adults and children (#11385 out of 150436, Top 8%). (2000 U.S. Demographics)
Charted below is the birth name history of Ishmael for boys. Ishmael reached its peak position of #903 in the U.S. in 1997, and is presently at #1283. (Top Baby Names, 2014)
Popular related forms of Ishmael (#1283 last year) are Ismael (#384 last year) and Ismail (#1290). Adoption of these forms of Ishmael was at its highest in 2006 (median #1068) and has remained as widespread to this day (#985, 3.2% less usage). Ismael is a constant favorite.