Meaning and name origin
Ishmael \i-sh-mael\ as a boy's 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.
Ishmael is not a popular first name for males but a very popular surname or last name for all people (#14030 out of 88799, Top 16%) (2000 U.S. Census).
Displayed below is the baby name popularity of the name Ishmael for boys (2014 statistics).
Displayed below is a comparison of the popularity of the boy name Ishmael and its variant forms. Popular variation forms ranked in the Top 1000/100 are Ismael (#384) and Ishmael. (2014 statistics).