[joh-zuh f, -suh f]


Jacob's eleventh son, the first of Jacob and his second wife, Rachel: sold into slavery by his brothers. Gen. 30:22–24; 37.
the husband of Mary who was the mother of Jesus. Matt. 1:16–25.
Hinmaton-yalaktit, c1840–1904, leader of the Nez Percé: led 1000-mile (1600-km) retreat from U.S. forces in an attempt to reach Canada 1877.
(lowercase) a long coat buttoning in the front, worn especially by women as part of their riding habit in colonial America.
a male given name: from a Hebrew word meaning “increaser.”

Joseph I


1678–1711, king of Hungary 1687–1711; king of Germany 1690–1711; emperor of the Holy Roman Empire 1705–11 (son of Leopold I).

Joseph II


1741–90, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire 1765–90 (son of Francis I; brother of Leopold II and Marie Antoinette). Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for joseph

Contemporary Examples of joseph

Historical Examples of joseph

  • His name was Joseph and he belonged to the tribe of the Hebrews.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • I have a compatriot with me, one Joseph Lesurques, whom I met on the way here.

  • It was the priest who came out from the confessional of Saint Joseph and shut the door after him.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • Joseph said nothing further except, "Good-by, obstinate one!"

  • Joseph is the eldest son; but, of this I am sure, Napoleon will be the head of this family.

British Dictionary definitions for joseph



a woman's floor-length riding coat with a small cape, worn esp in the 18th century

Word Origin for joseph

perhaps from the story of Joseph and his long coat (Genesis 37:3)



Old Testament
  1. the eleventh son of Jacob and one of the 12 patriarchs of Israel (Genesis 30:2–24)
  2. either or both of two tribes descended from his sons Ephraim and Manasseh
Saint Joseph New Testament the husband of Mary the mother of Jesus (Matthew 1:16–25). Feast day: Mar 19

Joseph II


1741–90, Holy Roman emperor (1765–90); son of Francis I. He ruled Austria jointly with his mother, Maria Theresa, until her death (1780). He reorganized taxation, abolished serfdom, curtailed the feudal power of the nobles, and asserted his independence from the pope
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for joseph


masc. proper name, biblical son of Jacob and Rachel, from Late Latin Joseph, Josephus, from Greek Ioseph, from Hebrew Yoseph (also Yehoseph, cf. Ps. lxxxi:6) "adds, increases," causative of yasaph "he added." Its use in names of clothing and plants often is in reference to his "coat of many colors."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper