[ joh-zuhf, -suhf ]

  1. Jacob's eleventh son, the first of Jacob and his second wife, Rachel: sold into slavery by his brothers. Genesis 30:22–24; 37.

  2. the husband of Mary who was the mother of Jesus. Matthew 1:16–25.

  1. Hinmaton-yalaktit, c1840–1904, leader of the Nez Perce: led 1,000-mile (1,600-km) retreat from U.S. forces in an attempt to reach Canada in 1877.

  2. (lowercase) a long coat buttoning in the front, worn especially by women as part of their riding habit in colonial America.

  3. a male given name: from a Hebrew word meaning “increaser.” Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use Joseph in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for joseph (1 of 2)


/ (ˈdʒəʊzɪf) /

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

Origin of joseph

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

British Dictionary definitions for Joseph (2 of 2)


/ (ˈdʒəʊzɪf) /

  1. Old Testament

    • the eleventh son of Jacob and one of the 12 patriarchs of Israel (Genesis 30:2–24)

    • either or both of two tribes descended from his sons Ephraim and Manasseh

  2. Saint Joseph New Testament the husband of Mary the mother of Jesus (Matthew 1:16–25). Feast day: Mar 19

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