73%Rating
add to your listSave
GenderMasculine
PronouncedPron.JAHN American English
JAWN British English
[key]

Meaning & History

English form of Iohannes, the Latin form of the Greek name Ιωαννης (Ioannes), itself derived from the Hebrew name יוֹחָנָן (Yochanan) meaning "YAHWEH is gracious", from the roots יוֹ (yo) referring to the Hebrew God and חָנַן (chanan) meaning "to be gracious". The Hebrew form occurs in the Old Testament (spelled Johanan or Jehohanan in the English version), but this name owes its popularity to two New Testament characters, both highly revered saints. The first is John the Baptist, a Jewish ascetic who is considered the forerunner of Jesus. He baptized Jesus and was later executed by Herod Antipas. The second is the apostle John, who is traditionally regarded as the author of the fourth gospel and Revelation. With the apostles Peter and James (his brother), he was part of the inner circle of Jesus.

This name was initially more common among Eastern Christians in the Byzantine Empire, but it flourished in Western Europe after the First Crusade. In England it became extremely popular: during the later Middle Ages it was given to approximately a fifth of all English boys.

The name (in various spellings) has been borne by 21 popes and eight Byzantine emperors, as well as rulers of England, France, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Portugal, Bulgaria, Russia and Hungary. It was also borne by the poet John Milton (1608-1674), philosopher John Locke (1632-1704), American founding father and president John Adams (1735-1826), and poet John Keats (1795-1821). Famous bearers of the 20th century include author John Steinbeck (1902-1968), assassinated American president John F. Kennedy (1917-1963), and musician John Lennon (1940-1980).
VariantsIan, Jon English Jan, Johan, Johannes, Jon Swedish Jan, Jens, Johan, Johannes, Jon Danish Jan, Johan, Johannes, Jon Norwegian
DiminutivesJohnie, Johnnie, Johnny English
Other Languages & CulturesDeshaun, Deshawn, Keshaun, Keshawn, Rashawn, Rashaun African American Gjon Albanian Yohannes Amharic Yahya, Yuhanna Arabic Hovhannes, Hovik, Hovo, Ohannes Armenian Xuan Asturian Ganix, Ion, Jon, Iban Basque Ivan, Yan Belarusian Ioannes Biblical Greek Yehochanan, Yochanan Biblical Hebrew Iohannes Biblical Latin Yann, Yanick, Yannic, Yannick Breton Ioan, Ivan, Yoan, Ivo, Vancho, Yanko Bulgarian Joan, Jan Catalan Jowan Cornish Ghjuvan, Ghjuvanni Corsican Ivan, Ivica, Ivo, Janko, Vanja Croatian Ivan, Jan, Honza, Janek Czech Jan, Johan, Johannes, Hanke, Hanne, Hannes, Hans, Jo, Joop Dutch Johano, Joĉjo Esperanto Jaan, Johannes, Juhan Estonian Jóannes, Jóhannes, Jón Faroese Jani, Janne, Johannes, Joni, Jouni, Juhana, Juhani, Hannes, Hannu, Juha, Juho, Jukka, Jussi Finnish Jean, Yann, Yoan, Yoann, Jeannot, Yanick, Yannic, Yannick French Xoán Galician Ioane, Ivane, Vano Georgian Jan, Johann, Johannes, Hannes, Hans, Jo German Giannis, Ioannis, Yannis, Yiannis, Gianni, Yanni, Yianni Greek Keoni Hawaiian Yochanan Hebrew Iván, János, Jancsi, Jani Hungarian Jóhann, Jóhannes, Jón Icelandic Yohanes Indonesian Eoin, Seán, Sean, Shane Irish Giovanni, Ivan, Ivano, Gian, Gianni, Giannino, Nino, Vanni Italian Johannes, Joannes Late Roman Jānis Latvian Sjang, Sjeng Limburgish Jonas Lithuanian Ivan, Jovan, Ivo, Vancho, Vančo Macedonian Ean, Juan Manx Hann, Jan, Jon, Hankin, Jackin, Jankin Medieval English Jehan Medieval French Zuan Medieval Italian Joan Occitan Yahya Persian Iwan, Jan, Janusz, Janek Polish João, Joãozinho Portuguese Ioan, Ion, Iancu, Ionel, Ionuț, Nelu Romanian Ioann, Ivan, Vanya Russian Juhán Sami Giuanne, Juanne Sardinian Eoin, Iain, Ian Scottish Ivan, Jovan, Ivica, Ivo, Janko, Vanja Serbian Ivan, Ján, Janko Slovak Ivan, Jan, Janez, Žan, Anže, Janko Slovene Jan Sorbian Iván, Juan, Ibán, Juanito Spanish Yahya Turkish Ivan Ukrainian Evan, Iefan, Ieuan, Ifan, Ioan, Iwan, Siôn, Ianto Welsh

Images

Saint John the Evangelist, by Alonso Cano (1636)Saint John the Evangelist, by Alonso Cano (1636)
Icon depicting Saint John the BaptistIcon depicting Saint John the Baptist

Categories

actors, American founding fathers, American Horror Story characters, American presidents, apostles, artists, Ashita no Nadja characters, astronomers, athletes, Australian prime ministers, authors, biblical, books of the Bible, Canadian prime ministers, Charles Dickens characters, Cheers characters, Code Geass characters, composers, D H Lawrence characters, DC Comics characters, Desperate Housewives characters, directors, Discworld characters, Disney characters, Doctor Who companions, Downton Abbey characters, Dracula characters, Duggar family, emperors, evangelists, explorers, Fleetwood Mac members, footballers, Gone with the Wind characters, Gundam characters, Hamilton, Harry Potter characters, heroes, horror, House of Cards US characters, inventors, Jane Austen characters, jazz, King of the Hill characters, kings, legend, literature, Lorien Legacies characters, Louisa May Alcott characters, murderers, musicians, never out of the US top 100, never out of the US top 1000, Orthodox saints, Oscar Wilde characters, painters, Peter Pan characters, Philip K Dick characters, philosophers, poets, Poldark characters, popes, prophets, Queen members, Redwall characters, ROD the TV characters, saints, scientists, sculptors, Shadowhunters characters, Shakespearean characters, singers, song titles, Star Trek characters, Star Wars actors, Stephen King characters, Supernatural characters, Taboo characters, television, The Man in the High Castle characters, The Sopranos characters, theologians, Thomas Hardy characters, top 10 in the US, True Blood characters, UK prime ministers, Will and Grace characters, world leaders
Entry updated May 31, 2018   Contribute