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Scriptsיוֹנָתָן Ancient Hebrew
PronouncedPron.JAHN-ə-thən American English
JAWN-ə-thən British English
YO-na-tan German

Meaning & History

From the Hebrew name יְהוֹנָתָן (Yehonatan), contracted to יוֹנָתָן (Yonatan), meaning "YAHWEH has given", derived from the roots יְהוֹ (yeho) referring to the Hebrew God and נָתַן (natan) meaning "to give". According to the Old Testament, Jonathan was the eldest son of Saul. His relationship with his father was strained due to his close friendship with his father's rival David. Along with Saul he was killed in battle with the Philistines.

As an English name, Jonathan did not become common until after the Protestant Reformation. A famous bearer was the Anglo-Irish satirist Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), who wrote 'Gulliver's Travels' and other works.
VariantsJohnathan, Johnathon, Jonathon English Jonatan German Jonatan Swedish Jonatan Norwegian Jonatan Danish
DiminutivesJonty English (British) Jon, Jonny English
Other Languages & CulturesIonathan Biblical Greek Yehonatan, Yonatan Biblical Hebrew Ionathan Biblical Latin Yehonatan, Yonatan, Yoni Hebrew Jónatan Icelandic Ionatán Irish Gionata Italian Jônatas Portuguese Jonatan Spanish


Jonathan (seated) and David by Gustave Doré (1866)Jonathan (seated) and David by Gustave Doré (1866)


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Entry updated May 31, 2018   Contribute