From the name of the river which flows between the countries of Jordan and Israel. The river's name in Hebrew is יַרְדֵן (Yarden)
, and it is derived from יָרַד (yarad)
meaning "descend" or "flow down". In the New Testament John
the Baptist baptizes Jesus
Christ in its waters, and it was adopted as a personal name in Europe after crusaders brought water back from the river to baptize their children. There may have been some influence from the Germanic
, notably borne by a 6th-century Gothic historian.
This name died out after the Middle Ages, but was revived in the 19th century. In America and other countries it became fairly popular in the second half of the 20th century. A famous bearer of the surname is former basketball star Michael Jordan (1963-).