Gender Masculine
Usage English
Pronounced Pron. JAK
  [key·IPA]

Meaning & History

Derived from Jackin (earlier Jankin), a medieval diminutive of John [1]. There could be some early influence from the unrelated French name Jacques [2]. It is often regarded as an independent name. During the Middle Ages it was very common, and it became a slang word meaning "man". It was frequently used in fairy tales and nursery rhymes, such as Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Jack Horner, and Jack Sprat.

American writers Jack London (1876-1916) and Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) were two famous bearers of this name. It is also borne by the actor Jack Nicholson (1937-) and the golfer Jack Nicklaus (1940-). Apart from Nicklaus, none of these famous bearers were given the name Jack at birth.

In the United Kingdom this form has been bestowed more frequently than John since the 1990s, being the most popular name for boys from 1996 to 2008.

Related Names

VariantJake
DiminutiveJackie
Other Languages & CulturesGjon(Albanian) Yohannes(Amharic) Yahya, Yuhanna(Arabic) Hovhannes(Armenian) Xuan(Asturian) Ion, Jon, Ganix, Iban(Basque) Ivan(Belarusian) Jehohanan, Johanan, John(Biblical) Ioannes(Biblical Greek) Yehochanan, Yochanan(Biblical Hebrew) Iohannes(Biblical Latin) Yann(Breton) Ioan, Ivan, Yoan(Bulgarian) Joan, Jan(Catalan) Jowan(Cornish) Ghjuvan, Ghjuvanni(Corsican) Ivan(Croatian) Ivan, Jan(Czech) Ivan, Jan, Jens, Johan, Johannes, Jon(Danish) Jan, Johan, Johannes(Dutch) Johano(Esperanto) Ivan, Jaan, Johannes, Juhan(Estonian) Jóannes, Jógvan, Jóhannes, Jón(Faroese) Jone(Fijian) Jani, Johannes, Joni, Jouni, Juhana, Juhani(Finnish) Jean, Yann, Yoan, Yoann, Yohan, Yohann, Yvan, Jeannot(French) Xoán(Galician) Ivane(Georgian) Jan, Johann, Johannes(German) Giannis, Ioannis, Yannis, Yiannis(Greek) Keoni(Hawaiian) Yochanan(Hebrew) Iván, János(Hungarian) Jens, Jóhann, Jóhannes, Jón(Icelandic) Yohanes(Indonesian) Eoin, Seán, Sean, Shane(Irish) Giovanni, Ivan, Ivano(Italian) Johannes, Joannes(Late Roman) Ivans, Jānis(Latvian) Sjang, Sjeng(Limburgish) Jonas(Lithuanian) Ivan, Jovan(Macedonian) Ġwann(Maltese) Ean, Juan(Manx) Hann, Jackin, Jan, Jankin, Jon(Medieval English) Jehan(Medieval French) Ivan, Jan, Jens, Johan, Johannes, Jon, Jone(Norwegian) Joan(Occitan) Yahya(Persian) Iwan, Jan(Polish) Ivan, João(Portuguese) Ioan, Ion, Ivan(Romanian) Ioann, Ivan(Russian) Juhán(Sami) Sione(Samoan) Giuanne, Juanne(Sardinian) Ian, Jock, Jockie, Jocky(Scottish) Eòin, Iain, Seoc(Scottish Gaelic) Ivan, Jovan(Serbian) Ivan, Ján(Slovak) Ivan, Jan, Janez, Žan, Anže, Anžej(Slovene) Jan(Sorbian) Iván, Juan(Spanish) Ivan, Jan, Jens, Johan, Johannes, Jon(Swedish) Sione(Tongan) Yahya(Turkish) Ivan(Ukrainian) Evan, Ieuan, Ioan, Siôn(Welsh)
Surname DescendantsJack, Jackman, Jackson, Jakeman(English)
User SubmissionJack

People think this name is

classic   youthful   informal   common   natural   strong   rough   simple   comedic  

Name Days

Norway: July 25

Images

Depiction of Jack and the Bean Stalk by Walter Crane (1875)Depiction of Jack and the Bean Stalk by Walter Crane (1875)

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Sources & References

  1. Withycombe, Elizabeth Gidley. The Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names. Oxford, 1945, page 75.
  2. Reaney, P. H. and R. M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. Oxford, 1997, page 251.
Entry updated November 20, 2020