Meaning and Origin of: James

Boy name origins & meanings

james baby name

  • Hebrew : Supplanter, substitute; the patron saint of Spain

James is a modern descendant of Iacobus, the Latin form of the Hebrew name Jacob, another one of the top baby names for boys this year. James has biblical roots and was the name of two apostles in the New Testament. It also has royal roots and was the name of kinds of both England and Scotland. 

Syllables: 2

Family name origins & meanings

  • English : from a personal name that has the same origin as Jacob. However, among English speakers, it is now felt to be a separate name in its own right. This is largely because in the Authorized Version of the Bible (1611) the form James is used in the New Testament as the name of two of Christ’s apostles (James the brother of John and James the brother of Andrew), whereas in the Old Testament the brother of Esau is called Jacob. The form James comes from Latin Jacobus via Late Latin Jac(o)mus, which also gave rise to Jaime, the regular form of the name in Spanish (as opposed to the learned Jacobo). See also Jack and Jackman. This is a common surname throughout the British Isles, particularly in South Wales.

Famous people with this first name

Popularity

James is the number four most popular boys name in the US, according to 2018 Social Security Administration data. It has remained in the number four position for two years in a row. It has been in the top 10 names since 2014 and top 20 names since 2000.

However, it is the 71st most popular name on FamilyEducation.com.

According to Google search data analysis, in the last five years James was at its peak popularity in May 2019.

While the name James has been around since biblical times, it has been one of the most popular baby boys names for most of the 20th century. It originally rose to popularity during the Baby Boom from 1940 to 1960, but has hung around in popularity as one of the most popular classic names for boys. While there are many variations of the name (Jim, Jimbo, Jimmy, Jamie, etc.), the original form James is most popular today. Today its popularity may be attributed to stars like James Dean, LeBron James, James Franco, James Harden, and fictional character James Bond.

Where is it Popular?

James was searched for most often in the following states:

Pairs well with these middle names