Meaning and Origin of: John

meaning and origin of John

Boy name origins & meanings

  • Hebrew : God's grace
  • Greek : God is good

What does John mean and stand for?

The name John is of Hebrew origin meaning "God is gracious." John is an English derivative of the Hebrew name Yochanan via the Latin name Iohannes. Along with its strong presence in Christianity, John was the name of countless kings and notables, making it the most popular name for 400 years.

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Family name origins & meanings

  • English, Welsh, German, etc. : ultimately from the Hebrew personal name yọ̄hānān ‘Jehovah has favored (me with a son)’ or ‘may Jehovah favor (this child)’. This personal name was adopted into Latin (via Greek) as Johannes, and has enjoyed enormous popularity in Europe throughout the Christian era, being given in honor of St. John the Baptist, precursor of Christ, and of St. John the Evangelist, author of the fourth gospel, as well as others of the nearly one thousand other Christian saints of the name. Some of the principal forms of the personal name in other European languages are Welsh Ieuan, Evan, Siôn, and Ioan; Scottish Ia(i)n; Irish Séan; German Johann, Johannes, Hans; Dutch Jan; French Jean; Italian Giovanni, Gianni, Ianni; Spanish Juan; Portuguese João; Greek Iōannēs (vernacular Yannis); Czech Jan; Russian Ivan. Polish has surnames both from the western Slavic form Jan and from the eastern Slavic form Iwan. There were a number of different forms of the name in Middle English, including Jan(e), a male name (see Jane); Jen (see Jenkin); Jon(e) (see Jones); and Han(n) (see Hann). There were also various Middle English feminine versions of this name (e.g. Joan, Jehan), and some of these were indistinguishable from masculine forms. The distinction on grounds of gender between John and Joan was not firmly established in English until the 17th century. It was even later that Jean and Jane were specialized as specifically feminine names in English; bearers of these surnames and their derivatives are more likely to derive them from a male ancestor than a female. As a surname in the British Isles, John is particularly frequent in Wales, where it is a late formation representing Welsh Siôn rather than the older form Ieuan (which gave rise to the surname Evan). As an American family name this form has absorbed various cognates from continental European languages. (For forms, see Hanks and Hodges 1988.)

Famous people with this last name

Popularity

John is the number twenty-eight most popular boys name in the US, according to 2019 Social Security Administration data. It has been consistently popular, remaining in the top 30 since 2000.

However, it is the 46th most popular name on FamilyEducation.com.

According to Google search data analysis, in the last five years John was at its peak popularity in September 2018.

Starting as a derivative from a Hebrew name, John became quite popular with the emergence of Christianity. The name gained popularity with John the Baptist, John the Apostle and John the Evangelist, as well as 84 saints and 23 popes. Various kings and notables also were named John, making it the most popular name for nearly 400 years. Today, John remains in the top 10 for boy names starting with J, but most parents choose to use the nickname Jack. Contrary to popular belief, the names John and Jonathan are unrelated, as Jonathan is an elaboration of Nathan.

Where is it Popular?

John was searched for most often in the following states:

Pairs well with these middle names