Jack (given name)

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Pronunciation dʒæk (jak)
Gender Male
Word/name Middle English, indirect diminutive of "John". It could be derived also from Jacques, the French form for Jacob or James
Meaning "God Is Gracious" or "Supplanter"
Other names
Nickname(s) Jackie, Jacky
Related names John, Jacob, Jackie, James, Jackson, Johnny, Jacqueline, Jacques, Jake, Jay, Jaco, Jacobi
Above is a map which shows where the name Jack is most popular in green.

Jack /ˈæk/ is a male given name, although in some cases it can be used as a female given name (a shortened versioned of "Jacqueline" or "Jackie", for example),[1] and sometimes as a surname. In English Jack is traditionally used as the diminutive form of John; it can be used also as diminutive for Jacob and sometimes for James due to its French form Jacques. Jack is now also a proper name in its own right.

The name Jack is unusual in the English language for its frequency of use as a verb and a noun for many common objects and actions, and its use in many compound words and phrases, e.g.: apple jack, hijack, jack of clubs (playing card), jack straw (scarecrow), jack tar (sailor), jack-in-the-box, jack-of-all-trades, jack o'lantern, jackdaw, jackhammer, jackknife, jackpot, lumberjack, union jack, etc. The Encyclopædia Britannica article on the history of the word "jack" linked it directly to the common name: "Jack, a word with a great variety of meanings and applications, all traceable to the common use of the word as a by-name of a man." [2]


Jack is thought to hark back to Medieval times as a common derivative of the name John. The nickname has also been seen as Jackie among men (Jackie Coogan, Jackie Cooper, and Jackie Gleason were all formally named John). This "Jackie" diminutive of the nickname Jack is thought by some to have hailed from the earlier "Jackin" (born of the appellation Jankin).[3][4] Alternatively, it may be derived from the name Jacques, the French form of the name James or Jacob.[3] There is also a theory that it is Celtic in origin, meaning "healthy, strong, full of vital energy" (compare the Welsh word iach, "health"), from a putative Ancient British Yakkios.[5] Whatever its origin, both the name and the word "jack" were long used as a term to refer to any man, especially of the common classes.[2][6]


Given name[edit]

In recent years (most notably since 2003), the nickname Jack (for the more formal John and, to a lesser extent, for Jacob) has become increasingly used as the actual formal name (i.e., baptismal name rather than a nickname) for boys in England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, the United States, and Wales. Jack was included on lists of the most frequently used male baby names in the UK for 2003–2007.[7][8][9] The high status of Jack as a formal male given name (versus its traditional John-derivative) is a recent phenomenon, although the formal name from which it derives – John – has held the title, along with William, of most frequent male name throughout the 1880s and first half of the 1900s.[10] In 1994, "Jack" was the most popular name in London but does not appear among the top-10 most popular in the preceding 970 years.[10][not in citation given] A survey in December 2008 showed that Jack was the most popular name in the UK for the 14th year running, since it took over from Thomas in 1994.

In 2014, Jack was again the most popular name for baby boys in Ireland.[11]

In 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2013, Jack was the most common name given to boys in Australia.[12]

According to the United States Census of 1990, "Jack" is an uncommon American name, the given name for 0.315% of the male population and 0.001% of the female population.[1][13][14] However, the frequency of use of "Jack" as a baby name has steadily increased from the 160–170 rank prior to 1991 to a rank of 35 in 2006.[15]

Jock is the Scottish form of the name John. Its similarity to the common John derivative or nickname Jack is apparent.


The appearance of "Jack" as a surname is much less frequent than its use as a male given name. In 1990, in the United States, this surname is shared by about 0.007% of the population, though the geographical distribution of the surname has been broad since at least 1840, at which time there was a modest concentration of Jacks in Pennsylvania.[13][16][17] In the late 19th century, the geographic distribution of Jacks in England was also broad, with concentration in North East England, Yorkshire and the Humber, and southern North West England.[18] In 1891, the highest concentration of Jacks in the United Kingdom appeared in Scotland. The surname is considered almost exclusively Scottish.[19]

People with given name Jack[edit]

Fictional characters[edit]



Nursery rhymes[edit]




Video games[edit]


Other uses[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Name search results". Search name files from 1990 Census. United States Census Bureau. 2007-09-07. Archived from the original on 1997-02-07. Retrieved 2008-02-09. NAME(female):JACK ; RANK:3217; %FREQ (CUMM FREQ):0.001 (88.832) 
  2. ^ a b JACK (Encyclopædia Britannica, 1910). Retrieved 2011-02-04. 
  3. ^ a b "Jack". Thinkbabynames.com. n.d. Retrieved March 30, 2012. 
  4. ^ Campbell, Mike (n.d.). "Behind the Name: Meaning, Origin and History of the Name Jack". Behind the Name. Mike Campbell. Retrieved March 30, 2012. 
  5. ^ "English words of British origin - dexsowā". Google Sites. n.d. Retrieved March 30, 2012. [unreliable source?]
  6. ^ "Dictionary entry, jack". Dictionary.com. Ask.com. Retrieved March 30, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Top 100 names for baby boys in England and Wales". National Statistics Online. Office for National Statistics. 2007. Archived from the original on May 22, 2011. Retrieved 2008-02-09. 
  8. ^ "Jack and Katie are the most popular baby names in Northern Ireland". News. Department of Finance and Personnel, Northern Ireland. 2007-12-19. Archived from the original on 2012-04-12. Retrieved 2008-02-10. Jack has been the most popular boys name since 2003.... 
  9. ^ "Jack and Emma were the most popular first names in Northern Ireland in 2003" (PDF) (Press release). Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. 2004-01-02. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-09-29. Retrieved 2008-02-14. Jack and Emma were the most popular first names given to children whose births were registered in Northern Ireland in 2003 
  10. ^ a b Galbi, Douglas A. (2002-07-20). "Long-Term Trends in Personal Given Name Frequencies in England and Wales". 1.1. (self-published). Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  11. ^ "So, what were the most-popular baby names in Ireland last year?". Kidspot. January 9, 2015. Retrieved 2015-01-21. 
  12. ^ "Australia's 100 most popular baby names". Kidspot. April 2, 2013. Archived from the original on January 10, 2014. Retrieved 2014-01-10. 
  13. ^ a b The male, female, and total populations of the United States in the 1990 census were 121,239,418; 127,470,455; and 248,709,873, respectively. Information from "General Population and Housing Characteristics: 1990". 1990 Summary Tape File 1 (STF 1) - 100-Percent data. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-02-09. 
  14. ^ "Name search results". Search name files from 1990 Census. United States Census Bureau. 2007-09-07. Archived from the original on 1997-02-07. Retrieved 2008-02-09. NAME(male):JACK ; RANK:53; %FREQ (CUMM FREQ):0.315 (48.102) 
  15. ^ Popular baby names
  16. ^ "Name search results". Search name files from 1990 Census. United States Census Bureau. 2007-09-07. Archived from the original on 1997-02-07. Retrieved 2008-02-09. NAME(last):JACK ; RANK:1852; %FREQ (CUMM FREQ):0.007 (50.991) 
  17. ^ "Jack Family History Facts 1840". Family Facts. The Generations Network, Inc. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  18. ^ "Jack Families Living in England and Wales in 1891". Family Facts. The Generations Network, Inc. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  19. ^ Retrieved 08-24-11