Jacob (name)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Isaak zegent Jakob Rijksmuseum SK-A-110.jpeg
Isaac Blessing Jacob, 1638 Govert Flinck painting. The name Jacob comes from the Biblical story of Jacob's birth where he came out holding the heel of his twin brother, Esau.
Word/namederived from Late Latin Jacobus, from Greek Ἰάκωβος Iakobos, from Hebrew יַעֲקֹב (Yaʿqob, Yaʿaqov, Yaʿăqōḇ)
Meaning"seizing by the heel", "supplanting"
Other names
Related namesJames, Jakob, Jake, Jack, Jakov, Yakub, Yakup

Jacob is a common male given name and a less well-known surname. It is a cognate of James. Jacob is derived from Late Latin Iacobus, from Greek Ἰάκωβος Iakobos, from Hebrew יַעֲקֹב (Yaʿqob, Yaʿaqov, Yaʿăqōḇ), the name of the Hebrew patriarch, Jacob son of Isaac and Rebecca. The name comes either from the Hebrew root עקב ʿqb meaning "to follow, to be behind" but also "to supplant, circumvent, assail, overreach", or from the word for "heel", עֲקֵב ʿaqeb.

In the narrative of Genesis, it refers to the circumstances of Jacob's birth when he held on to the heel of his older twin brother Esau (Genesis 25:26). The name is etymologized (in direct speech by the character Esau) in Genesis 27:36, adding the significance of Jacob having "supplanted" his elder brother by buying his birthright.[1]

In a Christian context, Jacob – James as reduced English form – is the name for several people in the New Testament: (1) apostle James, son of Zebedee, (2) another apostle James, son of Alphaeus, and (3) James the brother of Jesus (James the Just), who led the original Nazarene Community in Jerusalem.

Modern usage[edit]

From 1999 through 2012, Jacob was the most popular baby name for boys in the United States.[2] Since Jacob is also venerated as a prophet of Islam, his name is commonly used as a male first name in Arab and Muslim societies (Arabic Yakub, Turkish Yakup).


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "And he said, Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me (יַּעְקְבֵנִי) these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing" (KJV)
  2. ^ U.S. Social Security Administration - Popular Baby Names