James is the (Vulgar/Later Latin) form of the Hebrew name Yaʻaqov (known as Jacob in its earlier Latin form). The name James came into the English language from the Old French variation James of the late Latin name Iacomus. This was a Vulgar/Later Latin (proto-Romance) variant of the earlier Latin form Iacobus, from the New Testament Greek Ἰάκωβος (Iákōbos), from Hebrew יעקב (Yaʻaqov) (Jacob). The development Iacobus > Iacomus is likely a result of nasalization of the o and assimilation of the following b (i.e., intermediate *Iacombus) followed by simplification of the cluster mb through loss of the b. Diminutives include Jamie, Jim, Jimmy, Jimmie, Jimbo, and others.
Greek: Ιακώβ (Iakov, in the Septuagint), Ιάκωβος (Iakovos, New Testament, Γιακουμής (Yakoumis, colloquial, possibly also from Ιωακείμ (Joachim)), Ιακωβίνα (Iakovina, feminized), Γιάγκος (Yangos, probably through Slavic languages, possibly also from Ιωάννης/Γιάννης [Ioannis/Yannis, John]), Ζάκης or Ζακ (Zakis or Zak, French-sounding).
James is one of the most common male names in the English-speaking world. In the United States, James was one of the five most common given names for male babies for most of the twentieth century. Its popularity peaked during the Baby Boom (Census records 1940-1960), when it was the most popular name for baby boys. Its popularity has declined considerably over the past thirty years, but it still remains one of the twenty most common names for boys.
James has stayed more popular in the British Isles and Australasia. In England and Wales, James has been one of the Top 20 most common given male names since at least 1954 and in the Top 10 since at least 1974. Likewise, in Northern Ireland, the name has appeared among the 10 most popular for the last quarter of the 20th century and into the 21st. In 2013, James was the eighth most popular name for boys in Australia.