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Jan (name)

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PronunciationCzech: [jan][1]
German: [jan][1][a]
Dutch: [jɑn][1]
Polish: [jan][1]
Meaning"YHWH has been gracious"[2]
Other names
Related namesJohn, Jaan, Jann, Evan, Giovanni, Hans, Juan, Hovhannes, Ion, Ian, Ioan, Ioane, Ivan, Iven, Ifan, Jack, Jackson, Jane, Janez, Jean, Jhon, Joan, João, Johan/Johann, Johanan, Johannes, Jonne, Jovan, Juhani, Seán, Shane, Siôn, Xan, Xoán, Yahya, Yann, Yohannes

Jan is a form of John that is used in various languages. (See the “Other names” section in this page's infobox for more variants.)

The name is used in Afrikaans, Belarusian, Circassian, Catalan, Cornish, Croatian, Czech, English (Devon dialect), Dutch, German, Kazakh, Polish, Slovak, Slovenian, Scandinavian and Finnic languages. It is the most prevalent in the Czech Republic.[3] In English, the name "Jan" is related to "John", but is a shortened form of the first names Janet, Janice, or January, with corresponding pronunciation. It has a separate origin in Persian, Greek, and Armenian.

Netherlands and Flanders[edit]

In the Netherlands and Flanders, the name used to be one of the most popular given first names. From the 1950s, the occurrence of the name decreased. In 2014, no more than 3% of the boys are given this name.[4] However, it still is one of the most widely distributed names. It is also the most common name of Dutch players in the Netherlands national football team.[4]

The name Jan is sometimes combined with another first name, such as in Jan Peter (for instance in Jan Peter Balkenende), or in Klaas Jan (for instance in Klaas Jan Huntelaar). Very rarely the name Jan is given to a girl, as variants like Jann, Jannie, Janneke or Jantje are more common.

Because it used to be so common, it found its way into many expressions[5] still widely used today, even though the popularity of the name itself has faded. "Jan met de pet", literally "Jan wearing a cap", signifies the common man; and "Jan en alleman", literally "Jan and everyman", signifies a large group of people, often used when referring to a cross-section of society.


Yankee was the nickname that the British colonists gave to the inhabitants of the Dutch colony of New Netherland. One also often hears just "Yank" colloquially.

The exact origin of the word is not exactly known. It is said that the word originated from the Dutch names Jan and Kees. Other possible origins are sought in Jan-Kaas, a name that referred to the fact that the Dutch settlers were known for their cheese. A third possibility is that the word is derived from Janneke, the diminutive form of Jan. The Dutch J and English Y are pronounced the same way when they are used in a word, so not as a separate letter.

Another theory is the bastardized pronunciation of English by Native Americans. Compare with pidgin (to business) and Kiribati Islands (to Gilbert Islands).

Later, Yankee became a nickname for the residents of upstate New York and neighboring New England. Today, the people of New York and New England use the word Yankee as a nickname. One of New York's professional baseball teams is called the New York Yankees.

People (first name)[edit]




People (middle name)[edit]

  • Kim Dickens (born Kimberly Jan Dickens) (born 1965), American actress

People (last name)[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ There is also a German surname spelled Jan but pronounced [jaːn].


  1. ^ a b c d Duden Aussprachewörterbuch (in German) (6 ed.). Mannheim: Bibliographisches Institut & F.A. Brockhaus AG. 2006. ISBN 3-411-04066-1.
  2. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "John" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  3. ^ "Given name Jan around the world". mondonomo.ai. Retrieved 2022-08-24.
  4. ^ a b "'Jan' meest voorkomende voornaam in historie Oranje". 30 April 2015. Retrieved 2015-06-12.
  5. ^ "Jan (Persoonsnaam)". www.etymologiebank.nl. Retrieved 2015-06-12.