Jane (given name)

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Lady Jane Grey is a famous Jane.
Word/nameHebrew, Greek, Latin, French, English
Meaning"Yahweh is gracious/merciful"
Region of originWorldwide
Other names
Nickname(s)Janie, Jenny
Related namesJohn, Joanna, Joan
Popularitysee popular names

Jane is a feminine given name. It is the English form of the Old French name Jehanne, which was an old feminine form of the male name Johannes or Ioannes (also the source of the English name John), a Latin form of the Greek name Ἰωάννης (Iōannēs), which is derived from the Hebrew name יוֹחָנָן (Yochanan), a short form of the name יְהוֹחָנָן (Yehochanan), meaning "Yahweh is merciful".[1]

The name was first used in large numbers in the mid-16th century for the daughters of aristocrats as an alternative to the more commonplace Joan. The two names have alternated popularity. In the early 19th century, Jane was again seen as a name with a certain amount of glamour. Joan became more popular in the early to mid-20th century, when it was ranked in the top 500 most popular names given to girls in the United States, but the name has again been displaced by Jane on the popularity charts in the 21st century.

Name variants[edit]

Alternate forms include:

People with this name[edit]





  • Calamity Jane (1852–1903), U.S. frontierswoman
  • Jane Addams (1860–1935), American Nobel Peace Prize-winning social worker and co-founder of Hull House
  • Jane Digby (1807–1881), English adventurer
  • Jane Horney (born 1918), Swedish spy during WWII
  • Jane Roe, alias of Norma Leah McCorvey, plaintiff in the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case that legalized abortion in the United States


News media[edit]

  • Jane Elliott (born 1933), American civil rights activist, known for "Blue eyes–Brown eyes" exercise.
  • Jane Grant (1892–1972) American journalist
  • Jane Hill (born 1969), British newsreader
  • Jane Kramer (born 1938), American journalist
  • Jane Pauley (born 1950), American television journalist
  • Jane Pratt (born 1962), American magazine editor and publisher


  • Jane Harman (born 1945), member of the United States House of Representatives, representing California's 36th congressional district
  • Jane Hill (born 1936), Australian politician


Royalty and nobility[edit]



Fictional Janes[edit]

In law[edit]

Jane Doe or Jane Roe is used in American law as a placeholder name for anonymous or unknown female participants in legal proceedings. "Jane Roe" was the legal pseudonym used by Norma McCorvey when she was plaintiff in the landmark American case Roe v. Wade.

Jane Doe is used in United States police investigations when the identity of a female victim is unknown or incorrect, and by hospitals to refer to a female corpse or patient whose identity is unknown.

Characters in animation[edit]

Comic book characters[edit]

Characters in literature[edit]

Characters in TV, film, and theater[edit]

Characters in video games[edit]

In technology[edit]

  • Jane, an available voice on devices from TomTom

See also[edit]