John (given name)

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Not to be confused with Jon. ‹See Tfd›
John
Gender Male
Origin
Word/Name Hebrew
Meaning Graced by God (Yohanan)
Other names
Nickname(s) Jack, Johnny, Jackie
Related names Giovanni, Hans, Hovhannes, Ian, Ioan, Ivan, Iven, Ifan, Jack, Jackson, Jan, Jane, Janez, Jean, Jhon, Joan, João, Johan, Johanan Johannes, Jovan, Juan, Juhani, Seán, Siôn
Popularity see popular names

John /ɒn/ is a masculine given name in the English language. The name is derived from the Latin Ioannes, Iohannes, which is a form of the Greek Ἰωάννης. This Greek name Ἰωάννης is in turn a form of the Hebrew name יוֹחָנָן, Yôḥanan which means "Graced by YHWH". There are numerous forms of the name in different languages.[1]

It is among the most common given names in Anglophone and European countries; traditionally, it was the most common, although it has not been since the latter half of the 20th century. John owes its unique popularity to the vast number of emperors, kings, popes and patriarchs that have borne the name, and also to two highly revered saints, John the Baptist and the apostle John, traditionally considered the author of the Gospel of John. Initially, it was a favorite name among the Greeks but it flourished in all of Europe after the First Crusade.[2]

Origins[edit]

The name John originates from the Hebrew name יוֹחָנָן (Yôḥānān), or in its longer form יְהוֹחָנָן (Yəhôḥānān), meaning "YHWH has been gracious".[3] Several obscure figures in the Old Testament bore this name, and it grew in popularity once borne by the high priest Johanan (fl. 407 BC) and especially by king John Hyrcanus (d. 104 BC). In the second temple period, it was the fifth most popular male name among Jews in Judaea[4] and was borne by several important rabbis, such as Yochanan ben Zakai and Yochanan ben Nuri.

The name John in its Greek form Ἰωάννης (Iōannēs) features prominently in the New Testament, being borne by John the Baptist, John the Apostle, and several others; the Gospel of John, three epistles, and Revelation are each attributed to a "John". As a result, the name became immensely popular in Christian societies.

In the Latin-speaking regions of the Roman Empire, the name was Latinized as Johannes (pronounced like the Greek). The local populations in these areas of the Roman Empire soon changed Roman names to fit their own dialect, which included dropping the suffixes -us and -es from such names.

Romance derivatives[edit]

In the Roman sphere of influence, Johannes became the Italian Giovanni (also Gianni, Gian and other derivatives). In the Black Sea region, the name became the Romanian Ioan. In Iberia the name eventually changed to the Spanish Juan and the medieval Portuguese Juo/Joane (now João) and Ivo. In Gaul, it became the Old French Jehan (the 16th century John Calvin still spelled his name Jehan Cauvin) and later Jean (pronounced /ʒɑ̃/); the female form was Jehanne (the 15th century Joan of Arc still spelled her name Jehanne) and later Jeanne. In the Occitano-Romance area it became Joan (feminine, Joana) and Jan in Occitan and Catalan, from older Iouan and Iohan.

Germanic derivatives[edit]

The Germanic languages (including Dutch, German, English and Scandinavian) produced the male Johann (also Johan (Dutch), Joan,[5] Jan (Dutch), Jannis, Hans (German, Dutch and Scandinavian), Jens (Danish and Frisian), Jóhannes, Jóhann, Jón (Icelandic and Faroese))[6][7] and the female Johanna (also the Dutch diminutives Johanneke, Hanneke, Janneke, and Joke).

In the 11th century the Norman duke William the Conqueror invaded and conquered England and brought his French knights and their dialect with him. In England, the name John came from the Anglo-Norman form Johan, itself from the Old French form Jehan. Prior to the standardization in English of the letter 'J', the letter 'I' was used interchangeably; following this shift, forms beginning in J- such as John began to be pronounced in their modern fashion with <dğ> rather than <j> (y). Seventeenth-century English texts still spelled the name Iohn. Since then, it has been spelled in its current form, John. The female form changed from Jehanne to Joanne, Joan and Jo.

Celtic derivatives[edit]

In Welsh, the name John is rendered as Ieuan (pronounced as Yay-an or Yey-an), and as Ifan (pronounced IV-an), Ianto (pronounced as Yan-to) or Ioan (pronounced as Yo-an) or Sîon (pronounced as Sh-on). Ifan eventually became rendered into English as Evan. In Irish it is written as Eoin (pronounced Oe-in) or Seán (pronounced Shawn). The latter is technically a Gaelicisation of the Norman-French 'Jean'. In some cases, the pronunciation of the original initial "Y"/"I" also changed to variants of "J", in Scotland it is Iain or Ian. These are not to be confused with Euan, Ewan, Ewen or Owen, that have a Celtic root rather than a Hebrew. In Cornish (archaically; J/Iowan) and Devon dialect the form is Jan which gives rises to the nickname of Plymothians as 'Janners' and the midsummer festival of St John ; Golowan.

Slavic, Hungarian and Albanian derivatives[edit]

In Hungarian, Johannes became János, and in the Slavic languages Ivan, Jan, Ján, Honza, Janez and Jovan. In Albanian, Gjoni , Xhon, Xhoni and Jovan is used for males.

Name statistics[edit]

John has been a common given name in English-speaking countries, and either it or William was the number one name in England and English-speaking North America from around 1550 until the middle of the twentieth century.

John was the most popular name given to male infants in the United States until 1924, and though its use has fallen off gradually since then, John was still the 20th most common name for boys on the Social Security Administration's list of names given in 2006.[8] In modern times John is the most common name in the United States, borne as a first or middle name by 39.93 people per thousand; of these, 72.86% have it as the given name.[citation needed] When the statistics of the name are compared to the population statistics of America, the approximate number of people named John in the USA is 12,328,091 and the number of Johns in the USA is increasing by 104,925 each year.[citation needed]

John was also long the most common male name in the United Kingdom, but by 2004 it had fallen out of the top 50 names for newborn boys in England and Wales.[9] By contrast Jack, which was a nickname for John but is now established as a name in its own right, was the most popular name given to newborn boys in England and Wales every year from 1995 to 2005.[9][10] However, John has not been a popular one for members of the royal family. The memory of King John is tainted by negative depictions of his turbulent reign and troublesome personality and by his role as villain in the Robin Hood stories;[citation needed] Prince John, the youngest son of Edward VII, died shortly after birth; and The Prince John, the sickly youngest son of George V, died at age 13. It was reported[citation needed] that Diana, Princess of Wales wished to name her first son (who was ultimately named Prince William) after her own father, John Spencer, but was dissuaded by royal tradition.

Common mistakes[edit]

Because the name Jonathan is sometimes abbreviated as Jon, John is often incorrectly considered to be a short form of Jonathan especially in the United States.[original research?] John comes from the Hebrew name Yôḥānān,[11] whereas Jonathan derives from the Hebrew יוֹנָתָן Yônāṯān,[12] which means "Gift from YHWH" and thus is a longer version of Nathan.

In other languages[edit]

language masculine form feminine form
Afrikaans Jan, Johan, Johann, Johannes, Hannes, Hans Johanna, Jana, Hanna
Albanian Gjin, Gjovan, Gjovalin, Gjovanin, Gjoni, Xhon, Jovan, Xhoni Gjovana, Gjonika, Joana
Amharic ዮሐንስ (Yoḥännǝs)
Arabic يحيى (Yaḥyā, Qurʾānic), يوحنا (Yūḥannā, Biblical)
Aramaic ܝܘܚܢܢ (Yuhanon)
Aragonese Chuan
Armenian Հովհաննես (Hovhannes); Classical Armenian: Յովհաննէս (Yovhannēs)
Asturian Xuan
Basque Jon, Manez, Ganix, Joanes, Iban Ibane, Jone
Belarusian Ян (Yan), Янка (Yanka), Янэк (Yanek), Ясь (Yas'), Iван (Ivan) Янiна (Yanina)
Bosnian Ivan
Breton Yann, Yannick
Bulgarian Иван (Ivan), Йоан (Yoan), Янко (Yanko), Яне (Yane) Ивана (Ivana), Иванка (Ivanka), Йоан[н]а (Yoana), Яна (Yana), Янка (Yanka)
Catalan Joan, Jan, Ivan Joana, Jana
Chinese Chinese: 約翰; pinyin: Yuēhàn; Jyutping: joek3 hon6; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: ióu hān
Cornish Jowan
Corsican Ghjuvanni Ghjuvanna
Croatian Ivan, Ivo, Ive, Ivica, Ivano, Ivanko, Janko, Ivek Ivana, Iva, Ivanka, Ivančica, Ivka
Czech Jan, Honza Jana
Danish Hans, Jens, Jan, Johan, Johannes Hanne, Johanne
Dutch Han, Hannes, Hans, Jan, Johan, Johannes, Sjeng Hanna, Janneke, Jannetje, Jantje, Johanna
English John, Johnny, Jack Joan, Joanna, Joanne, Joann, JoAnn, JoAnne, Jan, Jane, Jayne, Jayna, Janet, Janice, Janis, Jean, Jeane, Jeanne, Jeannie
Estonian Jaan, Juhan, Juho, Janno, Jukk, Jaanus, Hannes, Hans
Extremaduran Huan
Faroese Jógvan, Jóhan, Jóhannes, Jón
Filipino Juan Juana
Finnish Hannes, Hannu, Jani, Janne, Johannes, Juha, Juho, Juhani
French Jean, Johneq, Jehan (outdated) Jeanne, Jeannette (short), Jehane (outdated)
Galician Xoán, Xan
Georgian იოანე (Ioane), ივანე (Ivane), იოვანე (Iovane), ვანო (Vano), ივა (Iva)
German Hans, Hannes, Johannes, Johann, Jan Jana, Janina, Johanna, Hanna, Hanne
Greek Ιωάννης (Ioannis), Γιάννης(Yiannis, sometimes Giannis) Ιωάννα (Ioanna), Γιάννα (Yianna, sometimes Gianna)
Guaraní Huã
Hawaiian Keoni, Killedaman
Hebrew יוחנן (Yôḥānān) Johanan יוחנה (Yôḥannā) Johanna
Hungarian János Johanna, Hanna (moniker), Zsanett (moniker)
Icelandic Jóhann, Jóhannes, Jón, Hannes Jóhanna
Indonesian Yohanes, Yahya, Yaya, Yuan Yohana, Yana, Hana
Irish Seán, Eoin Sinéad, Seona, Siobhán, Síne, Siún
Italian Giovanni, Gianni, Giannino, Ivan, Ivano, Ivo, Vanni, Nino, Vannino Giovanna, Gianna, Giannina, Ivana, Iva, Nina, Vania
Japanese Yohane
Kazakh Жақия (Zhaqiya, Yahya) Шоқан (Shoqan)
Korean 요한 (Yohan, biblical)[13]
Kristang Juang
Latin Iohannes, Ioannes Iohn
Latvian Jānis Jana, Janīna, Janīne
Lithuanian Jonas Janina, Jonė, Janė, Joana
Lombard Giuàn
Macedonian Јован (Jovan), Јованче (Jovanče), Иван (Ivan), Јане (Jane) Јована (Jovana), Јованка (Jovanka), Ивана (Ivana), Иванка (Ivanka), Јана (Jana)
Malayalam യോഹന്നാൻ (Yōhannān) ഉലഹന്നാൻ(Ulahannan) ലോനപ്പൻ(Lonappan) നയിനാ൯(Nainan, Ninan)
Maltese Ġwanni
Māori Hōne
Norwegian Johan, Johannes
Persian یوحنا (Yohannan), یحیی (Yahya)
Piedmontese Gioann
Polish Jan Janina, Joanna
Portuguese João, Ivo, Ivã Joana, Iva
Romanian Ioan, Ionuţ, Ionel, Ionică, Nelu, Iancu Ioana
Russian Иван (Ivan), Иоанн (Ioann, Hebrew form) Яна (Yana), Жaннa (Janna), Иoaннa (Yoanna, Hebrew form)
Samoan Ioane
Samogitian Juons
Sardinian Giuanni
Scots Ian, John, Jock,
Scottish Gaelic Iain, Eòin, Seathan Seòna, Seònag, Seònaid, Siubhan, Sìne
Serbian Јован (Jovan), Иван (Ivan), Јанко (Janko), Јовица (Jovica), Ивица (Ivica), Ивко (Ivko) Јована (Jovana), Ивана (Ivana), Јованка (Jovanka), Иванка (Ivanka)
Sicilian Giuvanni
Sinhala Juvam, Yohan
Slovak Ján, Ivan Jana, Ivana, Ivona
Slovene Janez, Ivan, Ivo, Jan, Janko, Anže, Anžej
Spanish Juan, Iván Juana, Juanita
Swedish Jan, Johan, Junka, Johannes, John, Hans, Hannes, Hampus Johanna, Hanna
Syriac ܝܘܚܢܢ (Yoḥannan), ܚܢܐ (Ḥanna), ܐܝܘܢ (Ewan)
Tongan Sione
Turkish Yahya, Yuhanna, Jan
Ukrainian Іван (Ivan), Іванко (Ivanko)
Welsh Evan, Ianto, Ieuan, Ifan, Ioan, Siôn Siân, Sioned, Siwan

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hanks, Patrick; Hardcastle, Kate; Hodges, Flavia (2006), A Dictionary of First Names, Oxford Paperback Reference (2nd ed.), Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 146, ISBN 978-0-19-861060-1 
  2. ^ Behind the Name: John
  3. ^  Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "John". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
  4. ^ Bauckham, Richard (2006). Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony. p. 70. ISBN 0802831621. 
  5. ^ For example, Joan van der Capellen tot den Pol.
  6. ^ Behind the Name: Jón
  7. ^ For example, Jón Sigurðsson.
  8. ^ "Popular Baby Names". Ssa.gov. Retrieved February 26, 2011. 
  9. ^ a b "Top UK baby names 2004". Babycentre.co.uk. Retrieved February 26, 2011. 
  10. ^ "National Statistics". Statistics.gov.uk. September 8, 2009. Retrieved February 26, 2011. 
  11. ^ Mike Campbell. "Meaning, Origin and History of the Name John". Behind the Name. Retrieved February 26, 2011. 
  12. ^ Mike Campbell. "Meaning, Origin and History of the Name Jonathan". Behind the Name. Retrieved February 26, 2011. 
  13. ^ The Holy Bible. http://www.holybible.or.kr/B_GAE/cgi/bibleftxt.php?VR=GAE&VL=42&CN=1&CV=5 Retrieved January 23, 2013. See e.g. Luke 1:13,60,63