John (given name)

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Saint John The Baptist Preaching In The Wilderness by Anton Raphael.png
18th century painting of John the Baptist by Anton Raphael Mengs
Name dayJune 24
Meaning"Yahweh has been Gracious",[1] "Graced by Yahweh" (Johanan)
Other names
Nickname(s)Jack, Johnny, Jackie
Related namesEvan, Eoin, Evandro, Evaristo, Ewan, Giannis, Giovanni, Hanan, Hans, Hovhannes, Ian, Iban, Ieuan, Ioan, Ioane, Ioannis, Ivan, Iven, Ifan, Jaan, Jack, Jackson, Jan, Jane, Janez, Janos, Jean, Jhon, Joan, João, Johan /Johann, Johanan, Johannes, Jon, Jovan, Juan, Juhani, Sean, Shane, Siôn, Yahya, Yehya, Yehia, Yannis, Younan, Yohannes, Yunus,
Popularitysee popular names

John (/ɒn/; JON) is a common male given name in the English language of Semitic origin. The name is the English form of Iohannes and Ioannes, which are the Latin forms of the Greek name Ioannis (Ιωάννης), originally borne by Hellenized Jews transliterating the Hebrew name Yochanan (יוֹחָנָן‎), the contracted form of the longer name Yehochanan (יְהוֹחָנָן‎), meaning "Yahweh is Gracious" or "Yahweh is Merciful". There are numerous forms of the name in different languages; these were formerly often simply translated as "John" in English, but are increasingly left in their native forms (see sidebar).[2]

It is among the most common given names in Anglophone, Arabic, European, Latin American, Persian and Turkish countries. Traditionally in the Anglosphere, it was the most common, although it has not been since the latter half of the 20th century. John owes its unique popularity to two highly revered saints, John the Baptist (forerunner of Jesus Christ) and the apostle John (traditionally considered the author of the Gospel of John); the name has since been chosen as the regnal or religious name of many emperors, kings, popes and patriarchs. Initially, it was a favorite name among the Greeks but it flourished in all of Europe after the First Crusade.[3]


John, a name of Hebrew origin, is very popular in the Western World, and has given many variants depending on the language: Shaun, Eoin, Ian, Juan, Ivan, and Yahya. Click on the image to see the diagram in full detail.

The name John is a theophoric name originating from the Hebrew name יוֹחָנָן‎ (Yôḥānān), or in its longer form יְהוֹחָנָן‎ (Yəhôḥānān), meaning "Yahweh has been gracious".[1] 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 has also long extended among Semitic women Near Eastern Christian peoples such as the Assyrians, Syriac Arameans and Maronites, with various derivatives extant, such as, Youkhanna Youkhanan and "Youhanan".

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 and Ion. In Iberia the name eventually changed to the Spanish Juan, feminine Juana; in the medieval Portuguese it was Juo / Joane / Joan, now João (pronounced [ʒuˈɐ̃w]), feminine Joana, and also Ivo; in Galician, the orthography is Xan or Xoán, feminine Xoana. 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. In Ladin, it became Giuani.

In Moldavia and Wallachia, the name became a title abbreviated as Io used mainly by the royalty.

Germanic derivatives[edit]

The Germanic languages (including German, English and Scandinavian) produced the masculine Johann (also Johan (Dutch)), Joan,[5] Jan and Janke (Dutch), Jannis, Jens (Danish and Frisian), Jóhannes, Jóhann, (Icelandic and Faroese), Jön (Swedish), Hans (German, Dutch and Scandinavian)[6][7] and the feminine Johanna (also the Dutch diminutives Johanneke, Hanneke, Janneke, and Joke). In England, the name John came from the Anglo-French language 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 ⟨dʒ⟩ rather than ⟨j⟩ (y).[citation needed] Seventeenth-century English texts still spelled the name Iohn. Since then, it has been spelled in its current form, John. The feminine form changed from Jehanne to Joanne, Joan and Jo.

Celtic derivatives[edit]

In Welsh, the name John is rendered as Ieuan (pronounced [ˈjəɨan]), Ifan (pronounced [ˈɪvan]), Iwan (pronounced [ˈɪwan]), Ioan (pronounced [ˈjoːan]) or, borrowed from English, Siôn (pronounced [ʃoːn]). A pet form is Ianto (pronounced [ˈjantɔ]). Ifan eventually became rendered into English as Evan. In Irish, it is written as (pronounced [ˈoːənˠ]), Eóin, (pronounced [ˈoːənʲ]) or Seán (pronounced [ʃaːn̪ˠ]). The last is 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. In Cornish (archaically; Jowan/Iowan) and Devon dialects, the form Jan gives rise to the nickname of Plymothians as 'Janners' and the midsummer festival of St. John, Golowan. The Breton form of this name is Yann, the Manx is Juan, and the Cornish is Yowann.

Central and Eastern European derivatives[edit]

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

Arabic derivatives[edit]

Henna (Arabic: حنّا) is a common Arabic translation of John as are Yūḥannā (Arabic: يُوحَنّا) and Yaḥyā (Arabic: يحيى). All are common Arabic male given names. And because Yahyā/John the Baptist is a prophet in Islam, Yahya is a very common name among Muslims.

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 20th century.[citation needed]

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 first 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 US is 12,328,091 and the number of Johns in the country is increasing by 104,925 each year.[citation needed]

John was also among the most common masculine names 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 Alexander John, the youngest son of Edward VII, died shortly after birth; and another Prince John, the sickly youngest son of George V, died at age 13.

In other languages[edit]

Language Masculine form Feminine form
Afrikaans Jan, Johan, Johann, Johannes, Hannes, Hans Hanna, Jana, Janke, Johanna
Albanian Gjon, Gjin, Joan, Jani Gjonika
Amharic ዮሐንስ (Yoḥännǝs)
Arabic يحيى (Yaḥyā, Qurʾānic), يوحنا (Yūḥannā, Biblical) or حنّا (Henna or Hanna)
Aramaic (Syriac) ܝܘܚܢܢ (Yuḥanon), ܚܢܐ (Henna or Hanna), ܐܝܘܢ (Ewan)
Aragonese Chuan Chuana
Armenian Հովհաննես (Hovhannes); Օհաննես (Ohannes); Classical Armenian: Յովհաննէս (Hovhannēs)
Asturian Xuan Xuana
Basque Manez, Ganix, Joanes, Iban Ibane, Jone
Belarusian Ян (Yan), Янка (Yanka), Янэк (Yanek), Ясь (Yas'), Іван (Ivan) Янiна (Yanina)
Bengali ইয়াহিয়া (Iyahiya), য়াহয়া (Yahya)
Bosnian Ivan, Jahija Ivana
Breton Yann, Yannig Jan, Janig, Yannez
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, Janna
Chinese simplified Chinese: 约翰; traditional Chinese: 約翰; pinyin: Yuēhàn
Coptic ⲓⲱϩⲁⲛⲛⲏⲥ (Iohannes), ⲓⲱⲁ (Ioa)
Cornish Jowan
Corsican Ghjuvanni Ghjuvanna
Croatian Ivan, Ivo, Ive, Ivica, Ivano, Ivanko, Janko, Ivek Ivana, Iva, Ivanka, Ivančica, Ivka
Czech Jan, Honza, Hanuš Jana, Johana, Johanka
Danish Hans, Jens, Jan, Johan, Johannes, Hanne, Johanne
Dawan Yohanes Yohana
Dutch Han, Hannes, Hans, Jan, Johan, Johannes, Jannes, Jens, Wannes, Sjeng Hanne, Hanna, Hannah, Jana, Janke, Janne, Janneke, Jannetje, Jantje, Johanna
Emiliano-Romagnolo Guiàn, Zvan
English Evan, Ian, John, Johnny, Jack, Shawn, Sean, Shaun, Shane, Shani Joan, Joanna, Joanne, Joann, Jan, Jane, Jayne, Jayna, Janet, Janice, Janis, Jean, Jeane, Jeanne, Jeannie, Luan, Shany
Estonian Jaan, Juhan, Juho, Janno, Jukk, Jaanus, Johannes, Hannes, Hans Jaana, Johanna
Esperanto Johano
Extremaduran Huan
Faroese Jann, Janus, Jens, Jenis, Jóan, Jóannes, Jónar, Jógvan, Jóhann, Jóhannes, Hannis, Hanus, Hans[11]
Fijian Jone, Ioane
Filipino Juan Juana
Finnish Johannes, Jussi, Janne, Jani, Juho, Juha, Juhana, Juhani, Jukka, Juntti (archaic), Hannes, Hannu[12] Joni, Jonne Johanna, Joanna, Jonna, Janette, Janna, Jaana, Hanna, Hanne
French Jean, Jehan (outdated) Jeanne, Jeannette (short), Jehane (outdated)
Galician Xoán, Xan Xoana
Georgian იოანე (Ioane), ივანე (Ivane), იოვანე (Iovane), ვანო (Vano), ივა (Iva)
German Hans, Hannes, Johannes, Johann, Jan, Jens Jana, Janina, Johanna, Hanna, Hanne
Greek Ιωάννης (Ioannis), Γιάννης (Yiannis, sometimes Giannis) Ιωάννα (Ioanna), Γιάννα (Yianna, sometimes Gianna)
Guaraní Huã
Hawaiian Keoni, ʻIoane
Hebrew יוחנן (Yôḥānān) Johanan יוחנה (Yôḥannā) Johanna
Hungarian János, Iván, Jancsi (moniker) Johanna, Hanna, Zsanett, Janka
Icelandic Jóhann, Jóhannes, Jón, Hannes Jóhanna
Indian/Hindi Yohana, Yuhanna, Ayan
Indian/Telugu యెాహాను Yohanu యెాహన్న yohanna
Indonesian/Malay Iwan, Yahya, Yan, Yaya, Johan, Yohanes, Yuan Yohana, Yana, Hana
Interlingua Luan Luana
Irish Seán, Shaun, Eóin Sinéad, Seona, Seána Siobhán, Síne, Siún
Italian Gianni, Giannino, Gionino, Giovanni, Ivan, Ivano, Ivo, Vanni, Nino, Vannino Giovanna, Gianna, Giannina, Ivana, Iva, Nina, Vania
Japanese ヨハネ (Yohane), ジョハン (Johan)
Kazakh Жақия (Zhaqiya, Yahya), Шоқан (Shoqan)
Kyrgyz Жакыя (Jakyya, Yahya), Жакан (Jakan)
Korean 요한 (Yohan)[13]
Kristang Juang
Kupang Malay Yohanis Yohana
Latin Iohannes, Ioannes Iohn
Latvian Jānis, Janis, Jancis, Janka, Jans, Jāns, Jānuss, Jānušs, Jonass, Žans, Žanis, Džons, Džonijs, Džanni, Džovanni, Ians, Īans, Džeks, Šeins, Johans, Hans, Hanss, Ansis, Johaness, Johanness, Johanāns, Haness, Hanness, Ivans, Aivans, Aivens, Aiens Jana, Janīna, Janīne, Džoana, Džoanna, Džanīna, Dženeta, Johanna, Hanna, Anna
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
Mandaic Yuhana
Māori Hoani, Hōne
Norwegian Johan, Johannes, John, Jon, Jan, Hans
Persian یوحنا (Yohannan), یحیی (Yahya)
Piedmontese Gioann
Polish Jan, Janek Janina, Joanna
Portuguese João, Ivo, Ivan, Ivã Joana, Iva, Ivana
Romanian Ioan, Ionuț, Ionel, Ionică, Nelu, Iancu Ioana, Ionela
Russian Иван (Ivan), Иоанн (Ioann, Hebrew form), Ян (Yan) Яна (Yana), Жaннa (Žanna), Иoaннa (Yoanna, Hebrew form)
Samoan Ioane Ioana
Samogitian Juons
Sardinian Giuanni
Scots Ian, John, Jock, Janet, Jonet
Scottish Gaelic Ian, Iain, Eòin, Seathan, Euan/Ewan, 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, Giuanni Giuvanna, Giuanna
Sinhala Juwam, Yohan
Slovak Ján, Johan Jana, Johana
Slovene Janez, Ivan, Ivo, Jan, Janko, Anže, Anžej
Spanish Juan, Jon, Nuño Juana, Juanita, Nuña
Swedish Jan, Johan, Johannes, John, Hans, Hannes Johanna, Hanna
Sylheti য়াহয়া (Yahya)
Syriac (Aramaic) ܝܘܚܢܢ (Yuḥanon), ܚܢܐ (Ḥanna), ܐܝܘܢ (Ewan)
Tamil யோவான் (Yovaan)
Tongan Sione
Turkish Yahya, Yuhanna
Ukrainian Іван (Ivan), Іванко (Ivanko), Ян (Jan) Іванна (Ivanna), Іванка (Ivanka), Яна (Jana)
Valencian Joan Joana
Vietnamese Dương, Giăng, Gioan
Welsh Evan, Ianto, Ieuan, Ifan, Ioan, Siôn Siân, Sioned, Siwan

People with name John[edit]











Colonial people[edit]

  • John Custis (1678–1749), North American Colonial British politician
  • John Parke Custis (1754–1781), son of Martha Washington
  • John Wayles (1715–1773), American colonial planter and slave trader



  • Bible John, unidentified serial killer
  • Jihadi John (1988–2015), nickname for Kuwaiti–born British militant Mohammed Emwazi
  • John Doe, placeholder name for an anonymous person

Fictional characters[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "John" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ Behind the Name: John.
  4. ^ Bauckham, Richard (2006). Jesus Christ and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony. p. 70. ISBN 0-8028-3162-1.
  5. ^ For example, Joan van der Capellen tot den Pol.
  6. ^ Campbell, Mike. "Behind the Name: Meaning, origin and history of the name Jón". Behind the Name.
  7. ^ For example, Jón Sigurðsson.
  8. ^ "Popular Baby Names". Retrieved February 26, 2011.
  9. ^ a b "Top UK baby names 2004". Archived from the original on April 6, 2006. Retrieved February 26, 2011.
  10. ^ "National Statistics". September 8, 2009. Archived from the original on May 22, 2011. Retrieved February 26, 2011.
  11. ^ Faroe Media. "Málráðið".
  12. ^
  13. ^ "성경 (See e.g. Luke 1:13,60,63)" (in Korean). Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea. Retrieved January 23, 2013.