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Jacob Name Meaning

Updated
Learn about the name Jacob including the meaning, gender, origin, popularity, and more.

Jacob Overview

  • Meaning: The name Jacob was taken from the Old Testament. It means “supplanter,” which can be interpreted as a person who seizes, circumvents, or usurps. In Hebrew, the name can also translate to “may God protect”
  • Gender: Jacob is typically a name given to boys. There are female iterations of it as well, such as Jacobina, Jacobine, or Jacqueline.
  • Origin: Jacob is a late-Latin name. It was associated with the name James, though they came about at the same time. In its early form, Jacob was pronounced and written in Hebrew form, Iokobos. In the first book of the Bible, Genesis, twin brothers with the names Jacob and Esau were born.
  • Pronunciation: The most popular way in the US to pronounce Jacob is “JAY-kuhb.” Other pronunciations emphasize other syllables or make the ‘j’ a ‘y’ sound, such as “YA-kuhb.”
  • Popularity: Jacob is a very popular name. It is often in the top five names given to boys in the US, if not the number 1.
  • Nicknames: Jaap, Jake, Jay.
  • Variations: Jac, Jakob, Jakobus, Jakov, Jakobo, Jakubina, Jakub, Jacobo,
  • Namesakes: Patriarch Jacob of Alexandria, Greek patriarch of Alexandria.

What Does the Name Jacob Mean?

The name Jacob is from the Old Testament. It means “supplanter,” which can interpret as a person who seizes, circumvents, or usurps. Jacob is traditionally given to boys but serves as a less common last name.

The name is related closely to the name James as well. Many characters in the bible had the names interchangeably depending on which version it was. In Hebrew, the name can also translate to “may God protect.” (1)

What Is the Origin of the Name Jacob?

Jacob is a late-Latin name. It was associated with the name James, though they came about together. In its earliest form, Jacob was pronounced and written in Hebrew as Iokobos.

In the first book of the Bible, Genesis, twin brothers Jacob and Esau were born. Jacob went on to hold onto his brother’s heels as they were born, supplanting him (2).

How Popular Is the Name Jacob?

Jacob is a very popular name and one of the most popular names ever. From 2000 to 2010, Jacob was the single most popular name in the US for new male babies.

How Do I Pronounce Jacob?

There are a few ways to pronounce Jacob, the most popular way in the US is “JAY-kuhb.”

Other pronunciations emphasize other syllables or make the ‘j’ a ‘y’ sound, such as “YA-kuhb.”

Is Jacob a Boy or Girl Name?

Jacob is traditionally a boy’s name. There are also female iterations of the name, such as Jacobina, Jacobine, or Jacqueline.

Variations of Jacob

For a name as globally spread as Jacob, there are endless variations.

Some, but definitely not all of, them include:

  • Diego
  • Giacôbê
  • Giacóp
  • Hakob
  • Hamish
  • Iacob
  • Iacov
  • Iakopo
  • Iago
  • Jac
  • Jacob
  • Jakob
  • Jakobus
  • Jakov
  • Jakobo
  • Jakubina
  • Jakub
  • Jacobo
  • Jaime
  • Jakob
  • Jaka
  • Jakọbù
  • Jakobe
  • Ja’quʙ
  • Santiago
  • Seumas
  • Siam
  • Tiago
  • Yacquub
  • Ya‘ik’obi
  • Yakup
  • Yakiv
  • Ya’kub
  • Yoqub
  • Yakob
  • Ya’qub
  • Yākūba nē
  • Yago
  • Yakob
  • Yakobo
  • Yakub
  • Yaʿqub
  • Yaqo
  • Yaqko

Though these names are recognizable, none are quite as popular as the Jacob we know. Again, these are just a small sample of the many variations—a testament to its global popularity.

Nicknames for Jacob

But for how many variations there are, only a few nicknames exist.

Some of those nicknames include:

  • Jaap
  • Jake
  • Jay

Similar Names to Jacob

There are also a handful of names similar to Jacob, many of which are also biblical.

Some of those similar names include:

Middle Names for Jacob

Some of the most common first/middle name pairings for Jacob include:

Sibling Names for Jacob

Similar to middle names, many names go great alongside Jacob.

For a brother:

And for a sister:

Famous People Named Jacob

There are also many famous people named Jacob. Some of the most famous include:

  • Patriarch Jacob of Alexandria: A Greek patriarch of Alexandria.
  • Saint Jakov: Archbishop of Serbs (1286–1292)
  • Saint Jacob of Alaska: A missionary of the Orthodox Church.
  • Saint Jacob of Nisibis: The Bishop of Nisibis.

Jacob in Popular Culture

Today, many Jacobs are characters in pop culture as well.

You might recognize:

  • Jake the Dog: Fictional character in the TV series Adventure Time.
  • Jacob Marley: A fictional character from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
  • Jacob Harper: Actor from the television series, Two and a Half Men.

Jacob FAQs

There might be some other questions in your mind about the name Jacob. Let’s look at some.

What is Jacob Short For?

Jacob is not short for any name. It is closely related to the name James and can often be used interchangeably or on its own if desired. The characters in the bible with these names were referred to by both, depending on which version.

Is Jacob a Strong Name?

In 2013, Jacob was designated in the top 20 names in the USA for males. This demonstrates that the name has a strong presence that still resonates with culture to this day.

Is Jacob An Attractive Name?

For being such as classic name, Jacob takes on some connotations. Some of them include good looks and a personality suitable for anyone.

What Personality Does Jacob Have?

Jacob has a particular personality type. It assumes compassion and sympathy while also carrying generosity and strength. Many Jacobs are not concerned with exterior looks and instead focus on interiority.

What Animal Represents the Name Jacob?

Jacob in the United Kingdom can reference a certain type of sheep.

Is Jacob a Catholic Name?

Jacob is a Catholic name and a name in most other religions as well.

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