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John Name Meaning

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

John

  • Meaning: John means “graced by God.” It is of Hebrew origin and was originally spelled and known as “Yohanan” before becoming “John” in English-speaking countries. The name means strength, intelligence, and sincerity and is typically given to boys.
  • Gender: John is a name primarily given to boys, though there are female iterations such as Jackie, Jacqueline, Jana, Jane, Janet, Jeanne, Jeannie, Joan, Joanna, or Johanna.
  • Origin: The name found popularity in the Old Testament. It grew in popularity from there when religious figures and royalty of the time adopted the name. When John was introduced in the New Testament, the name found global popularity as Christianity expanded.
  • Pronunciation: John is pronounced simply as “JON.”
  • Popularity: John is a very popular name. It is one of the most used names in many cultures and languages. In the last 20 years, John has remained in the top 20 names for boys.
  • Nicknames: Jack, Jackie, Jay, Johnny, Johnnie.
  • Variations: Gianni, Giovanni, Hans, Iban, Ivan, Jan, Janek, Jean, Johann, Jowan, Juan, Yohanes.
  • Namesakes: John Lennon, singer and songwriter.

What Does the Name John Mean?

John is a name from the Hebrew Yohanan, which means “graced by God” (1). Its other common spellings included Yochanan and Johanan before becoming “John” in English.

The name John also symbolizes strength, intelligence, and sincerity. It is typically given to boys and is a biblical name that first appeared in the Old Testament, where it meant “Yahweh has been gracious.”

What Is the Origin of the Name John?

From Hebrew origins in the Old Testament, John was commonly used for multiply figures in the Old Testament. It was originally Yôḥānān or Yəhôḥānān. It grew in popularity from there when religious figures of the time adopted the name, as did royalty.

It became one of the popular names for men in Judea. It took over as a popular Semitic name across widespread Jewish communities, causing many variations. When John was introduced in the New Testament, the name found global popularity as Christianity expanded (2).

How Popular Is the Name John?

John is a very popular name. It is one of the most used names in many cultures and languages. Though it has fallen in popularity in the second half of the 20th century, it remains a common first, middle name, and even last name in English-speaking countries. In the last 20 years, John has remained in the top 30 names for boys (3).

The name’s popularity began with a few historical/biblical figures, primarily John the Baptist and the apostle John. In addition, royalty, rulers, and other prominent figures also started receiving that name.

How Do I Pronounce John?

John is most commonly pronounced simply as “JON.”

Is John a Boy or Girl Name?

John is primarily given to boys. However, there are feminine uses for the name John or Johnnie. Some include Jackie, Jacqueline, Jana, Jane, Janet, Jeanne, Jeannie, Joan, Joanna, and Johanna.

Variations of John

There are vast amounts of variations for the name John.

Some, but not all, include:

  • Gianni
  • Giovanni
  • Hans
  • Iban
  • Ivan
  • Jan
  • Janek
  • Jean
  • Johann
  • Jowan
  • Juan
  • Yohanes

These are just a sample of the many variations—John is a widespread and popular name.

Nicknames for John

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

Some of those nicknames include:

  • Jack
  • Jackie
  • Jay
  • Johnnie
  • Johnny

Similar Names to John

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

Some of those similar names include:

Middle Names for John

John is often a middle name itself, but some great pairings with it as a first name include:

Sibling Names for John

Many names go great alongside John for a sibling, whether boy or girl. Some of them include:

For a brother:

And for a sister:

  • Anna
  • Annabella
  • Bryony
  • Hannah
  • Hazel
  • Isobel
  • Isobella
  • Kate
  • Katie
  • Lillian
  • Lily
  • Phoebe
  • Rebecca

Famous People Named John

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

  • John Denver: American singer and songwriter.
  • John Krasinsky: American television and film actor and director.
  • John Lennon: British singer and songwriter from The Beatles.
  • John Travolta: American film actor.
  • John Williams: American composer of film scores.

John in Popular Culture

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

You might recognize:

  • Johnny Cage: Fictional character from the Mortal Kombat video game franchise.
  • John McClaine: Fictional character from Die Hard film series.
  • John Rambo: A main character from the First Blood film franchise.
  • Jon Snow: Character from the television and book series, Game of Thrones.
  • John Wick: Protagonist from the film series with the same name.

John FAQs

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

Is John a Good Boy Name?

As a variation on the Hebrew Yochanan, the English John has become a name connotating familiarity, strength, and kindness. Though it was once popular, it has fallen off in popularity and therefore is classic without being overused. It is a good name for boys.

Why is John Called Jack?

When the name was taken from its original form, the Hebrew name Yochanan, the name John exploded in popularity. At that time, the name Jack was used for any random person you might find on the street. John and Jack then became synonymous and interchangeable—a testament to its popularity.

Is John an Irish Name?

John is a name in every English-speaking country in the world, including Ireland. In the Irish language, Eoin, Eòin, Eoghan, and Eòghan are takes on the name John.

Why is John Spelled With an H?

The name John had roots in the Latin form of it, spelled Iohannes. This name was a variation of the Hebrew name Yochanan, which both had an h in the spelling. This translated to the English variation when it appeared.