- Meaning: Jonah is a name meaning “dove” or “pigeon.”
- Gender: Jonah is a traditionally masculine name.
- Origin: From the Hebrew word יוֹנָה or “Yonā.” Jonah is a significant figure in the Hebrew Bible, and the Book of Jonah is named after the Jewish prophet.
- Pronunciation: “JOW-nuh”
- Popularity: Jonah has had a resurgence in the last few decades and ranked 140th in the United States in 2021.
- Nicknames: Joe, JoJo, Jon, Joni.
- Variations: Giona, Ionas, Jonasz, Yonah, Younes.
- Namesakes: Jonah Goldberg, Jonah Hill, Jonah Peretti.
- What Does Jonah Mean?
- What Is the Origin of the Name Jonah?
- How Popular Is the Name Jonah?
- How Do I Pronounce Jonah?
- Is Jonah a Boy or Girl Name?
- Variations of Jonah
- Nicknames for Jonah
- Similar Names to Jonah
- Middle Names for Jonah
- Sibling Names for Jonah
- Famous People Named Jonah
- Jonah in Popular Culture
- Jonah FAQs
What Does Jonah Mean?
Jonah is a name meaning “dove” or “pigeon.” It is most commonly associated with doves and, therefore, peacefulness and harmony. It was originally a Hebrew name יוֹנָה, or “Yonā,” from the Hebrew Bible.
The name was translated into Latin and later English in the Christian New Testament. Its original meaning of “dove” remains in every variation.
What Is the Origin of the Name Jonah?
Jonah is a very important figure in both the Hebrew Bible, the Christian Old Testament, and the Quran. The Book of Jonah tells the story of the man and his relationship with God. Perhaps the most famous story from the book is Jonah and the Whale. Jonah is swallowed by a whale or large fish but manages to survive.
In Judaism and Islam, Jonah is an important prophet, and Christians see Jonah as a symbol of Jesus. To Jewish people, Jonah represents God’s forgiveness. As a religious figure, Jonah has a significant role in all three major Abrahamic religions, bridging Judaism, Christianity, and Islam together (1).
How Popular Is the Name Jonah?
Jonah has consistently ranked in the top 200 boys’ names in the USA for decades (2). It ranked 140th in 2021. While it is an ancient name with religious significance, it has only been in the top 1000 consistently since the 1970s. Jonah is also popular in Europe and the Middle East in several variations.
How Do I Pronounce Jonah?
Jonah is most commonly pronounced “JOW-nuh” in English-speaking countries.
Is Jonah a Boy or Girl Name?
Jonah is traditionally a name for boys, and there are few, if any, instances of it being given to a girl. However, Toibah, a Yiddish translation of “dove,” is predominantly feminine.
Variations of Jonah
Jonah has been a symbolic name for millennia and therefore has many geographic variations, including:
- Giona (Italian)
- Ionas (Greek)
- Jonas (German, Swedish, Lithuanian, Portuguese)
- Jonasz (Polish)
- Joona (Finnish)
- Yonah (Hebrew)
- Younes (Arabic)
- Yunus (Turkish)
Nicknames for Jonah
Jonah has lots of cute nicknames because of its two syllables and vowel placements, such as:
Similar Names to Jonah
If you like the name Jonah and are looking for something similar, try looking at other religious names. A few favorites include:
Middle Names for Jonah
If you’ve chosen the name Jonah for your future son and are looking for a middle name, here are some options that pair well. These names sound particularly good based on both the sounds and the number of syllables:
Sibling Names for Jonah
If you already have a son named Jonah and are looking for some possible sibling names, here are some excellent options:
For a Brother:
For a Sister:
Famous People Named Jonah
The most famous Jonah is, of course, the man swallowed by the whale in the Hebrew Bible. Many parents have been inspired by the original Jonah, so it’s little surprise there are several notable namesakes:
- Jonah Bolden: Australian-American NBA player who played for the Philadelphia 76ers and then the Phoenix Suns.
- Jonah Goldstein: American conservative political commentator notable for founding “National Review Online.”
- Jonah Hill: American actor famous for his comedy movies including “21 Jump Street”and “Superbad.”
- Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole: The last prince of the Kingdom of Hawai’i and member of the American congress once Hawai’i became a US territory.
- Jonah Peretti: American journalist and entrepreneur famous for co-founding Buzzfeed and The Huffington Post.
- Jonah Ray: American actor, comedian, and writer who hosts the TV show “Mystery Science Theater 3000.”
Jonah in Popular Culture
Jonah has been a meaningful name for thousands of years. The original Jonah has his book, and there have been many others since:
- Jonah Byrde: Major character in the Netflix TV drama “Ozark.”
- Jonah Hex: Bounty hunter antihero in various DC Comics.
- J Jonah Jamieson: Journalist appearing in many Spider-Man comic books.
- Jonah Simms: Character in the popular American sitcom “Superstore.”
- Jonah Wizard: Character in the successful book franchise “39 Clues.”
We’ve covered all the basic information about the name Jonah. Here are some answers to a few more frequently asked questions.