Biblical Jacob ceded his Number 1 spot to biblical Noah, in 2013, after holding first place from 1999 to 2012, having been given a huge boost by the Twilight phenomenon. Jacob has widespread appeal to a range of parents, with an image of honesty and warmth. Another plus is the friendly nickname Jake -- also given on its own to thousands of boys every year -- which shares the cool appeal of equally stylish cousins Max and Sam.
The downside is that Jacob is at this point way overused. In the Old Testament, Jacob was one of the most important patriarchs of the tribes of Israel. He was the youngest son of Isaac and Rebecca and the twin brother of Esau, as well as the husband of both Leah and Rachel. The 12 tribes of Israel evolved from his 12 sons.
Jacoby is a rapidly rising variation. Jakob, meanwhile, is an alternate spelling used by the Dutch, Scandinavians and Germans. Some interesting international versions include the Scottish Hamish, the Cornish Jago and the Dutch Jaap.
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