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Gender: F Meaning of Janet: "God's gracious gift" Origin of Janet: Diminutive of Jane

Popularity: this week.

Janet started as a pet form of Jane, but has long been used independently. Five hundred years ago Janet was a royal favorite in Scotland, where it remains a popular choice. Here, however, Janet has been on a downhill slide since the 1960s, with Grandma Janet now knitting booties for baby Janae. Or even, increasingly, Jane.

There have been several Janets recently involved in US government, Janet is a leading member of the Jackson family, and Janet Evanovich is a bestselling author; and in the past there have been first Best Actress Oscar winner Gaynor, Psycho screamer Janet Leigh, and the mother of Jackie Kennedy.

There are several attractive foreign versions that might prove appealing alternate namesakes for Gran Jan--Gianetta, Zaneta, Janneth, Sinead or Janica.

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Famous People Named Janet

Janet Damita Jo Jackson, American pop singer
Janet Leigh, American actress
Janet Gaynor, American actress
Janet Reno, former U.S. attorney general
Janet Napolitano, former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security and Arizona governor
Janet McTeer, English actress
Janet Evans, American swimmer
Janet Lee Bouvier, mother of former U.S. First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis
Janet Evanovich, American novelist
Janet Susan Mary "Viva" Hoffman, American actress
Janet Henfrey, English actress
Janet Maslin, American journalist and movie critic
Janet Lee, Taiwanese-American tennis player
Janet Street-Porter, British media personality
Janet Waldo, American actress
Janet C. Wolfenbarger, highest-ranking woman in the U.S. Air Force
Janet Wright, Canadian actress and director
Janet Yellen, American economist and Federal Reserve Chair
Janet Meakin Poor, American landscape designer
Janet Lennon, singer with American girl group The Lennon Sisters
Janet Lynn, American Olympic figure skater
Janet Jagan, former prime minister and president of Guyana
Janet Carr, Australian TV producer
Janet Ellis, British TV presenter

Pop Culture References for the Name Janet

Janet Weiss, character in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show"
Interplanet Janet, character on TV's "Schoolhouse Rock"
Janet Wood, character on TV's "Three's Company"
Janet and John, main characters in British postwar primary (elementary) school reading textbooks
Janet, character in The Magic School Bus series
Janet "Jay" Kyle, character on TV's "My Wife and Kids"
Janet Leach, character in the movie "Appropriate Adult"
Janet "Butterfly," character in the Orphans series by V.C. Andrews
"Janet's Big Dance Number," song by Frank Zappa

Janeta, Janetta, Janette, Janit, Jannet, Jannetta, Janot, Jenetta, Jenette, Jennet, Jennette, Jinnet, Jinnett

Janet's International Variations

Gianetta (Italian) Zaneta (Russian) Janneth (Scottish) Sioned (Welsh)