English variation of Johanna
"God is gracious"

Joan Origin and Meaning

The name Joan is a girl's name of English origin meaning "God is gracious".

Joan was the perfect name choice for one of the leading characters on Mad Men, being a quintessential girls' name of the period. A Top 10 name in the 30s, a Top 50 name from the 40s through the early 60s, it was the fifth most popular name in the country for three years running and ranks as one of the most common names for girls in the 20th century. But alas, Joan hasn't even appeared in the Top 1000 for a dozen years, and these days it's primarily associated with Joans of the generation of Joan Crawford, Joan Collins and Joan Rivers--just a few of the noted Joans whose ranks also include the singers Joan Sutherland, Joan Baez, Joan Armatrading and Joan Jett. But it's possible that modern parents who are reviving Jane might move on to Joan, inspired by Joan Hollaway Harris.

The first English bearer of the name was Henry II's daughter, Jhone, but the modern spelling was soon established, which is why Saint Jeanne d'Arc was translated as Joan, making her the most illustrious wearer of the name. By Shakespeare's time, Joan had become so overused that it was ripe for replacement by the newly coined Jane, the reverse of what happened in twentieth-century America.

Some livelier foreign versions of Joan include Giovanna, Siobhan, Ione and Juana.

# 896 in the US

Joan Rank in US Top 1000

# 636 on Nameberry

Joan Rank in Nameberry Top 1000

Joan Popularity

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Famous People Named Joan

  • Saint Joan of ArcFrench national heroine
  • JoanPrincess of Wales and Lady of Snowdon
  • Joan of Kent"The Fair Maid of Kent," Princess of Wales
  • Joan Crawford (born Lucille Fay LeSueur)American actress
  • Joan FontaineAmerican actress
  • Joan Ann PlowrightBaroness Olivier, English actress
  • Joan Alexandra RiversAmerican comedienne
  • Joan Marie JettAmerican musician, lead singer of Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
  • Joan DidionAmerican author
  • Joan Ganz CooneyAmerican TV producer; creator of Sesame Street
  • Joan Anita Barbara ArmatradingKittitian,British singer
  • Joan Chandos BaezAmerican singer,songwriter
  • Joan Henrietta CollinsEnglish actress and novelist
  • Joan AllenAmerican actress
  • Joan CusackAmerican actress
  • Joan Alston SutherlandAustralian operatic soprano
  • Melissa Joan HartAmerican actress
  • Joan Smalls (Rodriguez)Puerto Rican supermodel
  • Joan Letitia LaCockbirth name of American actress Joanne Dru
  • Joan Benoit SamuelsonAmerican Olympic marathoner
  • (Beatrice) Joan CaulfieldAmerican actress
  • Joan Bogle HicksonEnglish actress
  • Joan Alison Turner JaraBritish,Chilean dancer, widow of dancer Victor Jara
  • (Virginia) Joan Bennett Kennedywife of U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy
  • Joan Marie Laurer aka ChynaAmerican pro wrestler and actress
  • Joan LindsayLady Lindsay, Australian novelist
  • Joan OrensteinBritish,Canadian actress
  • Joan BeaufortCountess of Westmorland
  • Joan Olivia WyndhamEnglish memoirist
  • Joan ClarkeBritish cryptanalyst and numismatist
  • Joan Shakespearesister of William Shakespeare
  • Joan Taylor (born Rose Marie Emma)American actress
  • Joan Vollmerthe most prominent female member of the early Beat Generation circle
  • Joan Delano AikenEnglish author of supernatural fiction and children's alternative history novels, and daughter of Pulitzer Prize,winning author Conrad Aiken

Joan in Pop Culture

  • Joanmythical female pope
  • Joan Holloway Harrischaracter on TV's "Mad Men"
  • Joan Callamezzocharacter on TV's "Parks and Recreation"
  • Joan Campbellcharacter on TV's "Covert Affairs"
  • Joan Watsoncharacter on TV's "Elementary"
  • Joan Lelandcharacter in DC Universe
  • Joancharacter in movie "The Way Way Back"
  • Joan Girardimain character on TV's "Joan of Arcadia"
  • "Little Jumping Joan" nursery rhyme
  • Joancharacter in the graphic novel/musical "Fun Home"
  • Joan Terrycharacter in the "St Clare" book series by Enid Blyton
  • Joan Millarcharacter on TV's "Love Child"
  • Joan Lawsonmother on “Small Wonder”