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Gender: Female Meaning of Joan: "God is gracious" Origin of Joan: English variation of Johanna

The name Joan is a girl's name of English origin meaning "God is gracious". Joan and is often added to lists like Middle Names for Girls and discussed in our forums with posts like "{girls} love/like/lose: alt. version".

From the experts:

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.

Find other names based on Joan using our baby name generator.

Famous People Named Joan

Saint Joan of Arc, French national heroine
Joan, Princess 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 Fontaine, American actress
Joan Ann Plowright, Baroness Olivier, English actress
Joan Alexandra Rivers, American comedienne
Joan Marie Jett, American musician, lead singer of Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
Joan Didion, American author
Joan Ganz Cooney, American TV producer; creator of Sesame Street
Joan Anita Barbara Armatrading, Kittitian-British singer
Joan Chandos Baez, American singer-songwriter
Joan Henrietta Collins, English actress and novelist
Joan Allen, American actress
Joan Cusack, American actress
Joan Alston Sutherland, Australian operatic soprano
Melissa Joan Hart, American actress
Joan Smalls (Rodriguez), Puerto Rican supermodel
Joan Letitia LaCock, birth name of American actress Joanne Dru
Joan Benoit Samuelson, American Olympic marathoner
(Beatrice) Joan Caulfield, American actress
Joan Bogle Hickson, English actress
Joan Alison Turner Jara, British-Chilean dancer, widow of dancer Victor Jara
(Virginia) Joan Bennett Kennedy, wife of U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy
Joan Marie Laurer aka Chyna, American pro wrestler and actress
Joan Lindsay, Lady Lindsay, Australian novelist
Joan Orenstein, British-Canadian actress
Joan Beaufort, Countess of Westmorland
Joan Olivia Wyndham, English memoirist
Joan Clarke, British cryptanalyst and numismatist
Joan Shakespeare, sister of William Shakespeare
Joan Taylor (born Rose Marie Emma), American actress
Joan Vollmer, the most prominent female member of the early Beat Generation circle
Joan Delano Aiken, English author of supernatural fiction and children's alternative history novels, and daughter of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Conrad Aiken

Pop Culture References for the name Joan

Joan, mythical female pope
Joan Holloway Harris, character on TV's "Mad Men"
Joan Callamezzo, character on TV's "Parks and Recreation"
Joan Campbell, character on TV's "Covert Affairs"
Joan Watson, character on TV's "Elementary"
Joan Leland, character in DC Universe
Joan, character in movie "The Way Way Back"
Joan Girardi, main character on TV's "Joan of Arcadia"
"Little Jumping Joan," nursery rhyme
Joan, character in the graphic novel/musical "Fun Home"
Joan Terry, character in the "St Clare" book series by Enid Blyton
Joan Millar, character on TV's "Love Child"

Jonette, Joanie, Joani, Jonee, Joni

Joan's International Variations

Jone (Basque) Sion (Welsh) Siobhán (Irish Gaelic) Seonag (Scottish Gaelic)


Kaylon O. Centres Says:


This name along with Jean are a change of pace from the frequently-used Jane. I'd consider it for a daughter in the future to honor my mother, Jeanette and great-grandmother, Janie.

bordercollie Says:


I love Joan, such a simple, strong name. Joan is nothing particularly special, but it's quiet, straightforward, and wearable. Retro and dusty, but not at all unusable. It may be plain, but it's versatile. Anyone can be a Joan.

danirose01 Says:


Husband and I are considering Joan as a middle name, as we both have grandma Joans. Not our style for a first name, but it's certainly strong, sophisticated, and has positive associations for us.

Theodora Graham Says:


Joan is very simple and classic, and I love the Joan of Arc association.

Impwood Says:


I prefer Joan to Jane. She feels more stalwart, and is pleasingly retro.

Chloe14 Says:


I know people with the name Joan. I think it's a pretty name. And I'm thinking about adding it to my list. :)

Robert Says:


Who are either of those people?

ashbee Says:


I've seen it said before: Joan is handsome, not flashy. She's got substance.

TaliaCat Says:


Groan at Joan... Plainest name ever.

Noey Says:


My fiance likes this name. I don't think I would mind it so much if I didn't work with such an awful woman at my last job that had this name.

Guest Says:


I actually love this. There's always one or two super old lady names that my heart opens to 😝

jan11th Says:


Favourite common name!

JazzieJonez Says:


I honestly love the name Joan. It's cute and simple and honest. It's very old in a classic, traditional sense like Elizabeth and I think it's better the "trendier" names people are naming their children.

sashapizzarova Says:


The supermodel Joan Smalls makes it younger. Like Barbara Palvin makes Barbara younger.

CocoWhite Says:


Weird how, even with a tough-as-nails namesake like Joan Jett, this name still resides as a tired grandma name.

KiwiMarie Says:


Joan is going to make a comeback. I can feel it. It's strong and commanding, yet simple, has great historical clout, could be used to honor a relative...massive revival potential.