Name Sage: Girl Name Honoring Jacob

Iris needs a J middle name, but mom would rather not go with Jaclyn

a Name Sage post by: Abby View all Name Sage posts

Jennifer writes:

I am due soon with our third child and my husband and I are having some problems finalizing a name.  We have a common Jewish last name (also popular as a first name).  

We have two children, Milo Efrem and Reva Whitney.  While their names did take us some time to get to, we were in agreement and the process seemed easier than this time around.  Since my husband and I both have very common names, we wanted names for our children that are not overused but also not weird.

We are fairly settled on Iris for a first name, in honor of my Uncle Ira.  We would like the middle name to honor my husband’s grandfather, Jacob, called Jack, or the Hebrew version of his name, Yacob. 

My husband really likes Jaclyn or Jackie, but I have bad associations with this name and I can’t get on board.  I have been searching the baby name lists but nothing seems right.  I am open to names inspired by the honoree, without directly using the first letter, but I know my husband won’t go for something too non-traditional. 

Can you offer some other suggestions?  Or should I just learn to love Jaclyn?

The Name Sage replies:

Honor names can be tricky! In some families, only using the exact same name with the exact same spelling will suffice. Other families are more flexible – and probably more realistic! They’re the ones who happily use Zane or Zachary in tribute to grandpa Zbigniew.

It sounds like you’ve done an amazing job of finding ways to remember your loved ones and still find names that wear well and fit your style. Iris is gorgeous, and seems like a perfect fits-in, stands-out choice.

Iris Jaclyn would work nicely, but it sounds like Jaclyn is a dealbreaker for you. And that’s fine. Each parent should get to veto at least some suggestions in the process of choosing a name – even if they’re ones that the other parent really likes.

Since your family has taken a flexible approach to honor names, and especially since Jaclyn is a creative spin on Jack/Jacob to begin with, there are definitely some other options to consider.

Jacob and James share the same roots. (Ya’aqov became Iakobus in Iacobus and later Iacomus in Latin.) Jack is traditionally the nickname for John. Assuming you’re open to a J name that comes from any of those evergreen possibilities, there are lots to choose from!

Jane Jane shares the same ‘jay’ sound as Jacob, plus it’s a feminine form of John. That means that Jane connects to both Jacob’s given name, as well as his preferred nickname.

Jade – Substitute Jane’s ‘n’ for a ‘d’ and you’ll have Jade. Jade is much more modern than Jane, an ornamental rock name that was seldom heard before the middle of the twentieth century. It’s connected to Jacob only by sound, and two noun names together can be a bit much. But it’s definitely a fresh possibility.

Jae, Jay, or Jaye – It’s another short name, and a gender neutral one, too. Any way you spell it, Jae can be stand in for any name that starts with the letter J – including Jennifer as well as Jacob.

Jacoby Jacoby is a surname form of Jacob. It might not work as a girl’s given name, but I think it could be great in the middle spot. More surname middle name options include Jameson and Jackson. But Jacoby reminds me of your older daughter’s middle, Whitney, so I think it’s my favorite in this category.

Jacobina, Jacobine – In several languages, feminine suffixes –ina and –ine are sometimes added to Jacob. Iris Jacobina works, but Iris Jacobine has a certain appeal. Another rarity is Jacomina, but that’s a little more removed from Jacob.

Jacqueline Jaclyn is an Americanized form of the French Jacqueline. I wonder if the more elaborate spelling would help this feel like a different, distinct name?

Jacinta Jacinta shares the same first letters as Jacob, but the ‘c’ is soft, as in Cynthia. Jacinta comes from Hyacinthus, a name from Greek myth. Iris Jacinta is a double flower name – but I do think the connection is very subtle, and it’s a truly lovely combination.

Joan, Jean, Jeanne, Jana, Joanna, Johannah – All of these names (and more!) are feminine forms of John, and thus, possible ways to honor a man known as Jack.

Of course, there are still more creative ways to find a suitable name. You might consider Jacob’s birth month or place, his middle name (if any), his mother’s maiden name, or perhaps something with meaning to him – a name related to his profession, a favorite pastime, or perhaps someone he admired.

But if the goal is to use a name that echoes the letters and sounds of Jacob/Jack, then there’s no shortage of options. I rather like Iris Jacobine, because it preserves your husband’s grandfather’s name in full, or perhaps Iris Jacinta, simply because it’s so unexpected. But if your husband is more comfortable with the tried and true, you really can’t go wrong with Iris Jane.

Readers, what would you suggest to Jennifer as a middle name for her daughter? Are there any creative spins on Jacob/Jack that I’ve missed?

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About the author


Abby Sandel is nameberry's Senior Editor and resident Name Sage. Look for her baby name news round-ups every Monday, and her Name Sage columns on Wednesdays. Abby is the creator of the baby name blog Appellation Mountain and mom to Alex and Clio. For a chance to have your questions answered, contact Abby at
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40 Responses to “Name Sage: Girl Name Honoring Jacob”

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TammyJade Says:

October 13th, 2015 at 11:30 pm


lesliemarion Says:

October 14th, 2015 at 12:09 am

Iris Jacinta is lovely.

Iris Jacaranda?

Iris Jemima? (Biblical)

Iris Jessamine/Jessamyn/Jessamy?

Thegratiana Says:

October 14th, 2015 at 12:18 am

Iris Colby
Iris Corbin
Iris Jacobetta

Pam Says:

October 14th, 2015 at 12:48 am

Great ideas. This one may be too “out there” for your husband, but what about using Jacob itself, or James, which seems to be the middle name du jour for many celebrity babies, female and male.

pamjsg99 Says:

October 14th, 2015 at 3:04 am

Iris Coby
Iris Jace
Iris Jacolyn
Iris Jacoba
Iris Israel
Iris Jacques
Iris Kimo (Hawaiian form of Jacob)
Iris Jacomina
Iris Jacquette

I thought that Ivan was a derivative of Jacob, if so, Iva, Ivanna, and Ivy could be used as well. Iris Iva, Iris Ivanna, or Iris Ivy?

jesstheebest123 Says:

October 14th, 2015 at 3:59 am

I’m not sure if it’s directly related to Jacob or not but ever since I heard the hebrew name Jael/ Yael, I loved it.

It is pronouced yiy-elle, and Iris Yael looks really cool but it sounds great either way!

I also like

Iris Rachel, Jacob’s wife in the Torah.

Jacob and Rachel where also the parents of Joseph and Benjamin so…

Iris Josephine
Iris Josette
Iris Joelle
Iris Josie/ Josey

I can’t think of a good feminine form of Benjamin lol

Iris Jaq would be different and cool (or Iris Jac/ Iris Jak)

I really liked her suggestion of Iris Jacoby as well 🙂

JulesBerry Says:

October 14th, 2015 at 4:32 am

Iris Rebecca/Rebekah is pretty. Rebecca was Jacob’s mother.

svea Says:

October 14th, 2015 at 4:56 am

I think Iris Jacobine is a great solution! 🙂

jtucker Says:

October 14th, 2015 at 5:37 am

I like Iris Jane from the Name Sage suggestions.

Others that I like
Iris Jocelyn
Iris Juliet

jtucker Says:

October 14th, 2015 at 5:38 am

Oops forgot to add, Iris Johanna as an option.

Liberty_Bell Says:

October 14th, 2015 at 6:05 am

Iris Jeanne
Iris Jacquetta

Maple10 Says:

October 14th, 2015 at 6:35 am

MOTT here! You could get away with only using the first initial to honor a relative. My favorites suggested is Iris Juliet
I also like Iris Jacoby and Iris Jane is nice and classic.
I would also suggest Iris June, Iris Juno, or Iris Juniper.
Ooo I’m loving Iris Juno!

meek Says:

October 14th, 2015 at 7:46 am

If these names aren’t working for you could you look for a different way to honour him? I know your husband is traditional but there may be possible connections. What month was Jacob born in? Iris June sounds nice. What was he known for? Iris charity. Does he have a favourite place or hobby or characteristic the makes you think of him?

nadjajay Says:

October 14th, 2015 at 8:16 am

My favorite was Iris Jacoby, Jacoby sounds more feminine to me so I thought it was a cute way to honor him. 🙂

Bobcat108 Says:

October 14th, 2015 at 8:36 am

I’ll second Liberty_Bell’s suggestion of Jacquetta. And after looking for various forms of Jacob in other languages, what about Jaumet? It’s the Catalan version of Jacob. I’m at work, so I can’t open an audio file to see how it’s pronounced, but if it’s Zhoh-may, that could sound very pretty w/Iris.

4erbear Says:

October 14th, 2015 at 8:57 am


merlynhawk Says:

October 14th, 2015 at 9:50 am

I’m with ‘4erbear’, I think Jacoba is just the stuff, or even Jaka – for Jack. Iris goes well with both – Iris Jacoba – Iris Jaka.

peach25 Says:

October 14th, 2015 at 10:39 am

Another vote for Iris Jane. Or Iris Jaye.

Schickler Says:

October 14th, 2015 at 11:04 am

I like the idea of just Jacob. The farther you stray from a name, the more lost the intent is, in my opinion. Iris Jacob wouldn’t be as unusual these days, as Pam says. Otherwise, how about Iris Jay or Iris Akiva? I know Akiva is a masculine form, but it has feminine hints and connects more to her Jewish heritage.

myobmbs Says:

October 14th, 2015 at 11:05 am

i like iris jane

ashbee Says:

October 14th, 2015 at 11:55 am

From previous suggestions I like:
Iris Jane
Iris Joanna (nice flow)
Iris Juliet

And other “J” sounds that could lend well to a Hebrew name of Yacoba:
Iris Genevieve
Iris Julia

ashbee Says:

October 14th, 2015 at 11:55 am

Also, Iris Josephine is lovely.

jpruitt76 Says:

October 14th, 2015 at 11:58 am

My faves:

Iris Jacoby
Iris Jae
Iris Jacobine

Essa Says:

October 14th, 2015 at 12:52 pm

I was surprised not to see Iris Jacoba on the list. It’s the full name of Cobie Smulders. Speaking of which, how about Iris Cobie?

CDX Says:

October 14th, 2015 at 2:00 pm

I like Iris Jane or Iris Jacey (JAY-see). Good luck!

elliefable_ Says:

October 14th, 2015 at 2:35 pm

I love Iris Jacoby

graciebeth Says:

October 14th, 2015 at 2:46 pm

Iris Cobie
Iris Yasmin
Iris Jana

I think you have a great subset. You will be fine!

AshleyLouisa Says:

October 14th, 2015 at 3:53 pm


grantairebear Says:

October 14th, 2015 at 5:07 pm

I like Jacoby because it preserves the Jacob spelling but is pronounced Jack-oby. It’s also more gender neutral and Iris Jacoby fits well with your other children

MozzGoggs Says:

October 14th, 2015 at 6:40 pm

Iris Jiovanna (Giovanna is Italian for Jane)

Iris Jonquil (Yankel is Yiddish for Jacob)

Vivica Says:

October 14th, 2015 at 8:49 pm

I really like Iris Cobie.

Iris Jacoba works too. Or maybe you’d feel better about Jaclyn if it’s spelled the French way, Jaqueline?

Eu Says:

October 15th, 2015 at 4:03 am

@Bobcat: Jaume is the Catalan form of James, Jaumet would be a dimunitive, pronounced more or less Djow-mett (Djow rhyming with cow).

I really like Jacoma, Jaquetta and Jacobina (probably the best and most straightforward for me).

Suzannah Says:

October 15th, 2015 at 11:56 am

Iris Jascha or Jascha Iris.

lissylou Says:

October 15th, 2015 at 2:32 pm

Iris Jana is beautiful if pronounced the way it is intended (Yah-na). Iris Jana with the J sound is nice as well.

Care Says:

October 16th, 2015 at 12:00 am

Iris Jacoby

Really like the Jacoby Whitney link for the sisters.

Liddy52 Says:

October 16th, 2015 at 9:38 am

Another vote here for the Iris Jacoby suggestion. It was the first thing I thought of when I read the letter and I think it goes well with the sibling set and meets all the requirements.

mnj87 Says:

October 18th, 2015 at 11:14 am

Are you set on Iris? How about Jane Coby to honor Jacob and maybe Jane Coby Iris or Iris Jane Coby.

MommaMcguire Says:

October 18th, 2015 at 6:27 pm

Lots of great suggestions.

Corrie or Cobie

lunazola Says:

October 18th, 2015 at 6:58 pm


If you’re open to it not starting with J:
Coba, Coby, Colby

chupachudelrey Says:

September 6th, 2017 at 10:25 pm

I was wondering this exact thing months ago! It’s a wonder I didn’t come across this post sooner, since this website is were I did most of my research for this.

The first and foremost feminine form of Jacob is Jacoba. On the NameBerry page for Jacoba, you can see the international variations for the name. Two of them are the Arabic names Akiba and Akiva which I think are wonderfully elegant names!

Iris Akiva has a lovely ring to it I think! Although by the time I post this is will probably be too late, I figured I may as well post my own journey with the feminine Jacob!

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