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Variations of John

For centuries the most popular of all boy baby names, borne by saints, kings, and countless other illustrious notables, John is still in the Top 20. For a new spin on one of the longest-running favorite baby names, try one of John's international variations.
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JackHeart

  • Origin:

    English, diminutive of John
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    Jack is a derivative of John that originated in medieval England. The name went from John to Johnkin to Jankin to Jackin to Jack. The name was so common in the Middle Ages that Jack became a generic term for a man.

JaneHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    No, we don't consider Jane too plain. In fact, for a venerable and short one-syllable name, we think it packs a surprising amount of punch, as compared to the related Jean and Joan.

ZaneHeart

  • Origin:

    Possible variation of John
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    Western novelist Zane (born Pearl!) Grey made this name famous. Now, it's in tune with the style of our times, retaining that appealing cowboy image.

JohnHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    John is an English derivative of the Hebrew name Yochanan via the Latin name Iohannes, itself coming from the Greek Ioannes. John was a key name in early Christianity, borne by John the Baptist, John the Apostle and John the Evangelist, plus 84 saints and 23 popes, as well as kings and countless other illustrious notables. Contrary to popular belief, the names John and Jonathan are unrelated, the latter being an elaboration of Nathan.

EvanHeart

  • Origin:

    Welsh variation of John
  • Meaning:

    "the Lord is gracious"
  • Description:

    Evan was derived from Iefan, a Welsh version of John. John is ultimately a derivative of the Hebrew name Yochanan, comprised of the elements yo, meaning “God” and chanan, “to be gracious.” Evan is actually a Hebrew word itself, meaning “rock.”
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IanHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish version of John
  • Meaning:

    "the Lord is gracious"
  • Description:

    Ian is Scottish form of John, derived from the Hebrew name Yohanan. It is an Anglicization of the Scottish Gaelic Iain, which is also a viable spelling. Ian was introduced to Americans by Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond.

JacksonHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "son of Jack"
  • Description:

    Cool name Jackson is one of the celebrisphere's top favorite boy names, having been chosen by, among others, Spike Lee, Poppy Montgomery, Carson Daly, Maria Bello, Natalie Maines, Scott Wolf, Maya Rudolph, and Katey Sagal. After a spectacular rise, this stylish presidential name has been in the Top 25 since 2010, overtaking John as one of the most popular boy names starting with J.

ShaneHeart

  • Origin:

    Anglicized variation of Sean
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    Shane ambled into the picture via the 1953 movie, adding a cowboy twist to its Irish essence. Shane is even more popular in Ireland than in the USA or the UK. Singer Siobhan O'Connor and actor Kevin Sorbo have sons named Shane.

EoinHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish, variation of John
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    Though Eoin is a Gaelic form of John, its Anglicized pronunciation links it directly to Owen. Eoin is currently a Top 30 name in Ireland. Other variations: Ewan, Ewen, Evan and Eoghan (pronounced as Owen but also translated as Eugene).

JaxonHeart

  • Origin:

    Spelling variation of Jackson
  • Meaning:

    "son of Jack"
  • Description:

    Jaxon has been mostly climbing in popularity since it entered the Top 1000 in 1997, proving the point that many parents have decided to rev up the cool factor of Jackson and give it this streamlined spelling. (Though we still prefer the original.) Kristin Cavallari used it for her son. Jaxson is another popular spelling.
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EwanHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish form of Gaelic Eoghan
  • Meaning:

    "born of the yew tree"
  • Description:

    This appealing name has a good chance of catching on due to the popularity of Ewan McGregor, and the trend towards Gaelic names in general. Pronunciation is YOO-un.

GiannaHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian, diminutive of Giovanna
  • Meaning:

    "the Lord is gracious"
  • Description:

    Gianna originated as a diminutive for Giovanna—a Latin feminization of John. The root name among these is the Hebrew name Yochanen, meaning “the Lord is gracious.” Common nickname include Gia and Gigi, and the English form of Gianna is Joanna.

JoannaHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Johanna
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    Joanna derives from the Greek name Ioanna, which in turn came from the Hebrew name Yohannah. It is featured in the New Testament as a woman who accompanied Jesus on his travels and eventually reached saint status. Other names related to Joanna include Joan, Joanne, Johanna, and Jana.

JacquelineHeart

  • Origin:

    French, feminine diminutive of Jacques
  • Meaning:

    "supplanter"
  • Description:

    Jacqueline originated as a feminine form of Jacques, the French variation of James, and therefore Jacob. Jacob was ultimately derived from the Hebrew name Ya’aqov, and gets its meaning, “supplanter” from the story of Jacob supplanting his brother Esau as the first-born son in the Bible. Jacqueline was first used in France in the Middle Ages.

IvanHeart

  • Origin:

    Russian variation of John
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    Though some might find it a bit heavy-booted, Ivan is one of the few Russian boys' names to become fully accepted into the American naming pool.
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GiovanniHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian variation of John
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    Giovanni is a venerable Italian classic that suddenly sounds fresh and cool. Ubiquitous in Italy, it has countless notable namesakes, from writer Boccaccio to designer Versace (nn Gianni).

SiobhanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish Gaelic
  • Meaning:

    "god is gracious"
  • Description:

    Siobhan is the Irish variation of Joan, which is derived from the ancient Anglo-Norman name Jehanne. In this way Siobhan is indirectly related to the name Sinead—the Irish form of Jeannette, which also derived from Jehanne—although Sinead is not a nickname for Siobhan. Siobhan was the name of several early Irish queens and was introduced to the American public by the actress Siobhan McKenna.

JohannaHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    Johanna is the version of this name used in Holland, Germany, and Scandinavia. The extra h makes Johanna a slightly more dignified version of Joanna.

SeanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish variation of John
  • Description:

    Sean, after a long reign as one of the top Irish boys' names in the US, has now slipped as parents look to fresher Irish choices such as Liam and Aidan. In Ireland, Sean is still highly popular, but variation Senan, an Anglicized spelling of diminutive Seanan, is also stylish in Ireland. While Sean is the Irish form of John, Seanan and Senan may be thought of either as Sean diminutives or relatives of the Latin word "senator".

ShawnHeart

  • Origin:

    Spelling variation of Sean
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    Shawn is a phonetic spelling of Sean that may be past its peak – it was a Top 30 name in the early 1970s – but is still very popular: 800 baby boys were named Shawn in the US in the most recent year counted vs 1300 given the original Sean spelling.
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JoanHeart

  • Origin:

    English variation of Johanna
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    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.

JanetHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Jane
  • Meaning:

    "God's gracious gift"
  • Description:

    Janet started as a pet form of Jane but has long been used independently. Jane is a feminine form of John, which derived from the Hebrew name Yochanan. Janet can also be considered a variation of Jeannette, a derivative of Joan and another feminization of the name John.

JohnnyHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of John
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    The ultimate midcentury nickname, retaining a good measure of retro charm, was chosen for her son by Mira Sorvino.

JohanHeart

  • Origin:

    German variation of John
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    Still very Old European, conjuring up the image of a classical composer. But surprisingly, it's now been in the Top 600 in the U.S. since the turn of the 21st century, largely thanks to Heidi Klum and Seal's young son.

JontyHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Jonathan
  • Meaning:

    "gift of Jehovah"
  • Description:

    Jaunty, to say the least, Jonty might be an option if Johnny feels too old school. It has been noticed most often on the playing fields, as in U.K. rugby player Jonty Parkin (born Jonathan) and South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes (Jonathon).
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JevonHeart

  • Origin:

    Welsh, variation of Evan
  • Meaning:

    "gift of God"
  • Description:

    Yet another offshoot of the original John, also sometimes used as Jevan or Yevan.

JonesHeart

  • Origin:

    English surname derived from John
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    Quintessentially common last name makes distinctive if problematic first, given to nearly 100 babies in the US in the most recent year counted.

JonHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of John or Jonathan
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious; or gift of Jehovah"
  • Description:

    Streamlined version of the classic boys' names, sometimes a short form of Jonathan, which is in fact an entirely different name from John attached to a different Biblical personage. Jon feels more modern than the traditional John, but some may find it an overly slight variation on an already slim name. Jon Snow is a popular character on HBO's Game of Thrones.

JohannesHeart

  • Origin:

    German, Dutch, Scandinavian, and Estonian variation of John
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    An Old World name that might have a chance to rise again with other ancient and exotic forms. Be sure to say yo-hahn-es.

SineadHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish form of Janet
  • Meaning:

    "God's gracious gift"
  • Description:

    One of the best known of the Irish girls' names, thanks to singer Sinead O'Connor. Though it's still in the Irish Top 100, it's no longer quite as fashionable in Ireland as Aoife or Aisling. But by now everyone in the Western World knows it's pronounced shin-aid and so would have no trouble fitting in on an American playground.
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JuanHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish variation of John
  • Meaning:

    "the Lord is gracious"
  • Description:

    Juan, the Spanish version of John, is ubiquitous in the Spanish-speaking world, and is familiar to all ethnicities via such references as Don Juan and San Juan.

HansHeart

  • Origin:

    German, Dutch, and Scandinavian, diminutive of Johannes
  • Description:

    Though familiar to all via such childhood icons as Hans Brinker, Hans(el) and Gretel, and Hans Christian Andersen, few Americans have chosen this name for their sons because of its intractably Old Country image.

JensonHeart

  • Origin:

    Scandinavian
  • Meaning:

    "son of Jens"
  • Description:

    The surname name Jenson is in the British Top 100 thanks to champion race car driver Jenson Button. Jenson might be an honorific for an ancestral John, the English form of Jens or Johannes, or even Jen.

YannickHeart

  • Origin:

    Extension of Jann or Yann
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    Known through flamboyant French tennis star/singer Yannick Noah, a name not likely to appeal to many American ears.

IainHeart

  • Origin:

    Gaelic variation of John
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    Iain, this authentic Gaelic form of John, has been well used in Scotland since the early twentieth century, used concurrently with the shortened Ian spelling, but is rarely seen in the US.
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SeananHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Sean or Irish
  • Meaning:

    "wise, old"
  • Description:

    Seanan and its more-popular variation Senan are connected to the Latin word "senator" and are ancient saints' names, but may also be thought of as diminutives of Sean, the Irish form of John, given that the suffix "an" is an Irish diminutive meaning "little". Virtually unknown in the US, it might appeal as an update for the no-longer-stylish Sean.

GianniHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian, diminutive of Giovanni, variation of John
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    Gianni, the Italian equivalent of Johnny, sounds more substantial and certainly more exotic. TV star Jill Hennessey's son is named Gianni Mastropietro.

JacquesHeart

  • Origin:

    French variation of James and Jacob
  • Meaning:

    "supplanter"
  • Description:

    Classic French name that becomes pretentious when used for an American baby.

SinjinHeart

  • Origin:

    Phonetic spelling of St. John
  • Description:

    The name St. John is much more usable and exotic in its phonetic spelling--similar to the way St. Clair evolved into Sinclair. St. John has some literary cred--St. John Rivers is a cool character in Jane Eyre.

    St. John has been attached to a number of notable men--not as a first but as a middle name, one shared by Evelyn Waugh, Basil Rathbone, Richard Harris and Brian Eno.

JoanneHeart

  • Origin:

    French variation of Joanna
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    A Top 100 name from the 1930s all the way through the 1950s, it's now firmly in Mom -- or Grandma -- land and supplanted for babies by Joanna.....or even great-grandmother Josephine. In its heyday, it had a host of variations, including JoAnn and Jo-Anne.
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JeanHeart

  • Origin:

    French variation of John
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    In Paris, it's charming, but in America, it's still Jean, as in blue jean. Or Aunt Jean.

EvannaHeart

  • Origin:

    Feminine variation of Evan, Welsh
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    Evanna is the name of a Harry Potter actress who pronounces it ee-vah-na. This might be considered yet another international feminine form of the many variations of John; Ivana, Giovanna, and even Joan are cousins of Evanna.

VanyaHeart

  • Origin:

    Russian, diminutive of John
  • Description:

    This short form of Ivan just could join the other Russian nickname names coming into fashion, and it does have the Chekhov connection.

HanselHeart

  • Origin:

    German diminutive of Hans
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    Those "Where's Gretel?" jokes will get old pretty fast.

NinoHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian, diminutive of Giannino and of Gianni
  • Description:

    Old-time Italian pet name, now mostly seen on pizzeria signs.
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JanHeart

  • Origin:

    Dutch variation of John
  • Description:

    Properly pronounced yahn, most Americans will still equate it with the Brady Bunchesque girls' name Jan.

JensHeart

  • Origin:

    Scandinavian variation of Johannes or John
  • Description:

    Short but substantial Nordic name that travels well -- although it runs the risk of being confused with all the feminine Jen names.

JeanetteHeart

  • Origin:

    French, diminutive of Jeanne
  • Description:

    Relic of a past period of French favorites, out to pasture with Claudette and Paulette.

GianHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian, diminutive of Giovanni
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    Gian sounds (almost) like John, so there's some potential for confusion, but the spelling makes it unmistakeably Italian. It could be a solution if longer names like Gianni and Gianluca aren't your style.

IvankaHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Ivana
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    High-profile celebrity daughter Trump bears a nickname for her mother's name, Ivana. But though quite common in Slavic countries, and despite its exotic appeal, Ivanka is likely to remain a Singe-Celebrity name in the US--the Oprah of the political world--for the foreseeable future. Ivanka's larger impact on names may be inspiring parents to name their daughters after their moms.
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