Boy Names Starting With J
Boy names that start with the letter J have led the US popular baby names list since naming records began in 1880.
The classic James is currently the top J name for boys in the US and also heads up the list of all-time most popular boys' names. Another J name, Jacob, held the Number 1 spot in the US for the first decade of this century.
Along with James and Jacob, J names for boys in the current US Top 50 include Jackson, Joseph, John, Jack, Jayden, Julian, Jaxon, and Joshua. The favorite J name for boys among Nameberry visitors is Jasper.
Internationally, Jules is the top J name for boys in France, Jesse reigns in The Netherlands, and Javier is the most popular J boy name in Spain.
Two of the most classic J names for boys, James and John, head up the list of the most popular baby names for boys born in the 20th century, and no fewer than nine more — from Jeffrey to Justin to Jacob — join them in the all-time Top 50.
The J initial is also a great place to start if you're looking for a unique baby boy name, such as Jupiter or Jericho, Justus or Journey.
Browse below for our full list of boy names starting with leading letter J. The top names below rank among the current US Top 1000 Baby Names and are ordered by popularity. Unique names rank below the Top 1000 and are listed alphabetically.
Origin:Latin diminutive of Judah
Description:Jude is an example of a name whose image was turned on its head primarily by one appealing celebrity. So take a bow, Jude Law: You--in collaboration with the Lennon-McCartney song "Hey Jude"--have erased Jude's old connections to the traitorous Judas Iscariot and Thomas Hardy's tragic Jude the Obscure, and inspired a legion of new babies named Jude.
Meaning:"bringer of treasure"
Description:Jasper originated as a variation of the Latin Gaspar, which ultimately derived from the Persian word ganzabara, meaning "bringer of treasure." As a given name, Jasper’s etymology is unrelated to that of the gemstone, which comes from a Semitic word meaning "speckled stone." Jasper is the usual English form for one of the Three Wise Men who brought gifts to the infant Christ according to medieval tradition and appears in the Bible as a reference to the stone itself in Revelations 4:3.
Origin:English variation of Jacob, Hebrew
Description:James is an English derivation of the Hebrew name Jacob. James is biblical (the name of two apostles in the New Testament), royal (kings of both England and Scotland), presidential (with more U.S. Chief Executives named James (six) than any other name), and it is shared by countless great writers and entertainers.
Meaning:"God supports, heals"
Description:Josiah is derived from Yoshiyahu, a Hebrew name from the components yoshi, meaning “support,” and Yahu, referring to the Hebrew god. In the Old Testament, Josiah was an upright king of Judah from the age of eight, after his father Amon was murdered. Josias is a related Latin variation that is found in some biblical translations.
Origin:English from Latin, variation of Julius
Meaning:"youthful, downy-bearded, or sky father"
Description:Julian was derived from Iulianus, which in turn came from Julius, a Roman family name. Its origin is shrouded in history, but possible roots include Latin iuvenis, meaning "youthfu"; Greek ioulos, meaning “downy-bearded”; or Jovis, a form of Jupiter, which means "sky father".
,br/>Julian was a 4th century Roman emperor, and St. Julian the Hospitaller is the patron saint of travelers. In Medieval England, Julian was considered a unisex name, eventually giving rise to the feminine given name Gillian.
Description:Jonah, the name of the Old Testament prophet who was swallowed by the whale, only to emerge unharmed three days later, is increasingly appreciated by parents looking for a biblical name less common than Jacob or Joshua, yet not too obscure. Plus, Jonah comes with a ready-made nursery-decorating motif.
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.
Description:Jacob comes from the Latin name Iacobus, which was ultimately derived from the Hebrew name Ya’aqov. In the Old Testament, Jacob was one of the most important patriarchs of the tribes of Israel. He was the youngest son of Isaac and Rebecca and the twin brother of Esau, as well as the husband of both Leah and Rachel. The 12 tribes of Israel evolved from his 12 sons.
Origin:Variation of Jaden or Jadon, Hebrew
Description:Although there is a genuine Biblical personage named Jadon — in the Old Testament, he helped rebuild the walls of Jerusalem — this version of the name can also be considered a modern invention. Jayden combines the “jay” sound found in the name Jason with the -den suffix used in names such as Aiden and Hayden. Other spellings include Jaydan, Jaydyn, Jaydon, Jaydin, and Jaden.
Origin:Hebrew, diminutive of Jacob
Description:This unpretentious, accessible, and optimistic ("everything's jake" -- meaning OK) short form of the top name Jacob is itself widely used, though more parents these days are opting for the full name Jacob. Jake (born Jacob) Gyllenhall is its most prominent current bearer.
Meaning:"the Lord is my salvation"
Description:Joshua was derived from the Hebrew name Yehoshu’a, from the roots yeho, referring to God, and yasha’, meaning “to save.” Joshua shares origins with the name Jesus, which comes from the Aramaic variation Yeshu’a. An important figure in the Old Testament, Joshua was the successor to Moses who finally led the Israelites into the Promised Land, inspiring the hymn "Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho."
Description:King David's father turned 1980s cowboy, Jesse is now down in popularity. The name is associated with a wide variety of bearers, from outlaw Jesse James to Olympic athlete Jesse Owens to activist Jesse Jackson to current actors Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Jesse Eisenberg. The spelling Jesse is more usual as a boys' name while Jessie is more traditional for girls.
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.
Description:Aviation enthusiast John Travolta put this fast-paced name in the lexicon when he used it for his late son, and George Lucas followed suit.
Origin:Spanish variation of Joachim
Meaning:"God will judge"
Description:Actor Joaquin Phoenix (brother of River, Rain, Liberty and Summer) highlighted this one, then Kelly Ripa began talking about younger son Joaquin on her daily TV show, and presto—it's now one of the hottest and most appealing multicultural baby boy names.
Description:Jared is an Old Testament name that has been popular for decades--it was revived in the sixties via TV westerns-- and is still an appealing option.
Description:Immortal through its association with the ancient Caesar (it was his clan name), Julius may still lag behind Julian, but is definitely starting to make a comeback, and in fact feels more cutting edge, in line with the current trend for Latin -us endings.
Origin:Hebrew, diminutive of Jason
Meaning:"the Lord is salvation"
Description:Jace may sound like only half a name -- it's usually pronounced like the first half of Jason though some may consider it a spelling-out of the initials J. C. -- but it's a popular choice for baby boys. Jace has been heard on such TV shows as Teen Mom 2 and Duck Dynasty.
Description:Though this feels like a modern invention, Jay has been in use for centuries. Early Jays often were named in honor of founding father John Jay, whose surname derived from the jaybird. A popular mid-century choice, Jay was in the Top 100 from 1956 to 1970. In the last couple of decades he was replaced by such more elaborate forms as Jayden, Jaylen, and Jayce. But Jay could make a comeback in tandem with cousins May, Kay, Fay, and Ray.
Origin:English form of Jeremiah
Meaning:"appointed by God"
Description:This one-time trendy form of Jeremiah hovered just outside the Top 25 throughout the 1970s and 80s.
Meaning:"Jehovah is his God"
Description:In the Old Testament, Joel was one of King David's 'mighty men' and the name was taken up by the Puritans of the sixteenth century. In the mid 1960s, Joel entered the Top 100, and stayed there for about twenty years, as parents tried to jazz up and formalize old standby Joe by reviving this biblical name.
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.
Origin:Modern invented name
Description:Jax is the Dex-Jex-Pax type of x-ending cool -- possibly too cool -- variation of Jack or nickname for Jaxon or Jackson.
Description:Joseph evolved from the Hebrew name Yosef, which was derived from the verb yasaf, meaning “to increase.” In the Old Testament, Joseph is the 11th and favorite son of Jacob and Rachel; in the New Testament, it is the name of the carpenter husband of the Virgin Mary, mother of Christ. Joe and Joey are common nicknames for Joseph, and Josephine is the feminine form.
Description:Jason, the Number 3 name for the entire decade of the 1970s -- thus the title of our original baby-naming book, Beyond Jennifer & Jason -- is more likely to be dad's name now than baby's, but it's still a widely used name.
Meaning:"gift of Jehovah"
Description:Jonathan was derived from the Hebrew name Yehonatan, eventually contracted to the modern Yonatan, meaning “gift of Jehovah.” It comes from the elements yeho, in reference to God, and natan, meaning “to give.” In the Old Testament, Jonathan was the valiant eldest son of King Saul, and it was his friendship with brother-in-law David that gave rise to the expression "Jonathan and David" to describe devoted, steadfast friends.
Origin:Greek variation of Jonah
Description:Jonas has a slightly more grandfatherly image than the English version of his name, but that only adds to its retro appeal. And though it may lag behind Jonah in this country, Jonas is riding a huge wave of popularity in Europe, where it ranks highly in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Norway.
Meaning:"appointed by God"
Description:Jeremiah is a solid Old Testament prophet name that has gradually taken the place of the now dated Jeremy, Gerard and Gerald, joining other currently popular biblical 'iah' names like Josiah and Isaiah. In the Bible Jeremiah is a famous prophet whose story is recorded in the book named after him.
Origin:Spelling variation of Geoffrey
Meaning:"pledge of peace"
Description:The mostly Americanized version of Geoffrey was a trendy mid-century hit, with nickname Jeff the epitome of cool. Jeffrey entered the pop list in 1934 and was a Top 20 name from the mid-fifties to 1978.
Description:Justin has been widely popular since the 1980s, when parents were seeking a fresher 'J' boys’ name to replace Jason, Jeremy and Jonathan. It's been dipping in popularity a bit in recent years but it reached as high as Number 9 in 1990. At this point it's Justin that is suffering from overexposure.
Meaning:"God has heard"
Description:While Jadon is the authentic biblical name, Jaden is by far the more popular spelling, first noticed when Will and Jada Pinkett Smith used it for their now grown (and famous) son. It has since swept the country for both sexes, with a wide variety of spellings and rhyming cousins.
Description:Jordan became one of the top unisex baby names in the heyday of basketball's Michael Jordan, and is still among the most popular unisex names starting with J. The name was originally given to those baptized in holy water brought back by Crusaders from the River Jordan, the only river in Palestine, and the one in which Christ was baptized by John the Baptist.
Description:A biblical place name with trumpeting verve and strength.
Description:Judah is the strong, resonant Old Testament name of the son of Jacob who was the ancestor of one of the tribes of Israel, and from whom the word Jew is derived. Some of the names' popularity might be attributable to the similarly named Jude Law.
Origin:Diminutive of James
Description:The cool form of James in the 1970s and '80s for both sexes. Still a more stylish short form than Jimmy, though many parents will want to call James by his entire, not-very-long name.
Origin:English occupational name
Description:Jagger is a swaggering Rolling Stone of a name that's been picked up by a number of fellow celebs, including Lindsay Davenport and Brett Scallions--while Soleil Moon Frye pulled a gender switch when she bestowed it on her daughter. It's edgy with a touch of danger.
Meaning:"son of James"
Description:This is a strong new James varietal, sometimes shared by girls. An original way to honor Grandpa Jim, Jameson is swiftly moving up the charts, entering the Top 100 for the first time ever in 2017. Jameson is one of the hottest boy names starting with J, still the most popular first initial for boys' names. One small caveat: Jameson is also a brand of whiskey.
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.
Meaning:"beloved of the Lord"
Description:Jedidiah, an Old Testament name with a touch of Gunsmoke-era western panache, is right in line to be revived along with the other biblical -iah names.
Origin:Spanish and Portuguese version of Joseph
Description:Jose is as widespread in the Hispanic community as Joseph and Joe are elsewhere in the U.S., though its numbers here are starting to decrease somewhat. Jose is one of those Spanish baby names that has never crossed over into the Anglo naming culture.
Origin:Spelling variation of Jenson and Danish surname
Meaning:"son of Jens"
Description:A variation of Jenson, which is actually more popular than the original in the United States. This spelling also holds the distinction of being the most common surname in Denmark.
Origin:Spanish variation of Xavier
Description:One of the most popular Spanish names for boys in the US, Javier is embodied for many Americans in the magnetic persona of Spanish-born Oscar-nominated actor Javier Bardem.
Meaning:"the Lord is salvation"
Description:Jesus -- pronounced hay-SOOS -- is used exclusively and extensively among Spanish speakers, though JEE-zus as in the first name of Christ is never used in the Anglophone world. Jesus Quintana was a character in The Big Lebowski and Jesus Velasquez appeared on True Blood.
Origin:Diminutive of Joseph
Meaning:"he will add"
Description:This nickname for popular and traditional Joseph has a long history of being used as a given name all on its own. Nonetheless, everyone will always assume that Joey is short for the longer form. It might be nice for a potential son to have the option of a more professional and classic name to fall back on.
Description:Jaziel and spelling variation Jahziel are unique baby names from the Bible—he was the son of Nephtali and a grandson of Jacob and Leah—that are being rediscovered by a new generation of parents in search of names that are both unusual and traditional. And that middle z adds zest and cool. It debuted in the US Top 1000 in 2015.
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.
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.
Origin:Spelling variation of Jason
Description:Part Jason, part Jayce, this name has been among the Top 500 names for boys near-consistently since the late 1960s. While it's a reasonable spelling especially if you're naming your son after someone named Jay or another name that starts with the letter J, it's one of those names that will eternally need to be spelled out for people. But then again, so are classics like Elisabeth and Sara and Jon.
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.