Unique Names Starting With J
Meaning:"queen of the heavens"
Description:Juno is an ancient name that feels as fresh as if it had been minted — well, not yesterday, but in 2007. Since the release of the popular indie film Juno, this lively but strong o-ending Roman goddess name has become more and more prominent as a potential baby name — Coldplay's Will Champion chose Juno for one of his twins (whose brother is the kingly Rex).
Origin:French form of Latin Julius
Meaning:"youthful; soft, downy"
Description:Though Jules hasn't been on the US popularity list in fifty years, it is a current hit in its native France—where it's currently in the Top 10—and we can definitely see it making a comeback here, being far more romantic than, say, Jim.
Description:Jethro, though the biblical father-in-law of Moses, has suffered for a long time from a Beverly Hillbilly image, but some really adventurous parents might consider updating and urbanizing it and transitioning it into the hip o-ending category.
Description:James for a girl? Believe it or not, this is one of the boy names for girls" gaining a lot of attention these days, since Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds shocked the world by choosing it for their eldest daughter in 2014 (after his late father).
Description:Jemima, the name of a strong and beautiful Biblical daughter of Job, has long been among the chicest choices of aristocratic Brits, most recently ranking at #231 there in 2017. But despite its lovely sound and peaceful meaning, this attractive name hasn't ranked in the US Top 1000 since 1893, no doubt due to the problematic association with racial stereotyping, exemplified by the Aunt Jemima brand of pancakes.
Origin:Spanish and Cornish variation of Jacob
Description:Jago is a dashing alternative to overused favorite Jacob.
Meaning:"Established by God"
Description:Joachim is an undiscovered biblical name with potential, although most modern parents would probably prefer the more lively Spanish version, Joaquin. Like many Old Testament names, it was primarily in use in the seventeenth century, and then became rare. In the Bible Joachim is a king of Judah; according to the Gospel of James, Saint Joachim was the husband of Saint Anne and the father of the Virgin Mary.
br/>Currently well-used in France, the name Joachim is known in countries and languages around the world and pronounced somewhat differently in each. While American might be most familiar with the Spanish version of the name, Joaquin via actor Joaquin Phoenix, that pronunciation wah-keen is not similar to any of the pronunciations of Joachim, which all have three syllables often with the emphasis on the second.
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.
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.
Description:Jezebel, the wife of King Ahab in the Hebrew Book of Kings, has long had a bad girl reputation. But in the modern secular world, this is somewhat mitigated by the feminist perspective of her as a strong woman, the power behind the throne. Previously avoided as a baby name, Jezebel is now, along with the also previously avoided Delilah and Desiree, coming into use, helped by its relation to other 'bel' name such as Isabel and Bella.
Description:Like its better known cousin Jedidiah, Jebediah is one of those four-syllable Old Testament names that is being shorn of its long white-bearded image, with the help of its modern-sounding Jeb nickname.
Origin:English and Scottish, from French variation of Johanna
Meaning:"God is gracious"
Description:Originally a feminine of John, Jean was popular in Scotland long before it found favor elsewhere, and had its most shining moment here in the era of Jean Harlow (born Harlean), ultimate symbol of silver screen glamour. Now, though there are many grandmas and even moms with the name, it doesn't seem all that baby-friendly. Though that could change, and Jean could join Jane.
Origin:Diminutive of Judith or variation of Judah
Description:Jude may be a rising boys' name, thanks to Jude Law, but it's also a new way to spin Judy or Judith as well as a name that's long been used quietly for girls as well as boys. Alexis Stewart, daughter of Martha, named her daughter Jude and Jessica Lange plays Sister Jude on American Horror Story.
Origin:English from Latin tree name
Description:Juniper is a nature name that we really like. While it's trendiest for girls -- over 400 baby girls were named Juniper in 2013 versus fewer than ten boys -- the most notable Juniper in history was the saint Brother Juniper, a follower of Saint Francis renowned for his generosity. Blessed Junipero Serra, who founded the first of the California Missions, took his name from the earlier Saint Juniper.
Description:Jupiter's partner Juno has entered the mainstream, so it's possible that her divine mate could follow. But not necessarily for boys — Jupiter is over 75% female, thanks to its similarity to Juniper. Actress Ashley Tisdale welcomed a daughter named Jupiter Iris in 2021, which could shift the balance even more towards the girls.
Description:Jerome has a bespectacled, serious, studious image, just like its namesake saint, who was a brilliant scholar. St. Jerome is the patron saint of students, librarians, and archaeologists.
Origin:Greek variation of Judah
Description:Though there were two apostles named Judas, everyone remembers the one who betrayed Jesus, and the name has been permanently shunned.
Description:Juni is the Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, and Finnish form of the month name June. While Juni feels cute and fresh, most Americans would assume it was a nickname or a Joni variation. We prefer Juna or the English June.
Meaning:"borne in pain"
Description:Jabez has a rare combo of three appealing elements: a Biblical heritage, a captivating Southern accent, and a jazzy feel. It was popular with the Pilgrims and on into the nineteenth century (there have been four U.S. Congressmen named Jabez), but it hasn't been in the Top 1000 since 1880.
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).
Description:Jinx, a James Bond heroine name has an ominous meaning but kinetic energy. In the film "Die Another Day," the actual first name of the character played by Halle Berry is Giacinta.
Origin:English variation of Gervase, meaning unknown
Description:Jarvis, one of the original two-syllable nouveau boys' choices, is a saint's name with a certain retro charm and a nice quirky feel. Though Jarvis peaked in the late 1880s, he is beginning to sound fresh again.
Meaning:"God has heard"
Description:The authentic Biblical form of a name that has become even more popular alongside Jaden, Jayden, Jaidan et al. Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, whose children are named creatively after their parents as Willow and Jaden, helped launch the trend. This spelling peaked at Number 372 in 2003, though it has dropped drastically in usage over the last decade.
Meaning:"brother of God"
Description:Joah is a simple but obscure Biblical name, the name of four men in the Old Testament. Joah could be the perfect way to honor Grandpa Joe, or might be seen as a streamlined alternative to Josiah. Joah has so much basic appeal, in fact, that it just might be the next Noah.
Origin:Mineral and word name
Description:This super-charged variation of Jett is on the rise -- along with the unlikely newcomer Jetson.
Description:This biblical name of the mother of King Jotham of Judah has an appealing soft Russian accent.
Origin:Medieval short form of Jordan
Description:Judd is a strong but sensitive short form that can easily stand on its own, the second 'd' giving it a lot more substance, and it would also be a good middle name choice. Two recent actors have given it credence--Judd Nelson and Judd Hirsch, and now it's most noticeably represented by comedy director Judd Apatow.
Origin:French feminine variation of Justin
Description:Justine is a French name that's never reached the popularity we think it deserves. Like its far-more-common brother Justin, Justine is sleek, and sophisticated, but still user-friendly.
Description:If you focus on the patience of the biblical Job, rather than his trials, the name becomes more usable. He was, after all, the Old Testament hero of the Book of Job, whose faith was severely tested by God but remained faithful. The name was was used by Puritans and Christian fundamentalists and can be found in the novels of Dickens, George Eliot and Robert Louis Stevenson..
Origin:Diminutive of James or Jeremiah
Description:This name of the ten-year-old boy in the much loved and acclaimed modern classic To Kill a Mockingbird could find favor along with that of the character's sister, Scout.
Description:More unusual than Justin, less word-like than Justice, this New Testament name could make an intriguing choice. After being off the popularity lists from 1904 to 1993, it is now being used in steady numbers.
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 worldly forms. Be sure to say yo-HAHN-es.
Origin:Diminutive of Jedidiah
Description:Cowboyish short form that's both macho and cool. Got prime time exposure on The West Wing.
Origin:Diminutive of Gillian or Juliana
Description:Probably due to its nursery rhyme association, Jill has the perpetual air of a rosy-cheeked tot -- even though it is one of the oldest names on the roster, a medieval variation on the Roman Julia. The pairing of Jack and Jill to connote a generic boy and girl goes back at least to the fifteenth century. But can knowing Jill's history keep it from sounding like a cute mid-twentieth century invention? There may be some possibility of Jill making it back up the hill.
Origin:English from Persian
Description:Jessamine, a charming name occasionally heard in England, is just beginning to be appreciated in the U.S. as a possible successor to all the Jess names of the past. It's also spelled Jessamyn, as in Quaker novelist Jessamyn West, author of Friendly Persuasion--who started life with Jessamyn as her middle name.
Meaning:"youthful; soft, downy"
Description:TV personality Jules Asner made this middle-aged male name suddenly seem young and fresh and female, after having been an off-the radar-nickname for Julia and Julie. Author and wife of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver spells her name Jools, and we've also seen Joolz.
Origin:English diminutive of Jocelin
Meaning:"the merry one"
Description:Joss hadn't been heard much in this country before the emergence of Joss (born Joseph) Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, et al; it would make a catchy middle name choice. Female British singer Joss Stone was born Jocelyn.
Description:Jorah, a Biblical name with a lovely nature-related meaning, might make a fresher alternative to the overused Jordan. It's similar to the feminine Nora, Cora, and Laura, but depending on your viewpoint, that may be an advantage.
Meaning:"bringer of treasure"
Description:The ancient boys' name Jasper is popular internationally in a range of forms, including Casper and Gaspard, and now Jasper is beginning to be used for girls in the US.
Origin:Latin, Feminine variation of Junius
Meaning:"born in June"
Description:Juno is hot, June is showing signs of a comeback along with other month and day names, whereas Junia, the name of the the first century Christian referred to by the apostle Paul as an apostle (and who may have been male), is yet to be discovered.
Description:The meaning of this ancient Roman god's name relates to transitions, hence its connection to the name of the first month of the new year, a time of fresh beginnings. Janus is usually depicted as a two-faced god facing in opposite directions, since he looks both to the future and the past. It's no surprise then, that Janus is one of the premiere January baby names. The Slavic form Janusz is more commonly used than the English, represented by the Polish cinematographer Janusz Kaminski, who has shot all of Steven Spielberg's films from Schindler's List to Lincoln.
Origin:Variation of Jacinta
Description:Jacinda, a form of the lovely and unusual Spanish and Portuguese flower name Jacinta (for Hyacinth), was first popularized by the Australian actress Jacinda Barrett. Today, the girls' name Jacinda is most notable as the name of New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern, one of the first world leaders to give birth in office, widely credited with her strong and compassionate leadership during the coronavirus pandemic.
Origin:Variation of June, month name
Description:Juna, a variation of the newly stylish month name June, was introduced in the U.S. by actor Bradford Anderson, who chose it for his daughter, whose middle name, Meredith, is the name of Anderson's New Hampshire hometown.
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.
Origin:English, diminutive of James
Description:Peaked in the 1940s, but still an amiable classic, a la Joe and Tom -- though rarely used on its own.
Origin:Slavic variation of John, or Latin
Description:Jovan, the name of the supreme Roman deity, seems more extraterrestrial now -- and it's also firmly attached to a perfume label. Some parents may see it as a variation of Giovanni, the Italian for John. It is in fact the Slavic variation of John and may be an original way to honor an ancestral John.
Origin:Diminutive of Jebediah, Hebrew
Description:Both Jeb and Jed are very attractive Old Testament short forms with long and bright futures. Jeb's main current association is with the Bush brother and former governor of Florida, but the name was a mainstay on early TV westerns, and then went upscale as the nickname (his birth name being Josiah) of the President on "The West Wing."
Description:Just like Flora is for botanicals, Jewel is the generic gemstone name, not used much since the early twentieth century, when it was seen as a symbol of how precious a daughter could be. The French version, Bijou, feels more modern, as do Pearl and Ruby.