James Name Meaning

A name that has stood strong through the ages, men with the name of James have been a fixture on stage, screen and literature. Authors such as like Joyce, Baldwin and Jones have left their mark on the literary world with the first name of James. Actors like Dean, Caan, Franco and Garner have given us iconic roles and characters in a wide range of movies. The name has been a strong, constant monicker for artists and more for decades.

But the name has a richer history than only Hollywood. James is a modern descendant of Iacomus, the Latin form of the Hebrew name Jacob. Two of the twelve apostles in the Bible had the name of James. Kings of England, Scotland and Spain and six U.S. Presidents have all bore the name as well, giving it a regal flair as well as a religious one.

James has numerous shortened versions, giving parents a wide variety of nicknames for their boy, including Jimmy, Jim, Jamie or Jimbo. Different variations of the name include Jaime (Spanish), Jacob/Jakob (Danish, Icelandic, Polish), Yakov (Russian) and Iago (Portuguese).

For women, Jacqueline, Jacobina, Jamie and Jameson are all considered variants of James or Jacob.

Infographic of James name meaning, which is A perennial classic meaning the supplanter, James is an English form of Jacob.
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James Name Popularity

How popular is the name James? Here’s everything we know.

Year Rank # Births % Births
1910 2 9,192 2.6107%
1911 3 9,951 2.6723%
1912 3 17,644 3.4987%
1913 3 20,831 3.6741%
1914 3 26,263 3.7685%
1915 3 33,776 3.7176%
1916 3 35,569 3.6821%
1917 3 37,339 3.7323%
1918 3 42,119 3.9245%
1919 3 42,392 4.0484%
1920 4 47,909 4.3088%
1921 4 49,749 4.3446%
1922 4 49,803 4.4703%
1923 4 50,465 4.5056%
1924 4 52,944 4.5592%
1925 4 52,681 4.6609%
1926 3 53,205 4.8374%
1927 3 53,675 4.849%
1928 3 52,753 4.9303%
1929 2 52,122 5.032%
1930 2 53,944 5.1642%
1931 2 51,213 5.1889%
1932 2 51,920 5.2553%
1933 2 51,106 5.4855%
1934 2 54,243 5.6111%
1935 2 55,000 5.6597%
1936 2 54,684 5.6768%
1937 2 56,549 5.7387%
1938 2 59,096 5.7726%
1939 2 59,628 5.862%
1940 1 62,471 5.8774%
1941 1 66,731 5.929%
1942 1 77,173 6.1114%
1943 1 80,258 6.1477%
1944 1 76,947 6.2086%
1945 1 74,450 6.1046%
1946 1 87,431 5.9252%
1947 1 94,756 5.6766%
1948 1 88,588 5.5494%
1949 1 86,855 5.3993%
1950 1 86,239 5.3561%
1951 1 87,272 5.1473%
1952 1 87,107 4.9902%
1953 2 86,009 4.8598%
1954 3 86,288 4.7203%
1955 3 84,157 4.5753%
1956 2 84,837 4.4918%
1957 2 84,270 4.3793%
1958 3 78,709 4.1646%
1959 3 78,601 4.137%
1960 3 76,842 4.0556%
1961 4 75,917 4.0212%
1962 4 72,557 3.9522%
1963 4 71,327 3.9736%
1964 4 73,044 4.1497%
1965 4 67,703 4.1401%
1966 3 65,180 4.1747%
1967 3 61,699 4.0657%
1968 4 60,704 4.0427%
1969 3 59,912 3.8889%
1970 2 61,766 3.8812%
1971 2 54,622 3.635%
1972 3 47,083 3.4569%
1973 4 42,888 3.3082%
1974 5 41,353 3.1816%
1975 4 39,592 3.081%
1976 5 38,306 2.9721%
1977 5 40,054 2.9715%
1978 5 39,914 2.9688%
1979 5 39,370 2.7921%
1980 5 39,325 2.6896%
1981 7 38,307 2.606%
1982 6 38,872 2.6013%
1983 6 36,353 2.4635%
1984 7 35,846 2.4097%
1985 7 35,854 2.3622%
1986 7 34,034 2.2547%
1987 8 32,636 2.1386%
1988 9 32,503 2.0857%
1989 9 32,698 2.0263%
1990 8 32,347 1.9516%
1991 7 30,504 1.8715%
1992 9 28,503 1.7857%
1993 14 26,249 1.6837%
1994 14 24,768 1.6139%
1995 17 22,731 1.5082%
1996 17 21,155 1.4129%
1997 17 20,402 1.3794%
1998 18 19,686 1.3153%
1999 19 18,551 1.2388%
2000 18 17,981 1.1771%
2001 19 17,070 1.1329%
2002 18 16,957 1.1316%
2003 18 16,891 1.1103%
2004 17 16,460 1.0799%
2005 17 16,133 1.0552%
2006 16 16,235 1.0368%
2007 15 15,957 1.0114%
2008 17 15,171 0.9816%
2009 18 14,206 0.9505%
2010 19 13,877 0.963%
2011 17 13,247 0.9298%
2012 14 13,418 0.9416%
2013 13 13,552 0.9518%
2014 9 14,420 0.9897%
2015 7 14,799 1.0171%
2016 5 14,842 1.0294%
2017 4 14,232 1.0197%
2018 4 13,525 0.9844%
2019 6 13,087 0.9667%
2020 6 12,042 0.9461%
2021 5 12,367 1.0117%
2022 5 11,792 0.8938%

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Data via SSA.gov.

Names Like James

If you like James, you’ll love these other names like James.

What names are diminutives of James?

A diminutive is a name that’s like James sounds, you might also like these names that sound like James, but shorter.

Name Meaning Origin Popularity Other Gender

A Spanish form of James and Jacob.



He who supplants



He who supplants



He who supplants



He who supplants



A variant diminutive form of James.



A diminutive form of James.



He who supplants



He who supplants


What names are variants of James?

Mix it up with these names that are a variation of the name James.

Name Meaning Origin Popularity Other Gender

Saint James



An Italian form of Jacob and James.






A Spanish form of Jacob and James.






A French form of James and Jacob.



A Spanish form of James and Jacob.



Son of James



He who supplants; son of James



A Russian form of Jacob and James.



He who supplants



Saint James






A variant form of James.


What names sound like James?

If you like how James sounds, you might also like these names that sound like James.

Name Meaning Origin Popularity Other Gender










Wealthy protector



Thankful one



Thankful one



Thankful one


What names are similar to James?

Find a name that’s like James, but just a little bit different.

Name Meaning Origin Popularity Other Gender

Manly and powerful



Bearing Christ



Home ruler



God is gracious



God is gracious



God is salvation



Helmet of will



Western meadow



A willing protector



Brave in battle


Lists With James

Find inspiration in these baby boy name lists featuring the name James.

Siblings of James

Mamas with kids named James also have kids with these names.

Name Meaning Origin Popularity Other Gender

Of nobility



Free woman



Circling sea









From Lucania



Lily flower



Industrious, striving; work; rival; laborious; eager



Dedicated to Mars



Jehovah will increase






Head of hair



Free man



God has answered



Good news



  1. We liked the fact that James is a strong Christian name.

  2. James is a family name on both sides. He is actually James the fifth, but we call him Cinqe [Sink].

  3. Classic name and just suited him

  4. Husband’s choice. He likes the name

  5. Our son is named after Saint James, brother of Jesus. We’re Orthodox Christians so we knew we wanted to name our baby a saint’s name. His middle name is Alexander – my husband’s middle name – and we loved how strong James Alexander felt as a full name. I don’t love the possibility of nicknames (Jim, Jimmy, etc.) but if he decides to go by a nickname that’ll be his choice. I’ll probably always be that annoying mama calling him by his name, James.

  6. Before having kids my husband and I would say when we have James life will be different. We always referred to our first child as James. So, when we found out we were having a boy we naturally named him James

  7. Family name

  8. James is my husbands middle name! James also has my husbands first name as his middle name. Since he’s our first my husband wanted to name him after himself.
    It wasn’t my first pick for a boys name, but my husband was the one who came up with the idea and I like him. And thankfully, the name has lots of nicknames you can use! (Jimmy, Jim, JJ, JB…)

  9. A timeless, strong name.

  10. named after dad

  11. Classic, strong name that my husband and I both liked

  12. James wasn’t on our list of pre-approved baby names, but none of those names matched our sweet, stoic baby when he arrived! His demeanor matched that of a noble judge or famous author. It took us four days to decide. Dad chose the middle name of ‘Brinley’ after his Grandfather. I wanted “cool” initials, but not many letters flow off the tongue with ‘B’ as a middle initial, except for ‘J’. I briefly went through some ‘J’ names that would go with ‘Brinley’ and said ‘James’ out loud. It stuck, the family liked it. James Brinley “JB” matches him well!

  13. Family name, classic, & timeless.

  14. My fathers name and also a biblical boys name

  15. James was a name my partner and I both agreed on.
    His name suits his middle name and really goes with his overall name.
    The name had to sound right and it did suit him and we both really liked it.

  16. It’s my fiance Father’s name and my favorite uncle’s name

  17. We named our son after my dad (and coincidentally, both of my grandpas). Since it is such a family name and both my husband and I are very close to my dad, it was a no-brainer. Don’t be afraid to use family names!

  18. It’s one of our favorite books in the Bible! Every good and perfect gift comes from above, and Baby James is such a gift.

    • That’s beautiful

  19. I always loved the name James. It sounds so sweet and mellow.

    • you are a bozo

  20. Dad and both grandfather’s name
    Book of the Bible

  21. I named him James because his father’s middle name is James

  22. It is his dad’s father’s name. And my uncle’s name..it’s a lil family tradition.

  23. I was called Jimmy as a kid . . . then Jim as I got older . . . then, after Mom and Dad passed away, I have introduced myself as James in their honor. My brother is named John . . . and my sisters are Judy, Joan, and Justine. Mom wanted to name me Patrick because of being born on St. Patrick’s day . . . but Dad stepped in and fixed that. After all, why change a good thing going with all “J”s as the children’s first names. James is a one syllable name that’s easy to say and to remember, so I’ve got no complaints.

  24. Wanted a simple name, my name is hard to say and I didn’t want that for him.

  25. Named him after his father

  26. My partner has a tradition in his family where the oldest boy has the initials JAE, so that was our base. We are both into history so we decided James after James I and Alexander as his middle name after Alexander the Great. I also happy to be a big Harry Potter fan and my first dog was named Lily so it was kinda fitting to have my first child be named James

  27. The name James to me I think I like it and almost my family ? all male member are called james

  28. James the disciples and saints. James for James Kirk, a huge trekkie

  29. James is the diminutive of Jacob hence the meaning “supplanter”. My dad did not want me to have to struggle through life with people calling me Charley and my mother wanted to name me after her little brother James Moses so my given names became James Charles with nicknames like Jimmy-Chuck and Jimbo and Jim. Of late I have had to get used to being called James which seems so formal and off-putting. I prefer to be called Jim.

  30. my husband named baby james after himself i love the name as well

  31. He is named for my brother and we both loved the name and how strong and Biblical it is

  32. Family name!

  33. Family name, it’s my ex husbands family name.

  34. My fianc? and I are both into history and so he’s named after James the first… his family also has a tradition of the oldest having the initials JAE so we were following that as well. (Also I am a Harry Potter fan and my first dog I got as an adult is named Lily and not my first child is James)

  35. James is a family name, and it works well with our last name.

  36. Family name.

  37. I named him James because his fathers name is james and james is close to Jamie and his great grandfathers names is James as well. His full name is James Scott Hampton his middle name comes from his grandpa his great grandpa and grandpa have both past away. So his cute little name comes from 3 great men.

  38. His name is actually Jaymee but they only say here its a girls name in which its unisex.
    I chose his name because i loved the sound of it honestly there was no reason. He has my great uncles name but as his middle name which is Florentino. That was special to me. I love everything about his name as well. His nickname is James.
    He is caring and lovable but with a feisty attitude.

  39. My husband and I both had/have grandpas named James and it is my favorite book of the Bible.

  40. He is named after his grandpa on daddy’s side

  41. James was named after his grandpa on his father’s side

  42. James is the best son I could ever have or will have.

  43. James is named after his dad.
    It’s special because all the boys have James in their name somehow either first or middle.
    Then I decided to go with Sebastian as a middle name just because it flows very well and it just happened to be the one I fell in love with ?

  44. It is my husbands grandfathers name, but he went by Jim. I was attached to having a J for my baby for some reason, and James is a strong male name. His middle name is Randall after my dad and my husbands Dad, and JR is a cute nn.

  45. We named him after his daddy

  46. James is a strong biblical name that we choose after my husband lost his grandfather a few years ago.

  47. Family name

  48. We picked James because of the apostle James. He was a builder and a “do”-er in the early church, and we hope our son will be active and help out!

  49. We love classic names and chose James because it is a family name.

  50. We picked James for our second boy as it is my husbands favorite book of the Bible. He was Jesus little brother, so we thought it fitting for the little brother of the family.

  51. Several men in family have this as their middle name and liked name

  52. James is a name I’ve always loved. It’s a classic, strong name that I think will suit him throughout his whole life.

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