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 4.5057%
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 4.9304%
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 5.9253%
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 3.1817%
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 2.7922%
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 0.9519%
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%

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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
Jaime

A Spanish form of James and Jacob.

Spanish

Jamesie

He who supplants

Hebrew

Jamie

He who supplants

Hebrew

Jamsey

He who supplants

Hebrew

Jayme

He who supplants

Spanish

Jem

A variant diminutive form of James.

Jim

A diminutive form of James.

Hebrew

Jimmie

He who supplants

Hebrew

Jimmy

He who supplants

Hebrew


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
Diego

Saint James

Spanish

Giacomo

An Italian form of Jacob and James.

Italian

Hamish

Scottish

Iago

A Spanish form of Jacob and James.

Welsh

Jacob

Supplanter

Hebrew

Jacques

A French form of James and Jacob.

French

Jago

A Spanish form of James and Jacob.

English

Jameson

Son of James

English

Jamison

He who supplants; son of James

Hebrew

Jascha

A Russian form of Jacob and James.

Slavic

Jaymes

He who supplants

Hebrew

Santiago

Saint James

Spanish

Seamus

Irish

Shamus

A variant form of James.

Irish


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
Aimes

Friend

French

Ames

Friend

French

Aymes

Friend

French

Eames

Wealthy protector

Irish

Jadan
Jaden

Thankful one

Hebrew

Jaiden

Thankful one

Hebrew

Jayden

Thankful one

Hebrew


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
Andrew

Manly and powerful

Greek

Christopher

Bearing Christ

English

Henry

Home ruler

English

Jack

God is gracious

English

John

God is gracious

Hebrew

Joshua

God is salvation

Hebrew

Liam

Helmet of will

Irish

Wesley

Western meadow

English

William

A willing protector

German

Wyatt

Brave in battle

English


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
David

Beloved

Hebrew

Morgan

Circling sea

Welsh

Alice

Of nobility

German

Virginia

Maiden

Latin

Caroline

Free woman

French

Luke

From Lucania

Greek

Lily

Lily flower

English

Carla

Free man

German

Caesar

Head of hair

Latin

Amalia

Industrious, striving; work; rival; laborious; eager

Latin

Marcus

Dedicated to Mars

Latin

Faith

Devotion

English

24 Comments

  1. 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.

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

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

  4. Family name!

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

  6. My fiance 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)

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

  8. Family name.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

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

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

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

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

  15. 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 ?

  16. 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.

  17. We named him after his daddy

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

  19. Family name

  20. 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!

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

  22. 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.

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

  24. 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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