Boy Names baby nameJack

What does the name Jack mean?

The meaning of the name “Jack” is: “God is gracious”.

Additional information: Jack is a masculine name of medieval English origins. Originally deriving from the name Jackin, a diminutive of John, the name Jack means ‘God is gracious’, and is now considered a name in its own right. Jack also used to be a common synonym for the word ‘man’, leading to phrases such as ‘jack of all trades’. Jack isn’t just a diminutive for John – it can also be used in place of Jacob, Jackson, or Jake, and Jack has its own diminutive with Jackie. Although typically used as a name for boys, it can also be used as a diminutive for feminine names like Jacqueline and Jackie. The foreign variants for Jack are the same as the ones for John; for example, the Bulgarian Ivan, the Scottish Jock, and the Swedish name Johannes. Jack is sometimes misspelled as ‘Jach’, ‘Jacky’, or ‘Jakc’.

The name Jack has been a popular one for boys around the world for centuries – since 1880, the name has never fallen out of the top 200 in the USA. While its popularity dipped during the sixties, seventies, and eighties, it climbed back up the rankings during the nineties, and was the 41st most popular name for boys in the USA in 2014. It also saw some brief popularity as a girls name in the twenties and early thirties. The name is more popular in England and Wales – it has been in the top three names for boys since 1996.

Perhaps one of the more famous (and unfortunately sinister) examples of someone with the name Jack is Jack the Ripper, the pseudonym of a nineteenth century London serial killer. Other celebrities with the name Jack are American actors Jack Nicholson, Jack Palanace, Jack Lemmon and Jack Black (American actor), Jack Hannah (American animator and writer), and President Jack (John Fitzgerald) Kennedy of the United States. Famous folkloric bearers of this name include Jack Be Nimble and Jack Spratt, of nursery rhyme fame, as well as Jack and the Beanstalk.

In Victorian England, there was a very popular urban legend about an entity called Spring-heeled Jack, who was supposed to have a devilish appearance and an ability to make jumps of extraordinary heights.

In cards, a jack is the lowest-ranking of the face cards. In English-language slang, "you don't know jack" means "you don't know anything." "Jack," in this situation, stands in for a cruder phrase. In American slang, jack can also be used to say something has been disturbed or messed up (e.g. "this is jacked up"), or as an onanistic euphemism.