Boy Names baby nameJohn

What does the name John mean?

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

Additional information: The name John comes from the Latin Ioannes, which in turn came from the Greek ‘Ἰωάννης’ (Ioannes), which was rooted in the Hebrew Yohanan or Yehohanan, meaning ‘Graced by God’ and ‘God is Gracious’ respectively. John was the name of many biblical features, the most well known of these being John the Baptist and the author of the Gospel of John, and because of this John (and other biblical names such as Matthew, Mark, and Luke) was a very popular name in English speaking Christian countries for centuries, especially after the First Crusade. John can be used as a nickname for Jonathan, but it is a given name in its own right with its own diminutives and variants, including Jon, Johnny and Johnnie. The most well known feminine form of John is Joan, but others are Johanna, Jo, and Jean. Common misspellings are ‘Jhon’ and ‘Jonh’.

After centuries of popularity, however, the name John has been steadily decreasing in popularity since the 1920s, falling from the most popular name for boys to 26th most popular in 2014, with similar decreases in popularity around the world. The name John fell out of the top 100 names for boys in England and Wales in 2011, falling further to the 107th most popular name in 2013. Because of its roots in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, John has a lot of foreign spellings, including Hans (German), Juan (Spanish), Sean (Irish), and Ian (Scottish).

Celebrities named John include John F. Kennedy (President of the United States of America), John Travolta (American actor), and Johnny Depp (American actor, born John Christopher Depp).

John has, curiously, been the name of several ill-fated members of the British royal family – King John is still subject to villainous portrayals today, despite having died in 1216, and a number of princes named or nicknamed John died young.