The Origin and Meaning of the Name James

Do you feel a deep admiration for this name? Discover the origin and meaning of the name James with all its secrets and curiosities.
The Origin and Meaning of the Name James

Last update: 20 July, 2022

If you know someone who’s been lucky enough to be named James, or if you’re thinking of giving this beautiful name to your future baby, you can’t miss the origin and meaning of the name James.

In addition, we’ll also provide you with other interesting information, such as the saints, the history of this beautiful option, its variants, and much more.

What’s the origin and meaning of the name James?

The history of the name James is most interesting for those who are fascinated by this option.

It all starts from the very moment when it’s discovered that James is a translation of the Hebrew name Jacob. According to the Bible, Jacob is a translation of the Hebrew term aqeb (‘heel or sole of the foot’) or aqob (‘to hold, to supplant’). For this reason, it receives the same meaning as James. And the fact is that, according to history, there are two main protagonists who gave rise to this name, depending on the sources:

  • The Old Testament indicates that Jacob was the grandson of the prophet Abraham. The Bible (Gen. 25:22) tells that it was prophesied to his mother, Rebecca, that two nations were fighting in her womb. Therefore, Jacob confronted his brother as a symbol of the people of Israel, the one chosen by God.
  • According to the New Testament, two of Jesus’ apostles were named James, and to differentiate them, the Messiah graciously gave one of them this name.
A Biblical scroll.
The holy scriptures offer two hypotheses about the origin of the name James. Therefore, if you are a person of faith, you may like this option.

James as a Saint

The onomastics of James is celebrated on November 28, which is the day of St. James (in honor of the St. James of the book of Marche). The latter was an Italian Franciscan religious man born into a family of few resources. However, that did not impede him from getting a doctorate in Civil Law. Throughout his life, James of the Marche was a great preacher: He wrote about 18 books and was a promoter of churches and libraries. In 1476, he died in Naples, the same day that his saint’s day is celebrated. So, make a note of this date in your calendar to remember it always.

The origin and meaning of the name James, a name that’s gone around the world

Once the name Jacob spread around the world, the Scottish roots of James made the fathers of the English royalty also feel deeply fascinated by this name. An example is King James VI, who assumed the English throne in the 17th century. Today, James is still a very popular name and is even ranked as the most popular boy names over the past 100 years.

Variations of James

Being such a globalized option, there are different variants depending on the mother tongue of the parents. In the case of James, it stands out as a curiosity that it’s one of the names that has the most variations:

  • Giacomo (Italian)
  • Yago (Welsh)
  • Jacob (Hebrew, English)
  • Jacques (French)
  • Jakob (German, Polish)
  • Jaime (Spanish)
  • Séamas (Irish)

Famous people named James

It’s not surprising that the popularity of this name increases over time, and so much so that several celebrities and presidents of the government have carried this beautiful option as a flag. Do you want to discover who they are? Take note!

  • James Brolin: American actor
  • James Brown: American singer and composer
  • James Buchanan: Fifteenth president of the United States
  • James Cameron: Film and television director recognized worldwide for such sublime works as Titanic and Avatar
  • James Earl Jones: American actor
  • James Madison: Fourth president of the United States and founding father of the U.S. Constitution
  • James Taylor: American singer and composer
A James Bond nintendo game.
Are you a fan of the movies of the most famous secret agent in the world? Then go ahead and name your child after James Bond himself.

Enjoy this wonderful option now that you know the origin and meaning of the name James

We hope this wonderful option has touched your heart even more after discovering its origin and meaning. There’s no doubt that James has crossed all borders and is becoming more and more popular.

In fact, with the successful series of Game of Thrones and the great role played by the character of James Lannister, many parents today feel even more determined than ever to choose it. And the name James touched your heart too? Let us know in the comments!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.