Baby Names

James’ Name Meaning & Variations (Plus Matching Options For Siblings)

Updated on


James ranks #5 in the top 10 baby boy names in the US, according to the SSA (Social Security Administration). (1)

You might be asking yourself some of these questions:

“What’s James’ name meaning?”

“Why is James so popular?”

“Is James a boy or girl name?”

“Are there Jameses in the Bible? If yes, who were they?”

“What are some variants for James and similar names that I can use for his siblings?”

“What are the best twin names for boys that match with James?”

Let’s answer these questions (and more) below.

Information About James

James Name Meaning

James means “supplanter” or “substitute.” It can also mean “may God protect.”


  • Jayms
  • Jāmz
  • Jay-um-z

Name Origin Of James

James is an English name of Hebrew origin. It’s also a biblical boy name.

It comes from the Hebrew name Jacob, which means “supplanter (substitute).”

The biblical Jacob’s name fits his actions. He tricked his older twin, Esau, into exchanging his bekorah (birthright) for a bowl of stew when they were 15 years old.

In Israelite tradition, firstborn sons inherit their father’s judicial authority, family leadership, and most of his properties. By tricking Esau into giving up his birthright, Jacob becomes their father Isaac’s heir.

This isn’t just a simple issue, however, because God had promised Abraham, Isaac’s father, that he will be the father of nations. Under this covenant, the firstborns of Abraham’s descendants are supposed to continue his legacy and responsibilities.

Aside from the birthright scam, Jacob also tricked their father into granting him Esau’s bekhorah, a wish for fertility and dominion.

According to the Bible, Isaac didn’t appear to acknowledge the twins’ birthright exchange. In his old age, Isaac called Esau to prepare him his favorite food, venison, so he’ll give him his firstborn blessing.

A hunter, Esau quickly set off to fulfill his dad’s wishes.

Their mother, Rebecca, overheard Isaac’s instructions, but she also wanted her favorite son Jacob to get the blessing.

She quickly prepared a goat meat dish to taste like venison and covered Jacob in lamb skin so he’ll be like the hairy Esau.

Blind from old age, Isaac thought Jacob was Esau and gave him the firstborn blessing.

Jacob ran away from home to avoid the furious Esau. Still, this paved the way for him to meet his two wives and become the father of Israel’s 12 tribes.

What Was James’ Name In The Bible?

Several people were named “James” in the Bible, although the background story of his name meaning is actually about Jacob (read below).

What Is James’ Name In Hebrew?

James comes from the Hebrew name “Ya’aqov,” anglicized (turned to English) as “Jacob.”

The Hebrew name became the Greek boy name “Iakobos.” It turned into the Latin name “Iacomus” or “Jacomus,” which became “James.”

What’s the Gender Of A James?

James is a primarily male name, but it has variants for girls.

Yes. James ranks fifth in the most popular baby names for boys in the US. (1)

Since the 1900s, James hasn’t ranked below the top 20 favorite boy names. It even held the top place for over a decade – from 1940 to 1952. (1)

James has also consistently been in the top 10 from the 1900s up to 1992. (1)

Its popularity waned slightly from 1993 to 2013, ranking out of the top 10 but still in the top 20. Yet it regained its ranks within the top 10 from 2014 to 2021. (1)

FAQs About James’ Name Meaning

How Many Jameses Are In The Bible?

There are at least five Jameses in the Bible: (2)

  1. James, Zebedee’s son – Spain’s patron saint; one of Jesus’ twelve apostles
  2. James, Jesus’ brother
  3. James, Alphaeus’ son – Another disciple
  4. James, Judas’ father (not Judas Iscariot)
  5. James, Mary’s son (not Jesus’ mother)

What’s The Personality Of A James?

Your baby’s personality isn’t determined by their name, but Jameses are perceived as leaders or men committed to their work.

Although James’ name meaning isn’t 100% positive, its strong background still makes it a popular choice among parents.

Plus, even if Jacob had tricked his brother, he later became a powerful man and one of Israel’s best-known patriarchs.

Is John A Nickname For James?

No. John is a standalone first name. While it’s also a diminutive of longer names such as Jonathan, it isn’t usually considered a common nickname for James.

James’ Name Variations

Boy Name Variations

Girl Name Variations

Unisex Name Variations

  • Jackie (English)
  • Jacky (English)
  • Japik (Frisian)
  • Jeams (from Scotland)

Pet Names & Common Nicknames For James

Some common English pet names for James:

  • Jack
  • Jame
  • Jamie
  • Jay
  • Jim
  • Jimbo
  • Jimmy

Names You Can Pair With James

Middle Names For Boys

  • Alexander
  • Benjamin
  • Oliver
  • Samuel

Suggested Twin Or Sibling Names

  • Abigail
  • Andrew
  • Caleb
  • Christy
  • Claire
  • Elijah
  • Emily
  • Emma
  • Esau
  • Grace
  • Jade
  • Jason
  • Jennifer
  • Jessica
  • Judah
  • Justin
  • Liam
  • Maggie
  • Matthew
  • Noah
  • Olivia
  • Sarah
  • Vincent

Matching Or Similar Names

  • Aimes
  • Aymes
  • Eames
  • Hayes
  • Henry
  • Jase
  • Jayce
  • Jaycee
  • Jesse
  • Joseph
  • Joshua
  • Levi
  • Peter
  • Ryan
  • Simon
  • Thomas

Other Names For Boys That Start with J

  • Jackson
  • Jeremiah
  • Jonah
  • Jonathan
  • Jordan

Famous People

Famous Jameses

  • James Baldwin – American writer
  • James Brolin – American actor
  • James Brown – American singer and songwriter
  • James Buchanan – 15th US president
  • James Cameron – Film and TV director
  • James Dean – American film actor
  • James Earl Jones – American actor
  • James Franco – American actor
  • James I the Conqueror – 13th-century Spanish king
  • James Ireland – Producer
  • James Joyce – 19th Irish novelist
  • James Madison, Jr. – Fourth US president of the United States; the US Constitution’s founding father
  • James McAvoy – Scottish actor
  • James Monroe – Fifth US president
  • James Taylor – American singer and songwriter
  • King James I of England – Namesake and sponsor of the Bible’s King James version

Famous Jamies

  • Jamie Chadwick – British racing driver
  • Jamie Foxx – American comedian and singer
  • Jamie Lee Curtis – American actress

Famous Jimmys

  • Jimmy Buffett – American musician
  • Jimmy Carter – 39th US president
  • Jimmy Fallon – Host and comedian

Famous Jims

  • Jim Belushi – American actor
  • Jim Carrey – Canadian actor
  • Jim Cavieziel – American actor
  • Jim Davis – American cartoonist
  • Jim Henson – Puppeteer who created “The Muppets”
  • Jim Morrison – The Doors’ lead singer
  • Jim Sturgess – English actor

Fictional Characters

  • Captain James Tiberious Kirk – Star Trek series
  • James Bond – Eponymous series by Ian Fleming
  • Jamie Sommers – The Bionic Woman
  • Jim Block – Final Destination 5
  • Jim Hopper- Stranger Things

James Songs

  • “Cool James” by Harvey Danger
  • “Mr. James Dean” by Hilary Duff
  • “Sweet Baby James” by James Taylor

Name Lists With “James” On Motherhood Community


Other Baby Name Meanings


Other Baby Name Ideas





– Motherhood Community is reader supported. When you buy through links on our site we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn More