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John (M)>

John (male)

Synonym(s):Iain (M) Ian (M) Jack (M)
Variants:Eoin (M) Evan (M) Gianni (M) Giovanni (M) Hannu (M) Hans (M) Iain (M) Ian (M) Iefan (M) Ieuan (M) Ifan (M) Ioan (M) Ioannes (M) Iohannes (M) Ion (M) Ivan (M) Iwan (M) Jan (M) János (M) Jean (M) Jens (M) Joan (M) Joannes (M) João (M) Johan (M) Johanan (M) Johann (M) Johannes (M) Johnannes (M) Jon (M) Jöns (M) Juan (M) Juhani (M) Jussi (M) Seán (M) Seathan (M) Shaughan (M) Shaun (M) Shawn (M) Siôn (M) Vanni (M) Xoán (M) Yahaya (M) Yahya (M) Yann (M) Yon (M)
Diminutive(s):Jno (M) Joh (M) Johes (M)
Diminutive for:Jonathan (M)
Pet Name(s):Hank (M) Jack (M) Jackie (M) Jacky (M) Jock (M) Jockey (M) Jockie (M) Johnnie (M) Johnny (M) Jonny (M)
Derivative(s):Johnan (F) Johnana (F) Johnann (F) Johnanna (F) Johnston (M) Johnstone (M)
Derivative of:Jehan (M)
Can be spelt:Iohn (M) Jon (M)
Feminine form:Jan (F) Jane (F) Janina (F) Janine (F) Jean (F) Jeannine (F) Joan (F) Joanna (F) Johanna (F) Johnnie (F) Johnny (F) Joni (F) Jonna (F) Juana (F) Seonag (F)
Source(s): English Parish Register
The Oxford Names Companion, OUP
"Scottish Forenames" - Donald Whyte, FGH, FSG
Private communications [Ik, IS, LA, GB]

English, via Greek and Latin and the Anglo-Norman Jehan from Hebrew Johanan, "God has been gracious"; NT Matthew 3-4 & Gospel of St John.

Reputedly the most popular boy's name in the English-speaking world, John has given rise to a large number of surnames. There are also very many forename variants in most European languages. Scots families occasionally use boys names for a girl, especially if they were hoping for a boy and wished to honour an ancestor [* see cited memorial inscription below]

In old documents in Latin, the forms Ioannes, Iohannes, Joannes or Johannes may be used, with appropriate case endings.

A correspondent [IS] notes that in Skye, Scotland, Gaelic-speakers use John and Ian/Iain/Eoin interchangeably. In Gaelic areas with a reasonable influx of English speakers, the names might therefore be considered to be synonyms.

Jock, the archetypal nickname for a Scot, is from the Scottish diminutive for John and equivalent to the English pet name Jack.

A further correspondent [Ik] has questioned where the main variants within the British Isles are normally found. This is a summary of what the Oxford Dictionary of Forenames suggests:
- John has some 30-40 variants occurring in most European languages.
- Ian is Scottish and Iain is the Scottish Gaelic spelling.
- Seán [nowadays without the accent] is Irish Gaelic for John via the Anglo-Norman forename Jehan.
- Ieuan is the Welsh version of John and from it comes Iefan. These have been Anglicized as Evan or Ifan, not Ewan/Euan. (These are Scottish Anglicized versions of the Scottish/Irish Gaelic Eóghan [q.v.]. Note, however, that Oxford also suggests that
- Evan is the Scottish Anglicized version of Eghan, but doesn't elaborate on this latter name which has a strong, but possibly coincidental, similarity to Eóghan.

  • Note: Another correspondent [LA] has pointed out that many [?most] earlier manuscripts used a common script for capitals "I" & "J". Thus John may have been written and then transcribed as Iohn. Many on-line services have transcribed original documents faithfully so this version might be the one to look for in the indexes to earlier records.

* GB has noted a memorial inscription in Fraserburgh Kirkton Cemetery in Aberdeenshire where two normally male names were given to a baby girl:

"Erected by Christian Buchan in memory of her husband William Buchan … and her daughter John Ann Bruce aged 10 months."