Parents love the letter J. It starts John, Joseph, and James, the most evergreen of classic boy names.
But it’s also the first letter of chart-topping modern inventions, like Jayden and Jax. Tally up all of the spellings of Jackson, and it rivals Liam for the #1 spot in the US
Every style in between is represented, too. Biblical favorites, like Joshua and Jacob, to imports like Javier, word names like Justice, and, of course, the oh-so-cool, but still traditional Jack.
Read on for more boy names starting with J, from the most popular of the moment, to the rarities you might consider for a son.
MOST POPULAR BOY NAMES STARTING WITH J
If you had to guess someone’s first initial, boy born in recent years, I’d tell you to guess J. So many popular boy names begin with J, that the Top Ten all appear in the Top 50. And Josiah, Jonathan, Jeremiah, Jaxson, Jordan, Jose, Jace, and Jameson also in the Top 100!
A Biblical name, worn by saints and kings, as well as many other notables. It’s hard to overstate this name’s classic status. What has changed? Nicknames! An early generation answered to Jimmy and Jim, but more recently James are likely to be Jamie … or, more and more often, just James.
Believe it or not, James and Jacob are twins, separated at birth – or maybe shortly thereafter. They’re both ultimately derived from the Hebrew Ya’aqov, which became Iakob, Iacobus, and Iacomus. Now they’re reunited in the US Top Twenty.
A surname name associated with artists (Pollock) and presidents (Andrew), and found all over the map.
Along with James, one of the most evergreen of boys names. And thanks to nickname Joe, one of the most approachable, too.
The long-running #1 name in the use has fallen from its perch, but remains in steady rotation. Factor in all the John-derived and related names, and it’s clear the name’s influence has not waned.
The name of action heroes from fairy tales to Hollywood blockbuster, this traditional nickname for John stands on its own nicely.
As the Aidan names surged in popularity, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith named their son Jaden in 1998. But by 2003, it was the Jayden spelling that headed towards the US Top Ten. After five years there, it’s faded slightly, but there are still lots of newborns whose names end in the -aidan sound.
A sophisticated, longer boy name just right for our age of Sebastian, Oliver, and Adrian.
A twenty-first century spin on Jackson.
It’s easy to dismiss Joshua as a faded 80s favorite. But Joshua ushered in an entire generation of boy names, from Noah to Sebastian.
HOTTEST BOY NAMES STARTING WITH J
Jasper, Jack, and Jameson were all among the fastest rising boy names in terms of actual number of births, from 2017 into 2018.
Jaxtyn and Jericho were among the J boy names debuting in or returned to the US Top 1000.
These ten J names gained the most in the US Top 1000 for 2018:
Jeremias updates Jeremy, and takes Jeremiah in an s-ending direction, along with rising favorites like Matias.
From a Swahili word meaning brave, Jabari may also be related to the Arabic Jabbar – powerful.
Jax puts a modern, edgier refresh on traditional Jack. Jaxx turns it up to eleven.
Plenty of boys have been called Junior, to distinguish them from their same-named fathers. But in an age of word names, maybe putting Junior on the birth certificate feels equally appealing.
Jamar emerged in the 1970s, a spin on the Arabic Jamal. Now Jamir is on the rise.
Jackson, Jaxon, and Jaxson rank in the current US Top 100, so no surprise Jaxxon is also catching on.
Once reserved for girls, Jamie is making a comeback for boys – both as a preferred nickname for James, and as a stand-alone.
A 90s favorite with multiple spellings, Jalen jumped fifty spots in the rankings. What explains the name’s reversal? Possibly a handful of popular athletes – which is what gave the name its original boost.
The French form of Julian, it’s no surprise to see this spelling following Julian up the charts.
It sounds angelic – thank Raphael, Gabriel, Castiel. And Jahzeel is an Old Testament figure, though this spelling feels modern.
RARE BOY NAMES STARTING WITH J
If you like your baby names rare, then this list is for you. None of these J names for boys appear in the current US Top 1000.
In Sanskrit, Jaya means victory. Jay reads masculine in US, but spelling it Jai emphasizes Indian heritage.
If you know your Avengers, Jarvis is Iron Man’s AI butler. But long before that, Jarvis was an English version of the Germanic Gervais, meaning spear.
As in Star Wars. If we name our kiddos Anakin and Kylo, why not Jedi, too?
Embraced by African American parents, Jelani appears to have Arabic roots. It rose originally thanks to a basketball player in the late 1990s. A more current influence might be author and journalist Jelani Cobb.
A surname name related to John, Jennings peaked in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. That tracks with the career of populist politician William Jennings Bryan. Today it feels like an unexpected surname name.
An Old Testament name meaning abundance, Jethro could be a cool o-ending boy name. Two possible roadblocks: classic rock band Jethro Tull, named for an eighteenth century agriculturalist, and The Beverly Hillbillies character.
Common as a surname, rare as a first, Jones picks up where Miles, Wells, and Hayes end.
It could be short for Jordan, but in Cornish, Jory is the equivalent of George.
Another Old Testament rarity, Jotham appears twice – as a King of Judah, as well as one of Gideon’s sons. It’s made more wearable by easy nickname Joe.
With Julian in the Top 100 and Julien rising fast, why not Jules? It’s the French form of Julius, made literary by trailblazing author Jules Verne.