boy names starting with JLooking for boy names starting with J?

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 Jaziel. Tally up all of the spellings of Jackson, and it is a powerfully popular choice – by some measures, a former #1 name 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.

No surprise, then, that J is the most popular letter for boy names in the US.

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.


JAMES (#4)

A Biblical classic 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.

JACK (#15)

The name of action heroes from fairy tales to Hollywood blockbuster, this traditional nickname for John stands on its own nicely.


A surname name meaning son of Jack, Jackson is associated with artists (Pollock) and presidents (Andrew), and found all over the map.

JOHN (#26)

The long-running top name in the US 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.

JOSEPH (#30)

Along with James, one of the most evergreen of boys names. And thanks to nickname Joe, one of the most approachable, too.

JACOB (#32)

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 … and eventually, in English, Jacob and James.

JULIAN (#35)

A sophisticated, longer boy name just right for our age of Sebastian, Oliver, and Adrian. The spelling Julien is on the rise, but remains far less common.

JAYDEN (#46)

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 fading now, but there are still lots of newborns whose names end in the -aidan sound.

JOSIAH (#51)

An Old Testament name with a long history of use, from the eighteenth century Josiah Bartlett, signer of the Declaration of Independence, to West Wing’s fictional president Josiah “Jed” Bartlet – named after the original.

JOSHUA (#60)

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.

JAXON (#67)

A twenty-first century spin on Jackson, possibly intended to make Jax the logical short form.


It looks like a John-Nathan smoosh, but it’s an independent name. Gulliver’s Travels author Jonathan Swift lends it some literary appeal.


A surname name in the key of Jackson.

JOSE (#88)

The Spanish form of the classic Joseph.

JORDAN (#92)

The name of the river where Jesus himself was baptized, Jordan might be a deeply spiritual choice. But it was also a smash hit of the 1990s, helped in part by Jordan Knight, frontman of chart-topping 90s boy band New Kids on the Block.


Jeremy was long the popular form of Jeremiah, but lately it’s the full Old Testament original that appeals to parents – and fits right in with favorites like Elijah and Isaiah.

JACE (#103)

A twenty-first century take on 70s favorite Jason.

JAXSON (#119)

Another possible Jackson/Jaxon spelling.

JASPER (#130)

The masculine answer to Ruby and Pearl.

JONAH (#135)

Bright and energetic Jonah comes with a built-in whale of a (Biblical) tale, but this Old Testament name is broadly popular.

JUAN (#141)

The Spanish form of John, every bit as classic.

JASON (#145)

A Top Ten name from 1971 through 1983, Jason has faded slowly. In Greek myth, Jason led the Argonauts and searched for the Golden Fleece. If it hadn’t been so big back in the late twentieth century, it would be a smash hit today, thanks to ancient roots and a cool, modern sound.

JAYCE (#154)

Another possible spelling for Jace.

JUDE (#161)

A short and strong sound, Jude is familiar to the world thanks to the Beatles’ “Hey Jude.”

JESUS (#165)

Another traditional name for Spanish-speakers, seldom heard as a given name in English.

JUSTIN (#180)

A former favorite with ancient roots, Justin brings to mind 90s boy bands. But this name has actually appeared in the US Top 1000 every year since before 1900, so Justin has staying power.

JUDAH (#181)

An Old Testament name, Judah is a longer form of Jude – or simply a slightly different alternative.

JESSE (#194)

A former favorite, Jesse feels more classic than dated. Another bonus? The meaning: gift.

JETT (#210)

A high-flying, energetic name for a son.

JOEL (#212)

An Old Testament name, Joel lags behind Joseph and now Jonah, too. But it has plenty of appeal.

JAVIER (#239)

The Spanish form of Xavier, boosted by leading man Javier Bardem, along with other notables.

JEREMY (#245)

A 1970s and 80s favorite, Jeremy is the typical English version of the Old Testament Jeremiah.

JAX (#273)

Jack meets Max.

JORGE (#284)

George translated into Spanish, pronounced with two syllables.

JOSUE (#289)

Joshua in translation.

JENSEN (#303)

A generation of Jennifers might inspire sons named Jensen in their honor; or perhaps this Scandi surname related to John is yet another Jackson-inspired possibility.

JAYLEN (#319)

Several talented athletes answer to this Jayden-inspired spin-off.

JADEN (#320)

Another spelling of former favorite Jayden. This is the one Will Smith and Jada Pinkett used for their son, inspired by mom’s name.

JOAQUIN (#328)

A Spanish classic, Joaquin is far more familiar than Joachim, said to be the father of the Virgin Mary.

JULIUS (#348)

An ancient name, the original form of Julian and all the other Jul- names we know so well.

JAY (#367)

Short for nearly any J name on this list, or a stand-alone.

JARED (#378)

A name mentioned in the Old Testament, Jared means descendant.

JOHNNY (#400)

A casual take on John.

JAKE (#407)

More casual than Jacob, not quite as popular as Jack.

JAZIEL (#412)

It sounds angelic – thank Raphael, Gabriel, Castiel. And Jahzeel is an Old Testament figure, though this spelling feels modern.

JEFFREY (#452)

A former favorite, Jeffrey would’ve been Geoffrey in the Middle Ages – think Chaucer – but today is all dad-name … and almost always spelled with a J.

JAIDEN (#455)

Another logical spelling for Jayden.

JASIAH (#468)

Josiah meets Jase.


JAXTON (#475)

Take Jack and Max, combine, and then layer in favorites like Braxton to arrive at this new possibility.


Jonathan, add the H.

JAMARI (#512)

Boy names ending with -amari are a white hot trendlet, so no surprise Jamari makes the list.

JALEN (#524)

Jaylen, hold the Y.

JAMIR (#534)

A take on Jamar, one of several invented names in long use with similar sounds.

JAYSON (#549)

One more spelling for Jason, likely influenced by Jayden.

JULIO (#550)

The Spanish form of Julius.

JASE (#554)

Another Jason/Chase mash-up.

JAYCEON (#557)

The rapper known as The Game started out life as Jayceon Taylor. His name rushed up the popularity charts after he and his fiance debuted their VH1 reality series, Marrying the Game. With the series ended, this spelling is falling in use.

JONAS (#558)

A smooth take on Biblical Jonah, favored in northern Europe. It’s also the surname of the musical Jonas Brothers.

JOHAN (#580)

An older form of John, still heard in Scandinavia.

JAMISON (#590)

Jameson with an I instead of the middle E.

JAIME (#594)

Another cousin to James.

JAMIE (#622)

Once upon a time, every James became Jim. Now they’re more likely to be Jamie – if they use a nickname at all, which is no longer automatic. And just like Charlie, Jamie also stands alone.

JULIEN (#657)

Julian with an E is favored in France; rare most other places.

JAKARI (#709)

Fast-rising J name, and cousin to choices like Dakari, Jabari, and Jamari.

JAXXON (#744)

Jackson turned up to eleven.

JERRY (#753)

An early 1940s favorite, sometimes short for Gerald, Jeremy, or another Jer- name, Jerry has fallen from its Top 20 peak. But just like so many midcentury names, Jerry will (eventually) return.


A surname name that owes something to Jameson, and maybe a little more to Hamilton.

JUSTICE (#764)

A virtue name popular for boys and girls alike since the 1990s.

JUNIOR (#771)

Sometimes a nickname for a boy named for his dad – think James Smith Jr. – Junior has a long history of use as a given name, too.

JIMMY (#774)

A go-to nickname for James, sometimes given independently.

JAGGER (#784)

A rock star surname name with swagger to spare.

JIRAIYA (#791)

Borrowed from a traditional Japanese folk tale, Jiraiya found a fresh audience thanks to manga and anime series Naruto. He’s a ninja and a toad sage in the new stories, playing on parts of the original tale.

JAKAI (#801)

Zakai, Makai, and, of course, Jakai.

JOZIAH (#806)

Another take on Josiah.


An on-trend Old Testament option with friendly nickname Jed.

JUDSON (#864)

Back in the day, Jordan shortened to Jud. Give our love of Jackson and Hudson, Judson feels quite current.

JADIEL (#878)

Inspired by names like Yadiel with Hebrew roots, Jadiel mixes tradition with our love of J names.

JOVANNI (#879)

A phonetic-ish take on Giovanni.

JOEY (#894)

The most casual form of Joseph.

JOE (#895)

Joseph has long been a popular name, often shortened to Joe. So why not just Joe?

JON (#896)

Jon Hamm, Jon Stewart, and Jon Favreau are just a few famous bearers of the name who dropped the H.

JAIRO (#899)

Spanish form of a Biblical name. In Hebrew, it means “he shines.”

JRUE (#904)

Respelling of Drew, influenced by basketball player Jrue Holiday.


A European form of Jeremiah.

JERICHO (#930)

An Old Testament place name with a twenty-first century sound.

JONES (#946)

Effortlessly cool surname name.

JAXX (#983)

Jax is edgier than Jack. Jaxx takes it even further.

JAKOB (#988)

A spelling used in Germany, Scandi countries, and, sometimes, in the US, too.



From a Swahili word meaning brave.


A name with Arabic roots and a weighty meaning: serious.


In Sanskrit, Jaya means victory. Jay reads masculine in US, but spelling it Jai emphasizes Indian heritage.


Cousin to Jairo. Jairus is another possibility.


Jacboy – a surname based on Jacob – has previously ranked in the US Top 1000, a cousin to the more-popular Zachary and Jeremy.


The French form of James, though it’s a little closer to Jack in American English. Jacqueline has been popular among girls names in the past, while Jacques remains under-the-radar in the US.


A Cornish form of Jacob, more familiar in the UK than the US.


Another spelling of Jacoby, this spelling influenced by the late Kobe Bryant.


An Arabic name meaning handsome.


One of Noah’s three sons in the Old Testament.


A Jared-Gareth mash-up invented for David Bowie’s role as the Goblin King in 1986’s Labyrinth. 


With Hebrew roots, Jaron might appeal to parents looking for something slightly different, but with meaning.


Another Jared-Garrett cousin.


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.


In the Old Testament, Javan is Noah’s grandson, and ancestor of the Greeks.


An even more creative take on Jaxton.


The French form of John, often used in combination: think Jean-Claude, Jean-Jacques.


A down-to-earth nickname name.


Just like Jeb, but swap the B for a D.


As in Star Wars. If we name our kiddos Anakin and Kylo, why not the heroic 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.


Yes, Jerome. This traditional and long-used name no longer charts in the US Top 1000.


Jesse meets Josiah.


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. A far more recent reference? NCIS’s Jethro Gibbs, though he’s nearly always called by his last name on the long-running series.


Jett meets the popular -son ending.


Japanese name meaning “second son,” made familiar in the US thanks to 2011 film Jiro Dreams of Sushi.


Probably originally short for Joseph, Jody became a sensation for boys thanks to 1938 bestseller The Yearling, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, as well as the 1946 film adaptation. It became a true unisex favorite, peaking for girls and boys alike around 1970.


An older form of Julian, made familar thanks to the early twentieth century novels The Forsyte Saga, by John Galsworthy.


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.


Another name for Jupiter, king of the gods in Roman mythology.


A rarity from the Old Testament with an appealing backstory: he’s the first person to become a musician.


Originally short for Jordan, Judd now feels more like a Jeb/Jed and Jude cousin.


Traditional Jules respelled, thanks to musician Juelz Santana.


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.


The masculine equivalent of goddess name Juno, made familiar by writer Junot Diaz.


As in the Roman god, and the planet, too.


A Latin name meaning just, Justus looks like word name Justice, but has centuries of use behind it.

What are your favorite baby boy names starting with J?

First published on June 8, 2020, this post was revised and updated on June 21, 2021; July 4, 2022; and October 9, 2023.

boy names starting with J boy names starting with J

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. Julian, Jeremy, Japheth, Jonah… and I can’t believe I had forgotten all about Justin! Some great names here.

  2. I love Jethro, but was super nervous to put it on the birth certificate when my son was born two years ago. I’ve been so pleasantly surprised how well received it’s been. Almost no one brings up Beverly Hillbillies, and we haven’t had any comments about the band. The only pop cultural reference people ask about is NCIS. Across the board though our Jethro nicknamed Jett gets woah, what a cool name comments all the time.

  3. Jack is one of my very favorite names – I love the classic ruggedness. I suppose that’s why we gave our firstborn this moniker. Our Jack’s formal name is John (we wanted a Saint’s name), but I can only think of him as Jack. It amazes me that many people don’t realize Jack is a familiar form of John.

  4. I have a huge soft spot for Johannes. I’m not even sure why! I like it with the nickname Joss (I know that the J sounds then change, but there’s just something about the really old-fashioned name with a more modern nickname that I find appealing. We’re also a bilingual family, with Czech and English spoken, so while I know it would seem strange, I guess we are kind of used to using different Js). If I had another boy, this would be high on the list.

    1. I know a young boy named Jariel- I’m almost positive it’s a variant spelling go Jeriel, a minor character in the Old Testament. The name is so unusual it’s stuck in my mind.

      I think my favorite J name for boys is Julius nicknamed Jules; Julian is a close second. I came across Jadrien a while ago and I love the sound of it. Other J names I like: Joden “Jody”, Jordan, Jovan, Jupiter, Jolyon, Jagger, Jagjit, Jesse, Justinian, Jinx, Javan