Maybe three of each.
But they weren’t the first wildly popular J names, not by a long shot. Joan had a good run. Julia, too. J names for girls been favorites for ages.
At the moment, though, it’s only the ninth most popular initial for girls, down one from the year before. (For boys, it comes in at #1.) Still, plenty of J girl names are rising, and it’s hard to imagine a Top 100 without at least a J name or two for our daughters.
GIRL NAMES STARTING WITH J in the US TOP 1000
Elegant and spirited, Josephine fits with favorites like Katherine and Charlotte. And it’s following both of those favorites straight up the popularity charts.
A colorful gemstone name, we started naming our daughters Jade after a celebrity baby – Mick Jagger’s daughter, born way back in 1971. It fits with so many current trends, from word names to colorful choices.
A name with ancient roots, Julia has ranked in the US Top 100 since 1980. It’s actually falling now, but remains a traditional favorite.
A Josephine nickname, Josie stands on its own – just like Sadie and Hattie. But because even more girls are named Josephine, it’s possible that Josie is even more popular among baby girl names than this ranking suggests.
A bouncing and spirited nature name, Juniper debuted in the US Top 1000 in 2011, and hasn’t slowed down since. It sounds like a logical successor to Jennifer, with a healthy dose of traditional June.
One of the few Disney princess names to reach the US Top 100, we often credit Agrabah for the name’s success. But the 1992 animated feature gave their princess a name that was already rising dramatically. This floral favorite remains in heavy use.
A month name with a long history of use as a first, classic June has more in common with Rose or Grace than Jazz or January.
Shakespeare’s Juliet started to trend early in the 2000s. But it has since been surpassed the earlier spelling, with the extra -te added.
Another alternative spelling, Journee is based on Journey, a word name that suggests adventure and daring, too.
Jordan – as in Michael – became a 1990s favorite for boys and girls alike. Not only did the NBA legend inspire parents, but the Jordan River in the Holy Land has been borrowed as a given name since the Crusades. The Jordan spelling remains in the Top 100 for boys, but we seem to have settled on Jordyn as the feminine form.
An elaboration of Julia in the key of so many long names for girls.
Austen makes Jane impeccably literary.
A spiritual word name – or maybe a tribute to a wildly successful 1980s band.
A Latinate form of Joan, the name spiked in 1984, thanks to Kool & the Gang’s chart-topping 1983 hit, “Joanna.”
Some will argue that Jocelyn has masculine roots, and that’s true – but so far back in history that few are aware. Instead, Jocelyn peaked in the twenty-first century, a tailored name in the key of Allison and Madison, Evelyn and Madelyn.
While Juliette ranks higher, the sparer spelling remains popular, too.
An elaboration of Julia, sure to appeal to parents looking for long, elaborate names for a daughter.
Kayla meets girl names starting with J.
A mini name with an ebullient meaning, Joy has long been used as a given name for girls in the US. Disney-Pixar’s 2015 Inside Out gave the name a tiny boost.
We tend to prefer Jordyn for girls, but this spelling still ranks.
A little bit of Jasmine, a lot of jazz music, and that favorite feminine ending -lyn.
A Jo- name made immortal by Dolly Parton’s hit song.
A smash hit from the 1960s, thanks to style icon and former First Lady Jackie Kennedy. At peak popularity, spellings like Jackline and Jacquelyn, plus Jacqui, were also often seen.
Also spelled Ximena, as in the wife of medieval knight El Cid.
A former top name, Shakesperean Jessica remains familiar, but is seldom heard for a girl.
Another name that dominated a generation, we still love Jennifer Aniston and Jennifer Lawrence. But the name has become quite rare for our daughters.
A creative invention, based on favorite sounds.
One more spelling for Journey and Journee.
Aaliyah with a J.
A Top 100 favorite from the peak Jennifer era, now eclipsed by names like Gemma.
Speaking of Gemma, the G spelling is more popular, but J is used, too.
The Spanish form of Juliet.
A 1960s and 70s favorite, now eclipsed by Juliette.
A Jan and Jane spin-off.
Jade with an extra syllable.
Before Jayda was in use, actress Jayda Pinkett Smith put her name on parents’ radar.
Sometimes seen as a feminine form of James, Jamie rocketed up the charts in the 1970s. The Bionic Woman introduced the world to Jaime Sommers, at the same time the name Amy ranked in the US Top Ten.
An alternate spelling of Joanna.
Jasmine with a little more jazz.
A feminine form of Joel, or just another Jo-meets-feminine-ending creation.
The French word for pretty, popularized by actress Angelina Jolie.
A unisex virtue name, rich with significance.
Genesis, spelled with a J.
All the girl names starting with J and so many -iah ending favorites met to form this novel name.
A rising possibility, Jovie means merry – as in Zooey Deschanel’s character in 2001 modern holiday classic Elf.
Popular Gianna, spelled with a J.
Another Jasmine option.
Jayla plus an H.
Hawaiian -lani names are trending, and they meet up with the letter J for this invention.
A Jessica nickname, familiar to generations of children thanks to the cowgirl in the Toy Story movies.
A Casey-inspired J name.
Legendary Mexican singer and actor Julissa was born Julia Isabel. This elaboration feels like something just a little different in our age of Juliette.
A name with centuries of history behind it, English-speaking parents tend to use it because it brings to mind joy.
Traditional Judith was a Top Ten favorite in the US circa 1940. Today it feels traditional and overlooked, an obvious alternative to Eleanor.
Another Jay-meets-popular-ending. Spellings and similar choices like Jaylynn, Jaylin, Jaelynn – to name just a few – are seen, too.
OVERLOOKED and UNEXPECTED J NAMES FOR GIRLS
A tropical flower, Jacaranda is seldom heard as a given name, but picks up on Lily, Rose, and Jasmine.
JACINDA and JACINTA
A Spanish form of the flower name Hyacinth, Jacinta and Jacinda seem more accessible in English.
Feminie forms of long-time masculine favorite Jacob. Actor Cobie Smulders was born Jacoba.
Actor January Jones put her unusual given name on parents’ radar. Jones was named for a character in a novel.
A musical possibility for girls that owes a little something to the success of Jasmine.
It looks like a mash-up of Jennifer and Jessica, but Jenica has Romanian roots, too.
An Old Testament rarity that fits right in today.
JESSAMINE and JESSAMY
An older form of Jasmine, elaborate and lovely.
A glittering word name made famous by Grammy-nominated singer Jewel and her family, known for their rugged lives in the Alaskan wilderness.
A long-time favorite, now surprisingly overlooked.
Traditionally, a jinx brings bad luck. But it sounds sparkly and happy, and sometimes surfaces as a nickname. Halle Berry played NSA agent Giancinta “Jinx” Johnson in James Bond film Die Another Day. In the 1950s, model-actor-talk show host Eugenia “Jinx” Falkenberg made it famous.
Nicknames for Josephine and other Jo-names.
A joyful name, Jubilee also has comic book ties, thanks to the X-Men.
The sparky, high-energy nickname for elegant Judith, once popular in itis own right.
A Julie name that remains familiar, without ranking in the current US Top 1000.
A bright and energetic goddess name, Juno feels like an update to gentle June.
Justin ranks in the boys’ Top 200 and has for years, while feminine form Justine remains overlooked.
UNUSUAL GIRL NAMES RELATED TO JOHN
In German, Dutch, Slovak, and other languages, John becomes Jan. Add an ‘a’ and you’ll arrive at Jana.
Jane meets Vanessa.
A nickname for Jane dating way back to the Middle Ages, Janet became a go-to choice for American parents from the 1920s through the 60s.
Likely created for a novel, Janice has faded since the middle of the twentieth century, but odds are this name will (eventually) stage a comeback.
From heroic and saintly Joan of Arc to controversial Hollywood icon Joan Crawford, this name has history to spare. A Top Ten favorite in the 1930s, it’s been rarely heard as a child’s name since the early 1990s.
Adding an ‘a’ is a time-honored way of making a masculine name feminine. So why not Johna? Or is it Jonna?
In Serbian, Jovan is John; that makes Jovana the logical feminine form. Jovanna might owe a little something to Italian Giovanna, too.
Jeanne is the French form of Jane and Joan. (Jean is their equivalent of John.) It’s about as traditional as it gets; Joan of Arc is Jeanne d’Arc in French. American parents embraced it for much of the twentieth century, but today it’s lingering in obscurity.
An elaboration of Jeanne.
JUANA and JUANITA
The Spanish equivalent of Jane and Janet, Juana and Juanita are, just like many of the feminine forms of John listed here, not terribly common in the US today. But they’re instantly recognizable picks.
No list of girl names starting with J is complete without a mention of James.
While it’s controversial, more parents have considered James for their daughters in recent years. It’s become something of a go-to middle. Sometimes, as with Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, it’s a family name.
As of 2021, over 12,000 boys were named James – along with just 67 girls. So while it sparks heated discussions, it also remains very, very rare.
What are your favorite girl names starting with J?
First published on October 12, 2020, this post was revised substantially and re-published on March 13, 2023.