Wednesday, November 14, 2012

J Names For Boys

Johnny Depp and Captain Jack Sparrow - two great J names
I recently read a great post at Nancy's Baby Names about the most popular first letters for boys and girls in 2011. It's an interesting read, especially as it seems the top 8 letters for boys and girls haven't changed since 2010, but the order has.

Turns out that for he last three years running, names starting with "J" have topped the list for boys names. And not by a small margin either. It got me to thinking, what "J" names would top my list? What "J" names are topping everyone else's lists? So here is a quick profile of five of the most popular and interesting (in my opinion) J names for boys.

JACK - Australia's top "J" boys name of 2011
As an Australian, I can vouch for the appeal of this name. It's conjures images of an honest, straightforward, easy going guy who would be everyone's mate. It just feels like an Australian name. We have the union jack on our flag, a jackeroo is widely considered our equivalent of a cowboy, and when Burger King came to Australia they changed their name to Hungry Jack's. 'Whispering Jack' was our nickname for one of our favourite Australian entertainers, John Farnham, and the name of his best selling album in the 80's.

In 2011 it was our 6th most popular boys name. England, Wales, Scotland and New Zealand also feel the strong appeal of Jack, as it tops the charts in their countries. In America Jackson is much more popular than Jack, although both are top 100 names. Jack started as a nickname for the name John (meaning God is gracious) but has made the transition to a given name in it's own right.

JEX - favourite new cool name?
OK, I have to admit that since I first saw Dax Shepherd's name in the credits of 'Without A Paddle', I have had a big crush on his name, which has extended to pretty much all three letter ends in "X" boy's names. Jax is cool, but it makes me think of video games. Jex is better, because it has a slightly "British upper crust" feel too it for me. Maybe due to a character called Jed that I liked on British TV show 'Bedlam' last year. And it's slightly edgier than Jett, if you believe that's possible.

JUPITER - favourite GP "J" name
I'm guessing this one appears on many guilty pleasure lists, because it would take a brave person to use it. Only 7 boys were given the name Jupiter in America in 2011.

Jupiter is not just a planet, it's also the name of the Roman King of the Gods and god of sky and thunder (the Roman equivalent of Zeus). Due to it's God connection, most people tend to consider Jupiter to be a boys name, and as such in America it has never been given to more than 5 girls in any one year.   With other god names such as Atlas on the rise, and night sky names such as Orion on the rise, Jupiter stands a chance of transitioning from just a little too quirky to uber-cool in the not too distant future.

JACOB - most popular boys name of 2011 in America
Yes, not just America's favourite "J" boy name, but America's top boy name. Full Stop. For the last 13 years. And in the 6 years before that it was a top 10 name. In fact, the lowest Jacob has ever charted was #368 in 1962.

I can see the appeal. It's a sturdy, manly biblical name, with the nickname Jake conveying the dual images of all-American boy-next-door or the bad boy. A Jacob (or Jake) could be a true chameleon. Seems it's meaning of 'supplanter' hasn't hurt this Hebrew name's image at all, and sexy young werewolf Jacob will probably ensure the name remains popular for many years to come as 'Twilight' fans start having little boys of their own.

Not one for people who don't like popular names, but otherwise a solid choice.

JAYNE - most intriguing crossover name
Usually we see "boys" names stolen for the girls. This is one that went the other way, but rarely. Jayne as a boys name came to my attention through the cult TV show 'Firefly'. If you're not familiar with it (which would quite frankly shock me) 'Firefly' is an almost legendary Joss Whedon TV series which spawned the hit movie 'Serenity'. I say legendary because it was not a big rater when it aired on TV and only lasted one season, but has developed a huge cult following since it went off air. The TV show aired in 2002/2003, but the following movie wasn't made until 2005 due to demand from the fans. The show centres on a dilapidated spaceship and it's eclectic crew and passengers. One of the main characters was Jayne, played by Adam Baldwin. I always assumed that Jayne was his last name, but watching the 'Firefly' ten year reunion special tonight I realised that it was his given name, with his full name being Jayne Cobb.

Jayne Cobb was an awesome character. He was a mercenary, tough, gruff and loved his weapons. But there were moments of comedy and tenderness in him that were ultimately endearing. I had at first thought that maybe this character would have triggered a small spate of little boy Jayne's. Not so though. It was most popular for boys in the years 1984-1986, when it was given to a total of just 17 boys.

Rarer than rare with a cool, tough namesake, Jayne could be worth considering.

JUSTUS - just 'cos
Just because I love the look and the sound of it. It sounds just like Justice, a cool name we can't use here is Australia because it could be confused with an official government position. It also looks very similar to the established, tried but true Justin. Which is nice, but a little boring to me.

Justus is a Latin name meaning 'fairminded, upright, honest'. There were three men named Justus in the bible, so this could be a up and coming alternative to Jacob, if you're looking for one.

With "J" names being the most popular for boys, I'm sure most people have at least one on their potential names list. What would be your pick?

1 comment:

  1. Woo, Justus - there's something about this name I love. By the way, Justice IS allowed in Australia, because it is also a vocabulary and virtue name, not just a title. If you check the 2010 full data list from Tas on my blog, there is a baby named Justice, which ended up featured on WMTM.

    I think Jex seems really cool and usable, and I would be intrigued to see a boy named Jayne.