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What Does The Name James Mean?

By Emma Davies


Updated on

James is a biblical name of Hebrew origin that means ‘supplanter’ or ‘substitute’. Derived from the name Jacob in the Old Testament, James is the English form and has come to signify qualities of leadership and strength.  

James meaning

The meaning of the name does not only have roots dating to the time of Jesus, but it took a Royal turn when King James VI sat on the throne in England back in the 17th Century.

The name is most commonly used for boys, but there are no rules to say it cannot be used for a girl. For instance, Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively named their daughter James which has maybe opened the popularity for the name becoming more gender-neutral.

  • Name Origin: Scottish
  • Meaning: Means supplanter or substitute
  • Pronunciation: Jay-mz
  • Gender: A name for males but popularity amongst females is increasing.

How Popular is the Name James?

According to Social Security Rankings, James is timeless name that has proved to outshine many other boys’ names for years taking the top spot for 12 years. Statistics show that James as a first name for a child has never dipped past the top 20 with predictions setting it to have an increased rating now that celebrities are shining a new female light on it.

Name Variations

Name Meaning Origin
Giacomo Supplanter Italian
Iago Lake Welsh
Jacques Supplanter French
Jakob He who supplants German/ Polish
Jacob Supplanter Hebrew/ English
Jamie May God protect Spanish
Séamas One who grabs at the heel Irish

Other Names Meaning Supplanter

Male Names Meaning Supplanter Female Names Meaning Supplanter
Diego Jackie
Hamish Jacqueline
Jake Jamie
Jimmy Diega
Thiago Coby
Yakov Jacky
Jim Jacobina

Alternative Names Starting with ‘J’

Name Meaning Origin
Jackson Son of jack; God is gracious English
Jabari Fearless Arabic
Jaden Combination of Jay and Aiden American
Jae Ability Korean
Jadran From adria Slavic
Jaeson Healer Greek
Jade Green gemstone English

Famous People Named James

  • James Earl Jones, an American actor
  • James Dean, American Hollywood icon
  • James Brown, an American singer who founded the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
  • James May, American TV show host, known for the popular car fanatic program Top Gear