Baby Names: Meaning and Origin of the Name Jack

Form of John, from Middle English Jankin, Jackin. Jack was considered an independent name in England as early as the 14th century. The name abounds in folktales and children's nursery rhymes, including "Jack and the Beanstalk," "Jack Sprat," "Jack and Jill," and "Little Jack Horner," which shows that Jack had already become the name for the typical "everyman" in England centuries ago. It is once again the typical name in England, where Jack has been the number-one name for boys since 1995.

Jack quintupled in use in the United States between 1990 and 2004, when it reached 52nd on the popularity chart. In 2005, it climbed even higher on the popularity chart, to 34th. The name's success in the United States is masked by the reluctance of many American parents to use one-syllable names for boys; if Jack and Jackson were counted together, they would have been the 11th most popular name for American boys born in 2004.

Famous names: Jack London (novelist), Jack Nicholson (actor), Jack Nicklaus (golfer)

Nickname: Jackie

Variations of Jack: Jock (Scottish)

See more popular Irish names.