James

First Name
5.2m
in the U.S.
since 1880
Last Name
249k
in the U.S.
in 2010
Girls
Boys
On This Page

How to Pronounce James

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Meaning and Origin

What does the name James mean? Find out below.

Origin and Meaning of James

"James" is a name of Hebrew origin, and it means "Supplanter". It's a name commonly given to boys.

Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
noun James
Senses
  1. William James, an American psychologist and philosopher (1842-1910). He was the brother of Henry James.
    synonyms: William James.
  2. Henry James, an American novelist and critic, born 1843, died 1916. He was the brother of William James.
    synonyms: Henry James.
  3. Saint James the Apostle, a disciple of Jesus; brother of John; author of The Epistle of James in the New Testament.
    synonyms: Saint James, St. James, Saint James the Apostle.
  4. The James River, a tributary of the Missouri River.
    synonyms: James River.
Other Dictionary Sources
  1. A New Testament book attributed to Saint James the Apostle
  2. A river that rises in North Dakota and flows southward across South Dakota to the Missouri
  3. A river in Virginia that flows east into Chesapeake Bay at Hampton Roads
  4. (New Testament) disciple of Jesus; brother of John; author of the Epistle of James in the New Testament
  5. Writer who was born in the United States but lived in England (1843-1916)
  6. United States pragmatic philosopher and psychologist (1842-1910)
  7. United States outlaw who fought as a Confederate soldier and later led a band of outlaws that robbed trains and banks in the West until he was murdered by a member of his own gang (1847-1882)
  8. The first Stuart to be king of England and Ireland from 1603 to 1625 and king of Scotland from 1567 to 1625; he was the son of Mary Queen of Scots and he succeeded Elizabeth I; he alienated the British Parliament by claiming the divine right of kings (1566-1625)
  9. The last Stuart to be king of England and Ireland and Scotland; overthrown in 1688 (1633-1701)
  10. A Stuart king of Scotland who married a daughter of Henry VII; when England and France went to war in 1513 he invaded England and died in defeat at Flodden (1473-1513)
Wiktionary

The English New Testament form of Jacob, from Old French James, from Vulgar Latin Iacomus, spoken and altered pronunciation of Latin Iacobus, from Ancient Greek Ἰάκωβος (Iákōbos), from Ἰακώβ (Iakṓb), from Biblical Hebrew יַעֲקֹב (Yaʿăqōḇ).

  1. (biblical) The twentieth book of the New Testament of the Bible, the general epistle of James.
  2. One of two Apostles, James the Greater and James the Less, often identified with James, brother of Jesus.
  3. A male given name popular since the Middle Ages. Also a common middle name.
  4. An English patronymic surname​.

Notable Persons Named James

James Mattis is a military person. His military service ended in 2013.

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James Franco is an actor and filmmaker. His ongoing career started in 1997. James was given the name James Edward Franco on April 19th, 1978 in Palo Alto, California, U.S.

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Sir Paul McCartney is a musician. His ongoing career started in 1957. Paul was given the name James Paul McCartney on June 18th, 1942 in Liverpool, England.

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James McAvoy is an actor. His ongoing career started in 1995. James was born on April 21st, 1979 in Glasgow, Scotland, UK.

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James Comey is a 7th Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Deputy Attorney General, and United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. James was born on December 14th, 1960 in Yonkers, New York.

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Jim Carrey is an actor, stand-up comedy, screenwriter, film producer, stand-up comedian, and producer. Jim was given the name James Eugene Carrey on January 17th, 1962 in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada.

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Notable Persons With the Last Name James

LeBron James is a basketball player for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat in the National Basketball Association. He was most prominent from 2003 to present. LeBron was born on December 30th, 1984 in Akron, Ohio.

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Lily James is an actress. She was most prominent from 2010 to present. Lily was given the name Lily Chloe Ninette Thomson on April 5th, 1989 in Esher.

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Theo James is an actor and musician. He was most active from 2010 to present. Theo was given the name Theodore Peter James Kinnaird Taptiklis on December 16th, 1984 in Oxford. Theo is also known as Taptiklis and Theodore Peter James Kinnaird.

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Jesse James was a crime and criminal. He was most active from 1866 to 1882. Jesse was given the name Jesse Woodson James by his parents Robert S. James and Zerelda James on September 5th, 1847 in Kearney, Missouri, U.S. Jesse is also known as James and Jesse Woodson. He passed away on April 3rd, 1882.

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Kevin was given the name Kevin George Knipfing on April 26th, 1965 in Mineola, New York, U.S.

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Mickie James is a country music musician. Mickie was born on August 31st, 1979 in Richmond, Virginia.

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How popular is the baby name James in the U.S.?

Click Here to Show Chart Data
Year Total Babies Born Girls Born Boys Born Ranking
1880 5,949 22 5,927 #3 boy name
1881 5,465 24 5,441 #3 boy name
1882 5,910 18 5,892 #3 boy name
1883 5,248 25 5,223 #3 boy name
1884 5,726 33 5,693 #3 boy name
1885 5,201 26 5,175 #3 boy name
1886 5,384 29 5,355 #3 boy name
1887 4,787 19 4,768 #3 boy name
1888 5,607 45 5,562 #3 boy name
1889 5,046 26 5,020 #3 boy name
1890 5,130 33 5,097 #3 boy name
1891 4,547 31 4,516 #3 boy name
1892 5,420 22 5,398 #3 boy name
1893 5,053 23 5,030 #3 boy name
1894 5,135 25 5,110 #3 boy name
1895 5,369 34 5,335 #3 boy name
1896 5,235 28 5,207 #3 boy name
1897 5,143 30 5,113 #3 boy name
1898 5,350 29 5,321 #3 boy name
1899 4,624 27 4,597 #3 boy name
1900 7,286 41 7,245 #3 boy name
1901 4,765 30 4,735 #3 boy name
1902 5,622 30 5,592 #3 boy name
1903 5,508 28 5,480 #3 boy name
1904 5,882 27 5,855 #3 boy name
1905 6,077 35 6,042 #3 boy name
1906 5,945 37 5,908 #3 boy name
1907 6,752 45 6,707 #3 boy name
1908 7,044 32 7,012 #3 boy name
1909 7,646 52 7,594 #3 boy name
1910 9,258 63 9,195 #2 boy name
1911 10,020 69 9,951 #3 boy name
1912 17,725 81 17,644 #3 boy name
1913 20,926 95 20,831 #3 boy name
1914 26,370 107 26,263 #3 boy name
1915 33,931 155 33,776 #3 boy name
1916 35,735 166 35,569 #3 boy name
1917 37,521 182 37,339 #3 boy name
1918 42,331 212 42,119 #3 boy name
1919 42,584 192 42,392 #3 boy name
1920 48,158 249 47,909 #4 boy name
1921 49,980 231 49,749 #4 boy name
1922 50,042 239 49,803 #4 boy name
1923 50,745 280 50,465 #4 boy name
1924 53,218 274 52,944 #4 boy name
1925 53,046 365 52,681 #4 boy name
1926 53,564 359 53,205 #3 boy name
1927 54,064 389 53,675 #3 boy name
1928 53,180 427 52,753 #3 boy name
1929 52,519 397 52,122 #2 boy name
1930 54,363 419 53,944 #2 boy name
1931 51,558 345 51,213 #2 boy name
1932 52,240 320 51,920 #2 boy name
1933 51,405 299 51,106 #2 boy name
1934 54,505 262 54,243 #2 boy name
1935 55,238 238 55,000 #2 boy name
1936 54,913 229 54,684 #2 boy name
1937 56,800 251 56,549 #2 boy name
1938 59,371 275 59,096 #2 boy name
1939 59,896 268 59,628 #2 boy name
1940 62,730 259 62,471 #1 boy name
1941 66,986 255 66,731 #1 boy name
1942 77,455 282 77,173 #1 boy name
1943 80,529 271 80,258 #1 boy name
1944 77,184 237 76,947 #1 boy name
1945 74,696 246 74,450 #1 boy name
1946 87,681 250 87,431 #1 boy name
1947 95,013 257 94,756 #1 boy name
1948 88,839 251 88,588 #1 boy name
1949 87,112 257 86,855 #1 boy name
1950 86,491 252 86,239 #1 boy name
1951 87,528 256 87,272 #1 boy name
1952 87,366 259 87,107 #1 boy name
1953 86,245 236 86,009 #2 boy name
1954 86,514 226 86,288 #3 boy name
1955 84,404 247 84,157 #3 boy name
1956 85,086 249 84,837 #2 boy name
1957 84,550 280 84,270 #2 boy name
1958 78,961 252 78,709 #3 boy name
1959 78,897 296 78,601 #3 boy name
1960 77,131 289 76,842 #3 boy name
1961 76,204 287 75,917 #4 boy name
1962 72,819 262 72,557 #4 boy name
1963 71,638 311 71,327 #4 boy name
1964 73,361 317 73,044 #4 boy name
1965 68,006 303 67,703 #4 boy name
1966 65,478 298 65,180 #3 boy name
1967 62,010 311 61,699 #3 boy name
1968 61,016 312 60,704 #4 boy name
1969 60,242 330 59,912 #3 boy name
1970 62,119 353 61,766 #2 boy name
1971 54,924 302 54,622 #2 boy name
1972 47,382 299 47,083 #3 boy name
1973 43,205 317 42,888 #4 boy name
1974 41,604 251 41,353 #5 boy name
1975 39,846 254 39,592 #4 boy name
1976 38,558 252 38,306 #5 boy name
1977 40,327 273 40,054 #5 boy name
1978 40,183 269 39,914 #5 boy name
1979 39,631 261 39,370 #5 boy name
1980 39,596 271 39,325 #5 boy name
1981 38,579 272 38,307 #7 boy name
1982 39,189 317 38,872 #6 boy name
1983 36,635 282 36,353 #6 boy name
1984 36,084 238 35,846 #7 boy name
1985 36,141 287 35,854 #7 boy name
1986 34,307 273 34,034 #7 boy name
1987 32,882 246 32,636 #8 boy name
1988 32,747 244 32,503 #9 boy name
1989 32,874 176 32,698 #9 boy name
1990 32,462 115 32,347 #8 boy name
1991 30,599 95 30,504 #7 boy name
1992 28,573 70 28,503 #9 boy name
1993 26,324 75 26,249 #14 boy name
1994 24,835 67 24,768 #14 boy name
1995 22,788 57 22,731 #17 boy name
1996 21,217 62 21,155 #17 boy name
1997 20,444 42 20,402 #17 boy name
1998 19,731 45 19,686 #18 boy name
1999 18,591 40 18,551 #19 boy name
2000 18,021 40 17,981 #18 boy name
2001 17,112 42 17,070 #19 boy name
2002 16,988 31 16,957 #18 boy name
2003 16,925 34 16,891 #18 boy name
2004 16,555 95 16,460 #17 boy name
2005 16,159 26 16,133 #17 boy name
2006 16,281 46 16,235 #16 boy name
2007 15,990 33 15,957 #15 boy name
2008 15,203 32 15,171 #17 boy name
2009 14,257 51 14,206 #18 boy name
2010 13,906 29 13,877 #19 boy name
2011 13,277 30 13,247 #17 boy name
2012 13,446 28 13,418 #14 boy name
2013 13,580 28 13,552 #13 boy name
2014 14,462 42 14,420 #9 boy name
2015 14,838 39 14,799 #7 boy name
2016 14,908 66 14,842 #5 boy name
2017 14,309 77 14,232 #4 boy name

Where is the name James popular?

View popular names by state or region.

Popularity of James as a first name

The map shows the relative popularity of the name James as a first name in each of the states. See other popular names in Mississippi, West Virginia, or Alabama.

Popularity of James as a last name

The map shows the relative popularity of the name James as a last name in each of the states. See other popular names in South Carolina, Alaska, or Mississippi.

Common last names for James

  • Smith
  • Williams
  • Johnson
  • Brown
  • Jones
  • Davis
  • Wilson
  • Miller
  • Moore
  • Taylor
  • White
  • Thompson
  • Martin
  • Thomas
  • Jackson
  • Harris
  • Anderson
  • Clark
  • Walker
  • Robinson

Ethnicity Distribution

Ethnicity James U.S.
  White 51.58% 64.26%
  African American 38.86% 11.96%
  Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander 1.27% 4.85%
  American Indian and Alaska Native 2.58% 0.69%
  Two or More Ethnicities 2.64% 1.76%
  Hispanic or Latino 3.08% 16.26%

Of Last Name James

People with the last name James are most frequently White or African American

Entire United States

Fun Facts about the name James

  • What name lists does James rank for?
  • How Popular is the name James? James is the 1st most popular name of all time. In 2017 James was the 4th most popular name. As a last name James was the 85th most popular name in 2010.
  • How many people with the first name James have been born in the United States? From 1880 to 2017, the Social Security Administration has recorded 5,173,828 babies born with the first name James in the United States. That's more than enough people named James to occupy the country of Turkmenistan with an estimated population of 5,170,000 (as of July 1, 2012).
  • What year were 5 or more babies first named James? The name was first given to 5 or more babies in the year 1880 when it was given as a first name to 5,949 new born babies.
  • When was James first recorded in the United States? The oldest recorded birth by the Social Security Administration for the first name James is Friday, March 1st, 1805.
  • What year had the most people named James born? The highest recorded use of the first name James was in 1947 with a total of 94,756 babies. That's a lot of babies named James!
  • Random James Factoid: According to the 2006 U.S. Social Security Administration data, the first name James ranks 3rd in popularity as a baby boy's name in Alabama. Imagine that, 422 babies in Alabama have the same name as you in 2006.
  • Weird things about the name James: Your name in reverse order is Semaj. A random rearrangement of the letters in your name (anagram) will give Jasme. How do you pronounce that?
  • How many people have the last name James? In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau surveyed 249,379 people with the last name James.
  • How likely are you to meet someone with the last name of James? James was ranked as the 85th most popular last name but is still less than 0.1% of the population!

What Jamess Have Visited This Page?

Name poster for James

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  • Sources:
  • U.S. Census Bureau: Frequently Occurring Surnames from the Census 2000 (public domain).
  • U.S. Social Security Administration: Popular Baby Names, Death Master File (public domain).
  • 1913 Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary via the Collaborative International Dictionary of English (License)
  • Other Dictionary Sources: WordNet 3.1 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University (License).
  • Wiktionary: Titles and License.
  • Notable persons via Wikipedia: Titles and License. Click each image for the attribution information.