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Is there a more solid, traditional name than John? Perhaps not. Mary and Jane may rival him on the feminine-name side, but John and James stand alone as two of the most classic of typically masculine names. According to the Social Security Administration, John stands at #2 on the list of most common names for boys in the U.S. over the past 100 years. Number one is — you guessed it — James.

The name John comes from the Hebrew language and means "God is gracious" or "the lord has been merciful" or other variations of the phrase. It's long been a popular choice for new parents of boys, but it's actually been declining in popularity steadily since 1880. And no surprise there, as it's the name of plenty of U.S. presidents of yore: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, John Tyler, John F. Kennedy. Other famous Johns include philosopher John Locke, Robin Hood foe King John, as well as the many more modern Johns: John Cena, John Stamos, John Lennon, John Legend, John Krasinksi, John Travolta, John Gabbana. John was the name chosen by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's eldest child, nee Shiloh, when they began exploring a more nontraditional gender identity.

In addition to presidents and Hollywood elite, the name John was a favorite of Shakespeare. John Falstaff is an unforgettable character in "The Merry Wives of Windsor," as is "Much Ado About Nothing"'s Don John. "Richard II" stars John of Gaunt, and in "Romeo and Juliet," the friar's name is John.

If you're looking for a straightforward, one-syllable name but not quite John or James, try: Mike, Luke, Pete, Dan, Bob, Todd, Chad, Brad, Steve, Jeff, Jim. For jazzier "J" names, Jeremiah, Johnston, and Jasper might suit. Want a name ending in the -on sound that's more complicated than John or Jon? Braedon, Jadon, or even Ziphron will do the trick.

John in quotes:

“Names are a great mystery. I've never known whether the name is molded by the child or the child changed to fit the name. But you can be sure of this- whenever a human has a nickname it is a proof that the name given him was wrong.”

― John Steinbeck, East of Eden

"Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life!... How may I live without my name?"

— John Proctor, 'The Crucible'

Meanings

Biblical Names Meaning:

In Biblical Names the meaning of the name John is: The grace or mercy of the Lord.

Hebrew Baby Names Meaning:

In Hebrew Baby Names the meaning of the name John is: Jehovah has been gracious; has shown favor. In the bible John the Baptist baptized Christ in the Jordan river. Variants have been created in almost every language.

Shakespearean Baby Names Meaning:

In Shakespearean Baby Names the meaning of the name John is: Henry IV' Prince. 'Henry VI' John Talbot. 'King Henry VI, III' John Mortimer, Montgomery, & Somerville. 'King John'. 'Merry Wives of Windsor' John Falstaff. 'Much Ado About Nothing' Don John. 'Richard II' John of Gaunt. 'Romeo And Juliet' Friar.

American Baby Names Meaning:

In American Baby Names the meaning of the name John is: The grace or mercy of the Lord.

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