Jacob - The Meaning, Origin And Other Facts About The Name

14/08/2014 17:00 | Updated 20 May 2015

Ebenezer Scrooge visited by the ghost of Jacob Marley.

The name Jacob comes from the Hebrew Yaakov and means 'supplanter'. This reflects the actions of the biblical Jacob, who tricked his father Isaac into bestowing a blessing intended for the oldest son to him instead of his older brother, Esau.

Linguistically, the Hebrew Yaakov also gave us the name James, through the Latin version Iacomus. Historically Christians preferred the latter name, while Jacob was associated with the Jewish people, but after the Protestant Reformation it gained in mainstream popularity.

From 1999 to 2012, it was the most popular name for boys born in the US, and it is now one of the most popular boys' names in the UK too.

Famous people called Jacob:

Jacob Zuma, president of South Africa (born Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma)

Jacob Grimm, half of fairytale authors the Brothers Grimm (born Jacob Ludwig Carl Grimm)

Jacob Epstein, British sculptor

Jacob Marley, ghost in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol

Can be shortened to: Jake, Jago, Coby

Surnames to avoid with Jacob:

Surnames beginning with a 'B' sound, ie. Baker or Brown, might cause problems as when said aloud this combination of sounds may result in elision – when two words are slurred together to end up sounding like one.

Similar names:

Foreign variants include Giacomo (Italian), Séamus (Irish), Yakov (Russian) and Jacques (French).

Similar English names include James, Jack, John, Jason, Jackson.

Female variations:

English variations include: Jacqueline, Jacklyn

Celebrities who named their baby Jacob:

Sinead O'Connor

Dustin Hoffman

Danny Devito

Willie Nelson

Jon Bon Jovi

Roseanne Barr


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