Freshen Up: John

John is an evergreen classic. It was the top name for boys for an estimated 400 years and remains popular today. But at #26, John is the least common it’s been in recorded history. Modern parents are more inclined towards novel and unusual names than previous generations, which may explain John’s (relative) dip in popularity. So for parents who want to incorporate John as  a family name without actually using John, there are a few options:

Jack/Jackson- These names sound a lot fresher than John; Jack was a favorite in the early-mid 1900s, but dipped in the latter part of that century, and Jackson wasn’t common as a first name until the 90s. So unlike the ever popular John, Jack and Jackson seem fresh. But beware- both names (plus alternate spelling Jaxon) rank in the top 50.

Johanna- This Scandinavian form of John has bounced up and down in popularity, always remaining between #100-700. That’s good news for parents who appreciate an uncommon classic.

Seanan-Sean was a hugely popular form of John for decades, but it’s beginning to fall out of favor. This diminutive is fresher and more unusual.

Giovanna-Like many Italian names, the dominant Italian form of John (Giovanni) is extravagant. Its feminization (more or less equivalent to Jane in English) is frilly and lovely, great for parents attracted to names like Sofia and Isabella.

Asia- Pronounced AH-sha, this name is a Polish diminutive of Joanna. It’s popular as a given name in Italy.

Yoan- This Bulgarian form could catch on with parents who like Owen, but not its popularity.

Ivan- Ivan definitely fits the criteria of being familiar, easy to spell and say, and uncommon. Feminizations include Ivana, Ivanka, and Iva.

Ganix- The Basque language has the unusual distinction of being unrelated to any other, and its names reflect this uniqueness. Ganix is the Basque variant of John, pronounced either Gah-neesh or Gah-neex.

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