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Meaning & Origins

English form of the name borne in the New Testament by two of Christ's disciples, James son of Zebedee and James son of Alphaeus. This form comes from Late Latin Iacomus, a variant of Iacobus, Latin form of Greek Iakobos. This is the same name as Old Testament Jacob (Hebrew Yaakov), but for many centuries now they have been thought of in the English-speaking world as two distinct names. In Britain, James is a royal name that from the beginning of the 15th century onwards was associated particularly with the Scottish house of Stewart: James I of Scotland (1394–1437; ruled 1424–37) was a patron of the arts and a noted poet, as well as an energetic ruler. King James VI of Scotland (1566–1625; reigned 1567–1625) succeeded to the throne of England in 1603. His grandson, James II of England (1633–1701; reigned 1685–8) was a Roman Catholic, deposed in 1688 in favour of his Protestant daughter Mary and her husband William of Orange. From then on he, his son (also called James), and his grandson Charles (‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’) made various unsuccessful attempts to recover the English throne. Their supporters were known as Jacobites (from Latin Iacobus), and the name James became for a while particularly associated with Roman Catholicism on the one hand, and Highland opposition to the English government on the other. Nevertheless, it has since become one of the most perennially popular boys' names.
2nd in the U.S.
English, French, German, Dutch, Danish, and South Indian: from the medieval personal name, of Biblical origin, from Aramaic t’ōm’a, a byname meaning ‘twin’. It was borne by one of the disciples of Christ, best known for his scepticism about Christ's resurrection (John 20:24–29). The th- spelling is organic, the initial letter of the name in the Greek New Testament being a theta. The English pronunciation as t rather than th- is the result of French influence from an early date. In Britain the surname is widely distributed throughout the country, but especially common in Wales and Cornwall. The Ukrainian form is Choma. It is found as a personal name among Christians in India, and in the U.S. is used as a family name among families from southern India.
13th in the U.S.

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