Originally a short form of Margarita, the Spanish form of Margaret, but now commonly used as an independent given name. Its popularity in the 1940s and 50s was influenced no doubt by the fame of the American film star Rita Hayworth (1918–87).
English and Welsh: patronymic from the Middle English personal name Jon(e) (see John). The surname is especially common in Wales and southern central England. In North America this name has absorbed various cognate and like-sounding surnames from other languages. (For forms, see Hanks and Hodges 1988).