Name borne in the New Testament by the father of the apostles James and John, who was with his sons mending fishing nets when they were called by Christ (Matthew 4:21; Mark 1:20). This is from a Greek form of the Hebrew name that appears in the Old Testament as Zebadiah or Zabdi ‘gift of Jehovah’.
English and Scottish: patronymic from the personal name John. As an American family name, Johnson has absorbed patronymics and many other derivatives of this name in continental European languages. (For forms, see Hanks and Hodges 1988.)