What Is Jack Short For?

boy dressed up as pirate captain jack sparrow

My wife is a big fan of the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise and loves the character Jack Sparrow (or she might just be secret fan of Johnny Depp without telling me!) Either way Jack is a popular name and has been for a long time.

You can find famous people called Jack, such as Jack Nicholson and Jack Black, and it seems a popular choice for a baby name; there’s a Jack in my daughter’s class at school and a Jack who goes to the same childminder as my son. In this article let’s look at whether Jack is short for anything and how popular it is today.

Where does Jack come from?

Jack can be short for a couple of different given names:

  • It is most commonly used as a diminutive form of John and unusually it must be one of the few nicknames which isn’t actually shorter than the given name. John is a name of Hebrew origin stemming from the name Yohanan but it became popular in England in the Middle Ages.
  • It is possible that Jack also comes from the French name Jacques, brought over by the Normans.
  • Jack can also be short for Jackson and occasionally the girl’s name, Jacqueline (although Jackie is more common in this case)

Jack has been a popular name for many years and it’s frequently used in fairytales and nursery rhymes, such as Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Jack Horner and Jack and Jill. The name is even used in the phrase “jack of all trades”, which I’m sure you’ve either used yourself or heard before.

What does it mean?

Taking John as the given name, this means ‘god is gracious’. Jackson literally means’ son of Jack’ or ‘son of John’, but overall it’s still a lot more popular as a surname.

How popular is Jack as a name?

In the USA it is a very popular name and has been since records began. Since 1900, Jack has been an ever present in the top 200. It had little dip in the middle of the 20th century but it has become very popular again in the last 30 years.

In the UK, Jack is even more popular. In 2021 it was the 13th most popular boy’s name

Is Jack used as a surname?

You can find Jack used a surname. It is of Scottish origin and can be traced back to Renfrewshire, which is a historic county in Scotland. In the USA, Jack was ranked #2,382 as a surname in 2010.

What middle names can you use with Jack?

As the name is so short you can pick middle names which are quite long or short to follow and it should sound ok (in most cases). However as the name ends in a hard consonant, a middle name which starts with a vowel sometimes doesn’t work e.g. Jack Andrew (sounds like one word!). Here are some to consider:

  • Jack Benjamin
  • Jack Christopher
  • Jack Daniel
  • Jack David
  • Jack Edward
  • Jack Kevin
  • Jack Lawrence
  • Jack Michael
  • Jack Paul
  • Jack Peter
  • Jack Richard
  • Jack Robert
  • Jack Stephen
  • Jack Timothy
  • Jack William

Famous Jack’s

To put it mildly, there are quite a lot. Here are some of the most famous people called Jack, who are either sports personalities or actors/musicians.

  • Jack Nicholson (actor) – He is certainly one of the biggest names in Hollywood, appearing in movies such as One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and The Shining (one of my favourite movies of all time). As well as horror and thrillers, he’s also appeared in comedy movies too such as Anger Management and Mars Attacks.
  • Jack Black (actor/musician) – A very talented actor and musician. He sings and plays guitar forming one half of Tenacious D and has appeared in a number of movies over the years, such as School Of Rock, Pick Of Destiny and Jumanji. He always seems to put everything into his performances whether it’s acting or playing music!
  • Jack White(musician) – Lead singer and guitarist in The White Stripes.
  • Jack Nicklaus (golfer) – To date, he is still the most celebrated golfer of all time, winning 18 major tournaments.
  • Jack Johnson (musician) – He is a singer/songwriter and he was also a professional surfer.
  • Jack Whitehall (comedian) – UK based comedian who has also appeared in a number of TV series.
  • Jack Lemmon (actor) – He had a long career as an actor appearing in movies such as Some Like It Hot and Mister Roberts.
  • Jack Lambert (NFL player) – He is considered to be the greatest line backer of his era.
  • Jack Dorsey (entrepreneur) – He is best known as the founder of Twitter.
  • Jack The Ripper I guess this person is worth a mention. He was the infamous serial killer in London who was never found.

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