[ 2 syll. ja-cob, jac-ob ] The baby boy name Jacob is pronounced as JHEY-KahB (English) or YAA-KaoP (Dutch) †. Jacob is used chiefly in the Dutch, English, German, and Scandinavian languages, and its origin is Hebrew. The name's meaning is Yahweh may protect; holder of heel; supplanter. A biblical name, it is derived from the elements 'yahweh' name of God ; 'aqeb' meaning heel ; 'aqab' to supplant, to cheat. The name Jacob is from the Yaakov (Hebrew) or Yakubel (Hebrew). The usual English form James shares the same roots and is from the byform Iacomus (Latin), itself from Iacobus (Latin).
The name Jacob was borne in the Bible by one of the twin sons of Isaac and Rebecca who was born holding on to the heel of his elder brother Esau. With God's approval, Jacob went on to trick his brother Esau of his rights as the first-born, thereby becoming he father of twelves sons who went on to found the twelve tribes of Israel. He later tricked the dying Isaac to bless him instead of Esau. Esau went on to remark that Jacob was rightly named, for Jacob 'supplanted' Esau twice.
The name was first used by English speakers as a clerical name prior to the Norman Conquest, but it was not popular during the Middle Ages, except among Jews. In the 17th century, the name saw a revival among English Puritans, possibly due to their perception of supplanting others less worthy than themselves. In modern times, the name is still more popular with Jews than Christians. The name Jacqueline (English and French) and the name Jakoba (German) are the female forms of Jacob.
The name Jacob is widely used; it has 117 variants that are used in English and other languages. Variants used in English include Cob, Cobb, Iago (also used in Spanish and Welsh), Jaccob, Jachob, Jachym, Jackob, Jackub, Jacobb, Jacobe, Jacobey, Jacobi, Jacobie, Jacobs, Jacolbi, Jacolby, Jacub, Jaecob, Jaicob, Jakob (also used in German and Scandinavian), Jakobs, James, Jamie (also used in Scottish), Jaycob, Jaykob, Jem, Jim, Jimmie, Jimmy, and Jocob. Other English forms include the short form Jaco (also used in Portuguese), the diminutive forms Cobi, Coby, Jack (also used in Dutch), Jake (also used in Hebrew), Jakie, Jay, Jock, and Koby, and the variant spelling Jakeb.
Foreign variants of Jacob include Agop (Armenian), Akiva (Hebrew), Chago (Spanish), Diego (Spanish), Diogo (Portuguese), Giacobbe (Italian), Giacomo (Italian), Giacopo (Italian), Hagop (Armenian), Hamish (Scottish), Iakobos (Greek), Iakopa (Hawaiian), Iakov (Greek and Russian), Iakovos (Greek), Ib (Scandinavian), Ikov (Slavic), Jaagup (Estonian), Jaak (Estonian), Jacobo (Spanish), Jacobus (Dutch), Jacoby (Hebrew), Jacopo (Italian), Jacque (French), Jacques (French), Jacquet (French), Jago (Spanish), Jaime (Portuguese and Spanish), Jakab (Hungarian), Jakiv (Russian), and Jakobus (German). Specific foreign variants include the diminutive forms Checha (Spanish), Jaap (Dutch and German), Jasha (Russian), Jeppe (Scandinavian), Kobi (Hungarian and Polish), and Sjaak (Dutch).
Jacob is a very popular baby name for boys. The name's popularity rose from the 1960s up to the 1990s. At the peak of its usage in 1998, 1.777% of baby boys were given the name Jacob. It ranked at #2 then. The baby name has since experienced a loss in popularity. In 2012, its usage was 0.940% and its ranking #1, but it was nonetheless the most popular out of all boy names in its group. In 2012, 42% more boys were named Jacob than the next most popular name, James.
† Pronunciation for Jacob: JH as in "joy (JH.OY)" ; EY as in "ate (EY.T)" ; K as in "key (K.IY)" ; AH as in "mud (M.AH.D)" ; B as in "be (B.IY)" ; Y as in "you (Y.UW)" ; AA as in "odd (AA.D)" ; AO as in "ought (AO.T)" ; P as in "pea (P.IY)"
Details of famous persons named Jacob:
Comedian Rodney Dangerfield, born Jacob Cohen, 22 November 1921 - 6 October 2004, Babylon, New York.
Fabulist Jacob Grimm, born Jakob Ludwig Carl Grimm, 4 January 1785 - 20 September 1863, Hanau, Germany.