[ 1 syll. jea(n), je-an ] The baby girl name Jean is also used as a boy name, with the latter form being more popular. It is pronounced as JHiy-N or ZH-ae-N †. Jean has its origins in the Hebrew language. It is used largely in English and Scottish. Together with the name Jane, this developed as a variant of Jehanne (Old French) during the Middle Ages. By the end of the medieval period, the name has dropped off in popularity although it remained popular in Scotland. It was taken up by English speakers on a wider basis by the end of the 19th century. In literature, it has been made known by the character Jean Brodie in Muriel Spark's novel The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961). See Jean for more information.
Jean is a form of the English Jane in the English and Scottish languages.
Jean is also a contracted form of the English and French Jeanine in the English language.
The name Jean is used to a great extent; it has 57 forms that are used in English and foreign languages. English forms of the name include Gene, Genette, Gina, Jane, Jeanae, Jeanann, Jeanay, Jeancie, Jeanea, Jeanee, Jeaneia, Jeanelle, Jeaneva, Jeanice, Jeanmarie, Jeann, Jeanna, Jeanné, Jeannita, Jeantelle, Jeen, Jeene, Jehane, Jennica, and Jennine. Other English forms include the familiar forms Janina (used in French, German, Polish, Finnish, Lithuanian, and Scandinavian as well), Janine (used in French, and German as well), Jeana, Jeane, Jeanette (used in French as well), Jeanie (used in Scottish as well), Jeanine (used in French as well), Jeannette (used in French and as well), Jeannie (used in Scottish as well), Jeannine (used in French and as well), and Jessie (used in Scottish as well), and the spelling variant Jeanne (used in French, and Dutch as well).
Forms used in foreign languages include Giovanna (Italian), Giovanni (Italian), Ivana (Slavic), Jana (Latvian), Janeska (Polish), Janka (German, Hungarian, and Polish), Janne (Finnish), Jannike (Scandinavian), Jasia (Polish), Jeanetta (French), Jena (Polish), Jenette (French), Johanna (German and Hungarian), Kini (Hawaiian), Nina (Polish), Siân (Welsh), Sìne (Scottish), Síne (Irish), and Zhanna (Russian). The familiar form Teasag (Scottish) is another foreign variant.
Jean is unusual as a baby girl name. Its usage peaked in 1930 with 1.027% of baby girls being named Jean. It was #14 in rank then. The baby name has substantially slipped in popularity since then, and is used only on an infrequent scale today. In 2018, among the family of girl names directly related to Jean, Jane was the most widely used. Although Jean is today more frequently used for boys, there was a period prior to 1989 when more girls were given the name. After 1990, increasingly the name became more popular with boys than with girls. In 1994, 49% more boys than girls were given the name Jean.
† Pronunciation for Jean: JH as in "joy (JH.OY)" ; IY as in "eat (IY.T)" ; AE as in "at (AE.T)" ; N as in "knee (N.IY)"
Details of famous persons named Jean:
Actress Jean Simmons, born Jean Merilyn Simmons 31 January 1929, Crouch Hill, London, England.
Actress Jean Seberg, born Jean Dorothy Seberg November 13, 1938 - August 30, 1979, Marshalltown, Iowa.
Author Jean Rhys, born Ella Gwendolen Rees Williams August 24, 1890 - May 14, 1979, Roseau, Dominica.
Author Jean Plaidy, born Eleanor Alice Burford 1 September 1906, Kensington, London, England.
Business Personality Jean Nidetch, born 12 October 1923, Brooklyn, New York.