Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Jacques

Jacques is the French form of Jacob and James, both of which are ultimately derived from the Hebrew Biblical name יַעֲקֹב (Ya'aqobh) which literally translates to "at the heel" or “one that takes by the heel” (derivative of 'aqebh meaning “heel”). Given Jacob's Biblical story, this etymology makes perfect sense.  You see, Jacob was the second-born twin to Isaac and Rebecca; he came out of Rebecca's womb "with his hand holding Esau's heel, so his name was called Jacob." (Genesis 25:26).  The Lord told Rebecca that the younger of her two twin boys would be stronger, and that the older (Esau) would serve the younger (Jacob). As the Biblical story progresses, the cunning Jacob eventually supplanted his older brother by stealing his birthright and his father's blessing. "Is he not rightly named Jacob?" Esau asks in Genesis 27:36. "For he has supplanted me these two times." Therefore, the name Jacob is also associated with the verb "to supplant" (i.e., to supersede or replace).  In the Bible, Jacob went on to father the Twelve Tribes of Israel, so this has been a particularly important name to the Jews.  While the Puritans and other dissenting Christians adopted the name Jacob after the Protestant Reformation (c. 16th century), for the most part, the English use the anglicized form – James – by way of the Greek translation Ιακωβος (Iakobos) to the Latin Iacomus.  Historically it was thought that James and Jacob were two distinct names, but etymologists now agree James came from Jacob. Usage of James (English), Jacques (French), Jaime (Spanish), Giacobbe (Italian) and Séamus (Irish) since the Middle Ages was not in reference to the Old Testament Jacob but rather in honor of a few important Christian men named James in the New Testament, particularly St. James the Just, believed to be the brother of Jesus.  The name Jacques has long been used among the French, although it is considered slightly “old-manish” by today’s naming standards.  It is no longer ranked very high in France.  

All About the Baby Name – Jacques

Personality

OF THE BOY NAME JACQUES

The Master Number Twenty-Two combines the traits of Twos and Fours into a powerful force. The references to The Master Builder and "large undertakings" serve to underscore the massive potential of this personality. They are extremely capable and therefore almost always successful. Twenty-Twos are courageous leaders, innovative thinkers, extremely wise and highly organized. As such, they are able to manifest something of major importance that will have a lasting impact on this world. Master Numbers carry with them a great sense of responsibility, so it can be a burden. However, Twenty-Twos are executors and action-takers. Further, this personality exhibits traits of the Twos, which brings sensitivity, spirituality and harmony, so their endeavors are likely to benefit mankind in some capacity.

Popularity

OF THE BOY NAME JACQUES

Jacques has never been a particularly popular boy’s name in the United States – mainly because we never have had a large influx of French immigration. This is a distinctly French name. The name did appear on America’s Top 1000 list between 1947 and 1998, but it was only used sparingly. In fact, Jacques was ranked #1909 in 2013 and given to only 73 baby boys that year.  Aside from parents with French heritage, Jacques has also a history of adoption among African-Americans.  In fact, African-Americans have often showed great appreciation for French masculine names such as Andre, Antoine, Curtis, Dimitri, Dominique, Jermaine, Leon, Leroy, Lionel and Marcel to name a few. The names Jacob and James come in many linguistic forms but none so romantic sounding as the French Jacques. 

Quick Facts

ON JACQUES

GENDER:

Boy

ORIGIN:

French

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

1

RANKING POPULARITY:

N/A

PRONUNCIATION:

ZHAHK

SIMPLE MEANING:

At the heel; The supplanter

Characteristics

OF JACQUES

The Master Builder

Leader

Large Undertakings

Confidence

Discipline

Organization

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Jacques

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME JACQUES

We cannot find any significant literary characters by the name of Jacques

Popular Songs

ON JACQUES

The Curse of Jacques
a song by Grave Digger

Jacques Lamure
a song by Of Montreal

Jacques et Gilles
a song by Kate and Anna McGarrigle

Frere Jacques
a song by Sam Shaber

Famous People

NAMED JACQUES

Jacques Chirac (former President of France)
Jacques Offenbach (French composer)
Jacques Cousteau (French conservationist/sea explorer)
Jacques Cartier (French explorer)
Jacques Derrida (French philosopher)
Jacques Lacan (French psychologist)
Jacques-Louis David (French artist/painter)
Jacques Brel (Belgian singer-songwriter)
Jacques Villeneuve (French-Canadian car racer)
Jacques Laffite (French car racer)

Children of Famous People

NAMED JACQUES

We cannot find any children of famous people with the first name Jacques

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME JACQUES

We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Jacques