Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Jaime
Jaime is the Spanish and Portuguese equivalent of James. James is ultimately derived from the ancient Hebrew “Yaakov” which is the origin of the name Jacob, traditionally thought to be derived from the word "akev" - which literally translates to "at the heel". In Genesis 25:26, Jacob was born the younger twin to Isaac and Rebecca and he "came out with his hand holding Esau's heel, so his name was called Jacob." The Lord told Rebecca that the younger would be stronger, and that the older would serve the younger. As the Biblical story progresses, the cunning Jacob eventually supplants 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.’ The Greek form of the name Jacob (Iakobos) was given to the Latin (Iacomus) which eventually got anglicized to James. Sounds strange, but this is how languages mutated over time and geographical space. Historically it was thought that James and Jacob were two distinct names, but most etymologists would now agree James came from Jacob (even though the New Testament features two Disciples of Christ with the name James). In the Spanish language, the name Jacob also evolved into several names: Diego, Santiago and Jaime are all derivatives of James/Jacob. This name is a particularly interesting example within the study of linguistics. James, Seamus, Diego, Jaime all came from one name: Jacob – and yet they are all so unique sounding unto themselves. Jaime is currently a high ranking name in Spain (45th most popular in 2010). Alternately, Jaime is sometimes considered a variant of the English Jamie, a pet form of James (in which case it would be pronounced JAY-mee). Lastly, the name could be associated with the French phrase “j'aime” meaning ‘I love’. From a historic perspective, however, Jaime is essentially a masculine Spanish and Portuguese name (pronounced ZHIEM by the Portuguese) which has its etymological roots in Jacob/James.