Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Jordan

As a gender-neutral given name, Jordan is derived specifically from the River Jordan which flows for about 150 miles along the eastern border of Israel through the Sea of Galilee and down to the Dead Sea. The river’s name comes from the Hebrew word “haYarden” meaning “flowing down”. Located in the Holy Lands, the River Jordan has always held significant symbolic meaning for Jewish people and Christians alike. For Jews, the river is a symbol of freedom since its crossing was the final step of Moses’ and the ancient Israelite’s return to the Promise Land after years of abject slavery in Egypt. For Christians, the River Jordan is sacred because it’s where John the Baptist baptized Jesus. During the Middle Ages, around the time of the Crusades, Christians would pilgrimage to the Holy Land and return with a jar containing holy water from the river. Children (male and female) who were baptized with this holy water were often given the name Jordan. Some of the earlier medieval versions of the name were Jordanis and Jourdain; while medieval English folk sometimes used the diminutive Judd. From an etymology perspective, one might think Jordan is the transferred use of a surname (a la Michael Jordan), when in fact it originated as a given name. Arguably, Jordan is one of the most successful unisex given names of all time. Versions of this name in other languages are: Jordanes (German), Jourdain (French), Giordano (Italian), Jordão (Portuguese) and Jordán (Spanish).

All About the Baby Name – Jordan

Personality

OF THE BOY NAME JORDAN

The number Eight personality has everything to do with power, wealth and abundance. Somehow, this personality has been blessed on the material plane, but their authoritative and problem-solving traits provide evidence that their good fortunes are not just the luck of the lottery. They are well earned. This is the personality of CEOs and high-ranking military personnel. Eights are intensely active, hard-driving individuals. Success is only meaningful to them after a job well-done.  They are remarkable in their ability to see the larger picture right down to the smallest details, and organize a strategy around success. They then have the ability to direct a group around them toward any goal, and realize individual potential to get the most out of their team.

Popularity

OF THE BOY NAME JORDAN

The name Jordan is absolutely unisex in America, although it’s more common as a male name. The male version of the name in the United States dates back over a century, probably due to its Christian roots and association with the River Jordan. Still, the name’s usage for boys was pretty infrequent until the 1980’s when it came into vogue. For girls, the name didn’t show up on the popularity graphs for the first time until 1978, but it quickly grew in status so that it was almost neck-and-neck with the boys. No longer a Top 100 name for girls, it appears the name Jordan for females is waving the white flag to her male counterpart. We’ll have to wait and see. The name feels neither distinctly masculine nor feminine so it definitely works for either sex. “J” names continue to be hyper-popular among American parents (after A, M and K names) and Jordan has clearly demonstrated universal appeal. Oh, and Michael Jordan certainly can take credit for adding to the name’s demand. The height of his basketball prowess coincides with the peak of Jordan’s popularity for boys.

Quick Facts

ON JORDAN

GENDER:

Boy

ORIGIN:

Hebrew

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

53

PRONUNCIATION:

JOHR-dәn

SIMPLE MEANING:

Flowing down

Characteristics

OF JORDAN

Authoritative

Powerful

Tough

Tenacious

Wealthy

Problem-solver

Achiever

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Jordan

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME JORDAN

Jordan Baker is a character in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1922). She is Daisy Buchanan’s friend, a woman with whom Nick Carraway becomes romantically involved during the course of the novel. A competitive golfer, Jordan represents one of the “new women” of the 1920s: skeptical, cynical, boyish, and self-centered. Jordan is beautiful, but also dishonest: she cheated in order to win her first golf tournament and continually bends the truth because “she wasn’t able to endure being at a disadvantage.” Although ultimately a minor character, Nick’s attraction to Jordan serves as an important contrast to his relationship with Daisy; he describes Jordan as a girl “too wise ever to carry well-forgotten dreams from age to age.” Described as sporty (golfer), masculine (small-breasted) and crafty (liar), yet beautiful and self-reliant, Jordan blurs the lines between what it means to be a man and a woman in the fast-paced changing times of the roaring twenties. Still, her “bored haughty face that she turned to the world concealed something.” Don’t we all wish we knew what.

Robert Jordan is the main character in Ernest Hemingway’s 1940 novel, For Whom the Bells Toll. The book tells the story of Robert Jordan, an American who hides out in caves during the Spanish Civil War and wages guerrilla war against the fascists. Robert Jordan is a great and admirable character, known, above-all, for his stoicism, grace under pressure, and toughness. He is Hemingway’s creation of the anti-fascist hero. Jordan embodies what's called "the Hemingway Code," the idea that "there probably isn't God or a world after this so you have to establish for yourself a code of behavior so you can be happy with what you left behind." Robert Jordan is manly, honorable and idealistic, even in the face of sure defeat. He's charged with blowing up a bridge. It's a bad order, and he knows it. Yet he carries out his mission, protecting the small band of fighters who've been helping him in the snow-covered mountains. He sacrifices himself, for their cause. In a 2002 public radio interview former presidential hopeful John McCain said, "Robert Jordan was everything I ever wanted to be."

Popular Songs

ON JORDAN

I Won't Have to Cross Jordan Alone
by Johnny Cash

The Ballad of Lucy Jordan
a song by Marianne Faithfull

River of Jordan
a song by Peter, Paul & Mary

Jordan
a song by Emmylou Harris

Famous People

NAMED JORDAN

Jordan (model)
Jordan Knight (musician)
Jordan Ladd (actress)
Jordan Pruitt (singer)
Jordan (model)
Jordan Knight (musician)
Jordan Ladd (actress)
Jordan Pruitt (singer)
Jordan (model)
Jordan Knight (musician)
Jordan Ladd (actress)
Jordan Pruitt (singer)
leading basketball player

Children of Famous People

NAMED JORDAN

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

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME JORDAN

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