The many forms of Jakob

Regular readers of both this blog and my main blog may have noticed I consistently use the spelling Jakob instead of the more common Jacob. While I personally think the K makes it stand out and gives it an added boost of personality (particularly considering how super-popular it’s been for so long), my main reason is that the first Jacob I knew was a terrible bully. Even after meeting wonderful Jacobs who were nothing like the first, that association stayed. Using the K spelling takes the sting out of the name for me. It doesn’t make me think of him.

The conventional English spelling Jacob has been in the Top 10 in the U.S. since 1993. From 1999–2012, it was #1. As of 2015, it was #4, and also enjoying high popularity in Canada (#6), Australia (#11), New Zealand (#10), Northern Ireland (#12), England and Wales (#5), and Scotland (#11). My spelling, Jakob, was #3 in Austria, #15 in Norway, and #6 in Slovenia.

The spelling Jacob is used in English and Dutch. Other variants, starting with the one I prefer, are:

1. Jakob is German, Scandinavian, Slovenian, and Icelandic, as well as an alternate Dutch spelling. It still rankles when I remember one of the know-it-all agents who dogpiled me in a pitchfest some years back, insisting (based on something like three lines of a pitch!) I hadn’t done my research and didn’t know jack due to my usage of the spelling Jakob on a Dutch character. Um, no, it’s a legit Dutch spelling variation, and the reason for it is explained in the story. Odd how everyone else has praised my attention to historical accuracy and detail, including the names I choose. Yet another reason why I went indie.

Jockel is the German nickname; Jaša and Jaka are Slovenian; Jeppe and Ib are Danish; and Jaap, Jaapje, Jaapetje, Jop, Koos, Kobus, Kobe, Coos, and Cobus are Dutch.

The slight variation Jákob is a lesser-used Hungarian form, though the more widely-used Hungarian form is…

2. Jakab. Nicknames for both include Jaksi, Jákó, Jaksa, Jaki, and Koba.

3. Jakub is Polish, Czech, and Slovak, with the cute Polish nickname Kuba. Slovak and Czech nicknames include Jašek, Kuba, Kubík, Kubíček, Jakoubek, and Jakes.

4. Jakov is Serbian, Macedonian, and Croatian. The Serbian and Croatian nickname is Jakša.

5. Japik is Frisian.

6. Jokūbas is Lithuanian.

7. Jēkabs is Latvian.

8. Jakes is Basque.

9. Jaakko is Finnish.

10. Jaakoppi is also Finnish.

11. Jaakob is a third Finnish form, and Estonian. The nickname for all three is Jaska.

12. Jaagup is Estonian. The nickname is Jaak.

13. Jákup is Faroese.

14. Jacobo is Spanish.

15. Jago is Cornish.

16. Jaume is Catalan. The nickname is Jaumet.

17. Jacques is French.

18. Jaques is Jèrriais. Nicknames include Jacot and Jaquinot. An alternate Jèrriais form is Jâcob.

19. Iago is Galician and Welsh, and of course the familiar name of the antagonist of Othello.

20. Jacó is Portuguese.

21. Iakob is Georgian, with the nickname Koba.

22. Yakov is Russian and Bulgarian, with the nickname Yasha. This is one of the irregular patronymics, with the male form Yakovlevich and the feminine Yakovlevna.

23. Yakiv is Ukrainian and Belarusian.

24. Yakub is an alternate Belarusian form, as well as Arabic. The Belarusian and Ukrainian nickname for both Yakiv and Yakub is Yakush.

25. Ya’akov is Hebrew.

26. Akiva is a variant Hebrew form. Rabbi Akiva was a famous First Century scholar who was an illiterate shepherd till he was 40. His wife Rachel saw something special in him, and pushed him to start learning and go off to study. He became a great sage, in spite of having no formal Jewish background or even the ability to read and write.

27. Yankel is Yiddish.

28. Kapel is also Yiddish.

29. Koppel is a third Yiddish form.

30. Jacopo is Italian.

31. Giacobbe is an alternate Italian form.

32. Iacopo is also Italian. The nickname for all three is Lapo.

33. Yaqub is a variant Arabic transliteration.

34. Hagop is Armenian.

35. Hakob is an alternate Armenian form. Eastern and Western Armenian pronounce certain letters differently, and have other significant linguistic differences.

36. Yakup is Turkish.

37. Seumas is Scottish.

38. Iakopa is Hawaiian.

39. Hemi is Maori.

40. Yago is an alternate Spanish form.

41. Iacob is Romanian.

42. Iacov is also Romanian.

43. Iakovos is Greek.

44. Jaimé is Filipino.

45. Yakaŭ is an alternate Belarusian form.

46. Jakobo is Esperanto.

47. Jappe is West Frisian.

48. Jeikobu is Japanese.

49. Küba is Vilamovian, a Germanic language spoken in Poland.

50. Ukba is Aramaic.

51. Xacobe is Galician.

52. Yaghoub is Persian.

53. Yakobo is Swahili.

54. Yaqup is Bashkir, a Turkic language spoken in Russia.

55. Yoqub is Uzbek.

56. Séamus is Irish.

57. Séamas is also Irish.

The many forms of Joseph

Once considered “too Jewish” for most Christians to use, the name Joseph has been a popular mainstay since the late Middle Ages, when Saint Joseph’s star rose. It first caught on among a wider audience in Spain and Italy, and it became more popular in England after the Protestant Reformation. In the Jewish world, it calls to mind the Biblical Yosef, favourite son of Jakob, and in the Christian world, it calls to mind the father of Jesus.

Joseph was on the Top 10 in the U.S. from 1880–1934, and then dropped into the Top 20. It rose and fell slightly over the ensuing decades, with its lowest rank being #22 in 2011. In 2015, it was #21. The name has also enjoyed much popularity in Great Britain, Canada, Australia, Ireland and Northern Ireland, and New Zealand. The spelling Josef was once quite popular in Switzerland, and is currently enjoying a #26 rank in the Czech Republic and #48 in Sweden.

The spelling Joseph is English and French. Other versions include:

1. Josef is German, Czech, and Scandinavian. German nicknames include Sepp and Seppel, and Czech nicknames include Pepa, Pepík, Pepíček, Jožka, Joska, and Jožánek.

2. Józef is Polish. The nickname is Józek. The alternate version Jožef is Slovenian, with the nickname Jože. Another alternate version, Jozef without any diacritical marks, is Slovak and Dutch. The Dutch nicknames include Sjef, Zef, Jos, Jef, Joep, Joop, Joos, and Joost.

3. József is Hungarian. Nicknames include Jóska and Józsi.

4. Josif is Serbian and Macedonian.

5. Joosep is Estonian.

6. Juozapas is Lithuanian. The nickname is Juozas.

7. Jāzeps is Latvian.

8. Jozefo is Esperanto. The nickname is Joĉjo.

9. Josèp is Occitan. Josep, without any diacritical marks, is Catalan.

10. Josip is Slovenian and Croatian. The Croatian nicknames are Joško, Joso, and Jozo, and the Slovenian nickname is once again Jože.

11. Jooseppi is Finnish. The nickname is Juuso.

12. Iosif is Russian, Romanian, and Greek. One of the Russian nicknames is Osya.

13. Ioseb is Georgian, with the nickname Soso. This was Stalin’s real name.

14. José is Spanish and Portuguese. Spanish nicknames are Pepe, Pepo, and Pepito, and Portuguese nicknames are  and Zezé.

15. Xosé is Galician.

16. Joseba is Basque.

17. Josepe is an alternate Basque form.

18. Giuseppe is Italian, with the nicknames Beppe, Peppe, Peppi, Pino, and Peppino.

19. Yosef is Hebrew.

20. Osip is an alternate Russian form, also with the nickname Osya.

21. Yusuf is Arabic and Turkish.

22. Yusef is another Arabic form.

23. Yousef is another way to transliterate the Arabic form of Joseph.

24. Hovsep is Armenian.

25. Yusif is Azeri.

26. Yosif is Bulgarian.

27. Hohepa is Maori.

28. Yusup is Uyghur, a Turkic language spoken in China.

29. Yosyp is Ukrainian.

30. Yussel is Yiddish.

31. Seòsaidh is Scottish.

32. Seosamh is Irish.

33. Ghjaseppu is Corsican.

34. Ġużeppi is Maltese.

35. Iokepa is Hawaiian.

36. Iosefo is Samoan.

37. Ipe is Malayalam, a language spoken in India.

38. Jisepu is Sardinian.

39. Jósepr is Old Norse.

40. Joskin is a Medieval English nickname.

41. Juza is Vilamovian, a Germanic language spoken in Poland.

42. Osi is Nenets, a native Siberian language.

43. Outha is an alternate Malayalam form.

44. Ouseph is also Malayalam.

45. Seppi is Alsatian.

46. Sifa is Tongan.

47. Sifis is a variation found on Crete.

48. Simprofié is Romani.

49. Yisap is Chuvash, a native Siberian language.

50. Yosip is Assyrian.

51. Yosop is Bashkir, a Turkic language spoken in Russia.

52. Yosyf is Tatar.

53. Yusup is Turkmeni.

54. Yusupha is Sanskrit and Hindi.

55. Yuusuf is Somali.

56. Jâosé is Jèrriais. The nickname is Jâoséphin.

57. Yazep is Belarusian.

The many forms of Michael

Once considered “too Catholic” for many Protestants to use, today the name Michael has risen to become an extraordinarily popular mainstay on the Top 10 in the U.S. It’s spent many years as #1, most recently in 1998. As of 2015, it was #9. In Ireland, the name was #8 in 2015, and in Northern Ireland (Ireland by any other name), it was #16. Michael has also enjoyed great popularity in Switzerland and Canada.

The spelling Michael is used in English, Hebrew, German, Dutch, and sometimes the Scandinavian languages. Other forms include:

1. Mikhail is Russian, with the familiar nickname Misha. In spite of its current popularity as a woman’s name in the Anglophone world, Misha is a male-only name in the source language. Superdiminutives include Mishenka, Mishulya, Mishechka, Mishutochka, Minyushka, Minochka, and Mishulka. However, superdiminutives should never be used when you don’t know a person very well, even if it’s a child. Grown men also typically aren’t called by superdiminutives by anyone but a romantic partner or someone like a grandparent or mother.

2. Mykhailo is Ukrainian.

3. Mihajlo is Serbian and Croatian.

4. Mihailo is a Serbian-only alternate form. The nickname for both is Mijo.

5. Mihail is Bulgarian, Macedonian, and Romanian. The Romanian nickname is Mihăiță.

6. Michal is Czech and Slovak. The nickname is Míša (pronounced like Misha). This isn’t to be confused with the feminine Hebrew name Michal, which may mean “brook.” The alternate form Michał (MEE-khaw) is Polish.

7. Mihael is Slovenian and Croatian. The Slovenian nickname is Miha, and the Croatian nicknames are Miho and Mijo.

8. Mikhalay is Belarusian.

9. Mikhayla is also Belarusian.

10. Mikhal is a third Belarusian form. The nickname is Mikhalik. The spelling Mikhal is also Ossetian.

11. Mikael is Scandinavian and Finnish. The Finnish nicknames include Mika, Mikko, and Miska.

12. Mikkel is Danish and Norwegian.

13. Miguel is Spanish and Portuguese.

14. Michel is French.

15. Miĥaelo is Esperanto. The nickname is Miĉjo.

16. Mikelo is the modern Esperanto form.

17. Mihails is Latvian.

18. Miķelis is an alternate Latvian form. The nickname is Miks.

19. Mikkjal is Faroese.

20. Mykolas is Lithuanian.

21. Mihály (MEE-hy) is Hungarian. Nicknames include Miksa (MEEK-shah), Miska (MEESH-kah), and Misi (MEE-shee).

22. Mihai is Romanian.

23. Mihkel is Estonian.

24. Mikheil is Georgian. The nickname is Misho.

25. Michail is modern Greek.

26. Michalis is an alternate modern Greek form.

27. Mikha’il is Arabic.

28. Miquel is Catalan.

29. Mikel is Basque.

30. Mitxel is an alternate Basque form.

31. Myghal is Cornish.

32. Mícheál is Irish. The similar form Mìcheal is Scottish.

33. Meical is Welsh.

34. Michiel is Dutch.

35. Mikala is Hawaiian.

36. Michele is Italian.

37. Mikaere is Maori.

38. Mikail is Turkish.

39. Maikeru is Japanese.

40. Mëhill is Albanian.

41. Miceli is Sicilian.

42. Micheli is Sardinian.

43. Michu is Swiss–German.

44. Miqueu is Gascon and Medieval Occitan.

45. Miché is Jèrriais.

46. Michi is an alternate Jèrriais form.

The many forms of William

William has long been one of the most popular, common male names in the Anglophone world after only John. In the U.S., it’s never fallen out of the Top 20, and has been in the Top 5 during many of the years from 1880 to the present day. Its highest position has been #2, which it’s held many a time. The name is also very popular in Great Britain, New Zealand, Scandinavia, Australia, and Canada.

It’s also one of those great universal names, with equivalents in so many other languages. Here are some of the other forms:

1. Wilhelm is German and Polish.

2. Guillaume is French.

3. Vilhelm is Scandinavian, Finnish, and Hungarian.

4. Viljami is another Finnish form.

5. Vilhelmi is also Finnish. Nicknames for all three Finnish forms include Vili, Vilho, Viljo, Ville, and Jami.

6. Willem is Dutch. Nicknames include Pim, Wim, Willy, Willi, and Jelle.

7. Vilhelms is Latvian. The nickname is Vilis.

8. Vilhjálmur is Icelandic and Faroese.

9. Wöllem is Limburgish.

10. Wullem is another Limburgish form. The nickname is Wum.

11. Vilmos is Hungarian. The base nickname form is Vili.

12. Wilhelmus is the official Dutch form of William, used on birth certificates but typically not in everyday life.

13. Viliam is Slovak.

14. Wilmot is a Medieval English diminutive.

15. Vilhelmo is Esperanto. The nickname is Vilĉjo.

16. Villem is Estonian.

17. Vilhelmas is Lithuanian.

18. Viljem is Slovenian. Nicknames include Vili and Vilko.

19. Guillem is Catalan.

20. Gwilherm is Breton.

21. Guillermo is Spanish.

22. Guilherme is Portuguese.

23. Uilliam is Irish. Nicknames include Ulick, Uilleag, and the super-trendy Liam.

24. Uilleam is Scottish.

25. Gwilym is Welsh.

26. Gwilim is another Welsh form.

27. Gwillym is a third Welsh form.

28. Vilém is Czech.

29. Guglielmo is Italian.

30. Illiam is Manx.

31. Vilim is Croatian. The base nickname is Vilko.

32. Wiremu is Maori.

33. Guildhelm is Medieval Dutch.

34. Guilhem is Occitan and Gascon.

35. Guillen is Gascon, Aragonese, and Medieval Spanish.

36. Guillerme is Galician.

37. Ouiliam is Greek.

38. Uiliam is a rare Brazilian–Portuguese form.

39. Uilyam is Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian, and Turkish.

40. Uiriamu is Japanese.

41. Vilgelm is Russian.

42. Vilhjalmr is Old Norse.

43. Vîliarme is Greenlandic.

44. Viliami is Tongan.

45. Vilius is Lithuanian.

46. Viljam is Swedish and Faroese.

47. Villiam is Scandinavian and Faroese.

48. Viļums is a rare Latvian form.

49. Wella is Cornish.

50. Wëllem is another Limburgish form.

51. Wiliama is Hawaiian.

52. Velvel is Yiddish. Though the name truly means “wolf,” it’s often used as a Yiddish equivalent of William.

The many forms of Jerome

In honor of the 65th Jahrzeit (death anniversary) of the legendary comedian Curly Howard (Jerome Lester Horwitz; Hebrew name Yehudah Leib ben Shlomo Natan HaLevi), I decided to present the name Jerome in all its forms today. I really, really love this name, both because of Curly and the awesome Saint Jerome.


Saint Jerome (né Eusebius Hieronymous Sophronius) was a man of letters, and a very popular patron saint of writers. He’s also the patron saint of librarians, Biblical scholars, archaeologists, archivists, translators, libraries, schoolchildren, and students. Many writers choose him as their patron saint because they feel he understands them at a deeper level, with that common bond. (You can read more about him at his Find A Grave memorial, which I wrote the bio for.)

One of my characters, a radical priest from Kassel, Germany, Father Rudi, names his church after Saint Jerome, since he relates so strongly to his love of learning, knowledge, and the written word.


Most Stooges fans name Curly as their favorite, and it’s really easy to see his appeal. He was one of the greatest physical comedians of all time, and seemed like a really kind, sweet person in private life. He didn’t deserve to die so young, and to be forced to work through deteriorating health until he finally had a major stroke during the filming of Half-Wits Holiday. When I found out Curly had a real-life limp, I no longer felt ashamed and upset about my own limp. He’s my limping hero.

After his major stroke, frequent director Jules White was visiting him at home, and Curly got really pensive and sad for a moment. He broke the silence by asking, “I’ll never be able to make children laugh again, will I, Jules?” He must be happy, in the other world, to know he’ll make children laugh for eternity.

Jerome is the English form of the original Greek Hieronymos, which means “sacred name.” It derives from hieros (sacred) and onoma (name). The name really came into prominence during the Middle Ages, particularly France and Italy, in honor of Saint Jerome. It appeared in England in the 12th century.

Other forms of the name:

1. Jérôme is French.

2. Jeroen is Dutch.

3. Hieronymus is a longer Dutch form.

4. Jeronymus is yet a third Dutch form.

5. Girolamo is Italian.

6. Gerolamo is an alternate Italian form.

7. Jerónimo is Spanish and Portuguese.

8. Gerónimo is an alternate Spanish form.

9. Jerônimo is Brazilian–Portuguese.

10. Geròni is Gascon.

11. Ġlormu is Maltese.

12. Hieronim is Polish and Slovak.

13. Ieróim is Irish.

14. Iyeronim is Russian and Ukrainian.

15. Ieronim is Romanian.

16. Ieronymos is modern Greek.

17. Jarolím is Slovenian.

18. Jaronas is Romansh, a Romance language primarily spoken in southeastern Switzerland.

19. Jeromos is Hungarian.

20. Jeronim is Croatian and Albanian. The Croatian nickname form is Jerko.

21. Jeroni is Catalan.

22. Jeronimas is Lithuanian.

22. Jeroným is Czech.

23. Jeroom is a rare, outdated Dutch and Flemish form.

24. Jiròni is Occitan.

25. Sierôm is Welsh.

26. Xerome is Galician.

27. Yeronim is Bulgarian.

28. Zirominu is Sardinian.

29. Giròlamu is Sicilian.

30. Jerom is Breton.

31. Hieronīms is Latvian.

32. Hieronimo is Esperanto.