Jonathan is a timeless classic, a name which doesn’t belong to any one particular era or type of fellow. It’s been on the Top 1000 since 1880, though only began its slow but steady rise to greater popularity in 1927. It went from #596 to the Top 20 in the 1980s. To date, its highest rank has been #15 in 1988. In 2016, it was #56.
The name is also fairly popular in Mexico (#27), Austria (#39), Denmark (#47), Switzerland (#59), Norway (#63), Sweden (#76), Canada (#98), and Australia (also #98).
The original form of the name was the Hebrew Yehonatan, later contracted to the modern form Yonatan. It means “God has given.” Most people are familiar with the story of David and Jonathan’s deep friendship in the Bible, and the persistent rumour that they may have been more than just friends.
In the Anglophone world, Jonathan didn’t become widely used till the Protestant Reformation. This spelling is also used in German, the Scandinavian languages, French, and Dutch.
Other forms include:
1. Jonatan is Scandinavian, German, Dutch, Spanish, and Czech. The variant form Jónatan is Icelandic, and Jonatán is Hungarian and a rare Czech variant.
2. Gionata is Italian.
3. Jônatas is Portuguese. The alternate form Jonatás is Spanish, and Jónatas is another Portuguese form.
4. Ionatán is Irish. The alternate form Ionatan is Romanian.
5. Joonatan is Finnish.
6. Gionatan is Italian.
7. Hovnatan is Armenian.
8. Ionafan is Russian. As much as I adore Russian names, I’ve never been a fan of the ones where the English TH sound is replaced by F, nor of names where the English J is replaced by IO or IYO. It just has an unflattering sound to my ears.
9. Ionatani is Georgian.
10. Ionathan is Greek.
11. Ionakana is Hawaiian.
12. Jonatanas is Lithuanian.
13. Honatana is Maori.
14. Joatan is Portuguese.
15. Jonatã is also Portuguese.
16. Jonatão is Portuguese too.
17. Ionatana is Samoan.
18. Sonatane is Tongan.
19. Jonty is a British nickname.
20. Yoni is a very common, popular Hebrew nickname.