Among the classic boys’ names, James stands out as one of the most enduring, likable and versatile, and is still stylish after centuries of popular usage. Here are some of the many nicknames and variations of James, including his charming international counterparts.
Before listing the nicknames and variations, let's take a look at James itself. James’s accomplishments are too numerous to mention, but among them are being voted America’s favorite boys’ name, and belonging to more U.S. presidents than any other (six). It’s been a British royal name for centuries, was the most popular name in America for 13 straight years and is still in the top 10 in the U.S., U.K., Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and Scotland.
There have been scores of notables known by Jim -- Jims Henson, Carrey, Morrison, Jarmusch and Parsons, to name a few -- as well as fictional Jims in Huckleberry Finn, Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim and Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim. Jim was a Top 100 name in the 1900s, the 30s and 40s, and briefly in the 60s.
Late night TV is dominated by the two Jimmys -- Kimmel and Fallon, both of them named after their fathers named James. Since so many baby James are called by their full name these days, Jimmy begins to sound like an affectionately quirky relic.
Though it is the actual given name of football coach Jimbo Fisher (a junior), Jimbo is the nickname of Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, and there have been characters named Jimbo on "The Rockford Files," "The Simpsons" and "South Park."
The originally Scottish Jamie had an impressive run as an independent name for both boys and girls in the 70s and 80s. Among its current prominent bearers are Jamies Foxx, Oliver, Cullum and Dornan.
This patronymic version is rapidly climbing for boys (and sometimes girls). It’s currently at Number 159 in the Jameson spelling AND 440 with an I. Actor Jameson Parker was born Francis Jameson. Chynna Phillips and Billy Baldwin have a daughter named Jameson.
This Irish form of James, with more substance and verve than cousin Sean, became familiar via acclaimed Irish poet Seamus Heaney, as well as Harry Potter’s wizard friend Seamus Finnigan. It joined the U.S. popularity ranks in 1995.
This version of both James and Jacob is an evergreen French classic, familiar to American kids via the song "Frere Jacques." Sometimes used as a snooty character name in animated films, it had a brief moment of U.S. popularity around 1970.
The Italian form of James has a long and noble heritage, ranging from opera composer Puccini to ladies’ man Casanova to poet Leopardi. Still a Top 20 name in its native land, it has never ranked stateside. Sting is one non-Italian who used it for his son.
Hamish is the Scottish form of James (and a Yiddish word for homey) that has never found its footing here, but we think it would make a fabulous choice for parents with Scottish roots. It’s the middle name of Craig Ferguson’s son and of Sherlock Holmes’s Watson, and a current bearer is versatile actor Hamish Linklater.
This spelling is tied to a single celeb -- tragic guitar genius Jimi Hendrix, whose hip surname -- along with other early rock greats Lennon and Jagger -- has caught on with baby namers to the point of reaching Number 546. Jimi, on the other hand, has never reached the Top 1000.