Jane Name Meaning

baby girl holding a toy

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What Does Jane Mean? 

Jane is a common name for girls across the world. It’s so common that generic terms for women like “Jane Doe” and “Plain Jane” were coined. The name Jane is of English origin and means “God is gracious.” Some people believe that Jane was derived from the old French name Jehanne, which in turn, is thought to be derived from the Hebrew name Yochanan which means “Yahweh is merciful.” Jane first became popular in the mid-16th century where it was used as an alternative to the name Joan.  

  • Origin: The name Jane can be traced to English, French, and Hebrew origins
  • Gender: Jane has traditionally been a girl’s name but can be given to kids of any gender 
  • Pronunciation: Ja-yn


Although many baby names are separated by gender, Verywell Family believes that sex does not need to play a role in your name selection process. It’s important to select a name that you feel suits your new baby the best.

How Popular is the Name Jane? 

Jane used to be a wildly popular name in the United States. From 1911 until 1965 it stayed on the top 100 charts of most popular names for girls. Its popularity peaked in 1946, that year, 8,971 babies were named Jane.  According to 2020 data from the Social Security Administration Jane is currently the 265th most popular name for girls in the United States.

Name Variations 

Jane has numerous spelling and pronunciation variations in different cultures and languages across the world. Some of the most common name variations you are likely to come across include:

  • Jana (Polish, Latvian, Slovak)
  • Janeczka (Polish)
  • Janes (Swedish, Dutch, Finnish)
  • Janet (English) 
  • Janete (Portuguese) 
  • Jayne (English) 
  • Jeanne (French)
  • Jenica (Romanian)
  • Jenka (Czech)
  • Jenne (Dutch)
  • Jinn (Celtic)
  • Joan (English) 

Similar Names

If you like a short and sweet name like Jane, you’ll also like these simple names that are perfect for babies of any gender:

  • Alice 
  • Anne
  • Blaire
  • Clara 
  • Elle
  • Eve
  • Faith
  • Grace
  • Gwen
  • Jay
  • Jean
  • June
  • Kim
  • Lisa 
  • Lucy 
  • Rose
  • Ruth
  • Shea
  • Sue

Suggested Sibling Names 

You’d be hard-pressed to find a sibling name that doesn’t go well with Jane, but here are some preferred options if you are looking for sibling names that pair well:

  • Belle
  • Blake
  • Chad
  • Finn
  • Frank
  • James
  • Jake
  • John
  • Jude
  • Luke
  • Max
  • Neil
  • Queen
  • Rain
  • Seth
  • Tess
  • Todd
  • Troy

Famous People Named Jane 

Many strong and influential people have been given the name Jane.

  • Calamity Jane, American frontierswoman, and sharpshooter 
  • Jane Austen, British author known for the wildly popular books “Pride and Prejudice” and “Emma”
  • Jane Badler, American actress, and singer 
  • Jane Curtin, American actress, and comedian 
  • Jane Fonda, American actress, and political activist 
  • Jane Krakowski, American actress 
  • Jane Lynch, American actress 
  • Jane Roe, the pseudonym for Norma Leah McCorvey who was the plaintiff in Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that legalized abortion in the United States
  • Jane Seymour, wife of King Henry the VIII of England
  • Jane Seymour, English actress 
  • Jane Siberry, Canadian singer, and songwriter 
  • Jane Wiedlin, American singer and member of the Go-Go’s

Fictional Janes

Jane is also often used in many literary pieces and great works of art. Some of the most popular include 

  • Baby Jane Hudson, a character in the novel, “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane” 
  • G.I. Jane, the main character in the 1997 movie of the same name, played by Demi Moore
  • Jane Bennet, the eldest of the Bennet sisters in the book “Pride and Prejudice”
  • Jane Eyre, the lead character in the popular Charlotte Brontë novel of the same name 
  • Jane Jetson, a character in the animated show, The Jetsons 
  • Jane Lane, a character in the television show Daria 
  • Jane Studdock, a main character in the novel That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis   

More Baby Names

Still searching for the perfect baby name? Check out these related baby name lists for even more options: 

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  1. Social Security Administration. Popularity of name. Updated 2021.