Fonts, I-L

Jack

J is for Jokerman

The British designer Andrew Smith created the font Jokerman in 1995. He has a lot of cool fonts in his portfolio. http://www.myfonts.com/person/Andrew_Smith/

I read a lot of fairy tales, a lot of nursery rhymes, actually a lot of everything, and everywhere I turn there is a Jack. Most of us could name half a dozen or more stories about Jack. I thought I would investigate.

My head is whirling now.

Jack is a name usually given to males. It comes from Middle English and is often a nickname for John. Which I don’t quite understand since both names are four letters beginning with J. If anyone can explain that, please do.

But I digress.

Jack is not only a common name (within the top 50 of popular names for decades and once again increasing in popularity), but also the name for things in practically every area of our lives. There are jacks-of-all-trades, jackpots, jack o’lanterns and on and on. I was not expecting so much.

JACKJACK

In this blog I am focused on the name. The name that became the parlance of referring to a man, any man, usually of the common classes. Thus all the nursery rhymes and all the fairytales are stories about the ubiquitous Jack, the epitome of the common man.

The name Jack means from Celtic “healthy, strong, full of vital energy”, from Hebrew “The Lord is gracious”, from French & from English “one who supplants”, or from Polish “God’s gracious gift”. I even found one site that Jack in both Shakespeare and American meant “rebel”. Hmmm.

2003-2007 Jack reigned as the most popular name in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

2008-2010 Jack was the most common name in Australia.

So far in 2014 Jack is number 9 or number 10 (depending on which you look at) on the list of most popular names in America.

Much to my amazement there are many complete sites devoted just to the name Jack, its various meanings and citations of all of the Jacks through literature. Who knew?

http://babynames.com/name/JACK

http://nameberry.com/babyname/Jack

By mere popularity the list of famous men named Jack is long and varied.

There are nursery rhymes and fairytales: Jack and the Beanstalk, Jack and Jill, Jack be Nimble, Jack Sprat, Little Jack Horner…

There is a spate of Jakes in video games: Mass Effect (a rare female with the name), Borderlands, Metal Gear Solid, Bioshock, Fable, Grand Theft Auto, etc.

JacksPink jack

There are games from cards (face card Jack) to jacks.

There are an incredible number of fish with Jack in their name such as amberjack, black jack, yellow jack and Coho salmon males are called jacks and those are just a few.

There is slang, there are plants, there are tools (including old-fashioned phone jacks), and jacks are also parts of things from musical instruments to electrical engineering.

Jack has become synonymous with male and by extension many inanimate objects with no rhyme or reason as to why.

So that is my summation of over 200 pages of research on Jack and I can’t say I was obsessively thorough on this one.

Who or what is the most important Jack in your life?

Blue jack – lisa

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2 thoughts on “Jack

  1. Kristin Thorsness says:

    Hi Lisa! I am enjoying the lettered theme of your blog! I am currently looking for fonts to use on my website and have been having fun looking through the ones you’ve chosen to feature on your blog so far. A quick note about Jack as a nickname for John…

    My son is named John after my grandpa and, like my grandpa when he was young, we call him Jack. I had to look up the history of this to prove to my husband it was a legitimate nickname (and not just an odd one made up by my family!) and there were many answers. The most common (and likely sounding to me) one was the theory that because of the way the German language is structured German people had a hard time pronouncing “John” and often said it as “Jankin” or “Jackin” which led to the nickname Jack.
    http://www.knowswhy.com/why-is-jack-a-nickname-for-john/

    I hope you have a wonderful rest of your week and I look forward to seeing you this weekend!

    ~ Kristin

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