Why is Jack a nickname for John

The name “John” has been in use since the biblical periods and therefore it is a very popular name but it may sound odd that “Jack” is used often as a nickname for “John”. After all, what is the similarity between the two names? They do not even sound alike when pronounced and the only thing that the two names have in common is the alphabet “J”. Apart from John and Jack, there are other nicknames also, that sound different but actually are used till date. Examples include Edward being nicknamed Teddy, James being called Jim; Sarah becoming Sally and also a number of others.

It is believed that the nicknames are in use today because of the influence of the Germanic tongues during the 17th century. The reason why a German influence is held responsible for such nicknames is related to the fact that some letters in the English alphabet are in sound different to the German alphabet. This produces confusion and also it makes it hard to pronounce names including letters like D, L or R in German tongue. “John” was therefore pronounced as “Jackin” or “Jankin” and it was relatively easy to use “Jack” after such nicknames had sprung up.

There are other theories regarding its French origin as some call “Jacques” to be the French counterpart for the name “John” and thus the birth of the nickname “jack”, but this theory may not be correct as “Jacques” is not the French alternative for “John”. The theory about the Germanic tongue related mispronunciations, hold a much firmer ground in this matter. There may be other theories regarding the origin of the nickname for “Jack”, but it might be beyond documentation because the name itself is ancient in origin.

There are quite a number of popular people who were nicknamed Jack; John F. Kennedy, John Stewart and John Malone are some such examples. Apart from celebrities and politicians, common people named John were and still are referred to as “Jack” all over.