The name James is a variant of the name Jacob, Hebrew for "one who holds by the heel, outwitter".
James comes from the Low Latin Jacomus, a variant of the Latin Jacobus, which comes from the Hebrew Yakob. It came to English through Old French James, another form of Jacques or Jaques. Related names are the Italian Jacopo, Giacomo and Iago, the Spanish Diego, Jaime and Santiago, the Irish Sťamas/Seamus and the Hawaiian Kimo. Scotland is home both to the English form James and to Hamish, from the vocative (a Sheamais) of the Scots Gaelic Seamas.
Its hypocoristics are Jim and Jamie.
Several people named James are mentioned in the New Testament, including two, possibly three apostles, and one "brother of Jesus".
- St. James the Great or St. James of Compostela, brother of John the Apostle;
- St. James the Less;
- James the Just, brother of Jesus and believed to have written one of the books of the New Testament, the Epistle of James.
James was the name of seven Kings of Scotland, two of whom were Kings of England as well.
- James I
- James II
- James III
- James IV
- James V
- James VI of Scotland and I of England
- James VII of Scotland and II of England
- James VII and II's son, James Francis Edward Stuart, the "Old Pretender," was called by the Jacobites James VIII of Scotland and III of England.
James was also the name of two Kings of Aragon.
James is the name of a band from Manchester, England, formed in 1982 and, according to reports, dissolved sometime in 2001, probably best known for their hit single, "Laid".