Recently, one of my penfriends asked me whether I have ever written a post about my Jackophilia – that is, why I like the name Jacek, and Jack, and many other Jac- names, and why I have such a soft spot for people with those names – and if there’s any backstory to it. And it’s only then that I realised I’ve never written a post about that. The reason is quite simple, because there is no backstory, nothing that I could clearly point out or no particular event that has started it out. But I thought I’d write a bit more about my Jackophilia anyway.
My Dad’s name is Jacek, and since as long as I can remember, I’ve just loved this name, and, moreover, I thought that if I’d ever want to have a husband, he’ll just have to be a Jacek. I didn’t have any other criteria. I still remember very vividly when I told my grandma about that, I was maybe 5 or so, and she was shocked: “Oh, but if he’d be an alcoholic?! Would you still want him because his name is Jacek?!”. It wasn’t that I was in such awe of my Dad, I mean of course, he’s my Dad, I love him, but I don’t remember ever being quite as enamoured with himself as with his name, so to put it. 😀 All my toys that I felt were more masculine – teddy-bears, figurines, characters in my games – were named Jacek. Even if it meant that there was a whole family with a Dad named Jacek and his two or more sons, also all named Jacek. It’s probably good that there is no actual feminine form of Jacek in Polish (OK there is Hiacynta, but that sounds and looks different doesn’t it, and we’ll talk about that in a minute) or otherwise there wouldn’t be any diversity at all, and so at least females had their own unique names. I also felt immediately drawn to people named Jacek. Of course, I’ve met some Jaceks that I didn’t really get along with, and I am aware that there are some pretty nasty ones out there, all sorts of liars, thiefs, greedy, weak-willed, snobbish and two-faced people who don’t like to think more than necessary, but most of them are really cool, honest and reliable people. Also, I love book characters called Jacek. If ever in a book a character named Jacek was treated badly by someone, even just spoken negatively about, whatever, my heart broke into pieces. It still does, to an extent, even when that Jacek or Jack is a real villain. I remember when I was perhaps Zofijka’s age and read some young adult Polish novel, and there was a girl who was dating a Jacek, and at some point she just realised he’s not for her and she doesn’t really feel anything for him other than friendship. I knew her decision was right, it was clear in the book they don’t fit, yet I was almost crying reading how – in my view- she rejected him and he was so so sad. It was the name Jacek that also opened my eyes for the first time for this weird phenomenon which is the influence of names on personality, which I’m still passionate about and still figuring out. And as a kid I ust loved loads of words with jac in them. I still love the English ones: hijacking for example, it sounds like “Hi, Jack!”. Saint Jacek (or Hyacinth) has been my most favourite patron saint ever since. One of my first speech synthesisers was Jacek, and I still have him, it’s been over 10 years!!! And now it’s possible I’ll have to lose him. Oh well we’ll see… I love hyacinths – the flowers – but my favourite flower has always been muscari – and I’ve just recently learnt that they’re called blue grape hyacinths in English as well! – I’ve also heard that there is a gem stone called hyacinth, and if so, I really hope that some day I’ll be able to have one in my collection. My best friend was also Jacek.
Just as I started to take an interest in the etymology of the name Jacek, I was also curious if it exists in any other languages, and I asked people if they know how Jacek is in English. Most of them would confusedly say “Dunno, guess Jack…”. Jack didn’t sound even a bit quite as good as Jacek to me. But Polish people so often do such a weird thing that I can’t fully understand. When there is an a in an English word, they’ll make things more difficult for themselves and say it as e. So lots of people actually say Jeck, or bleck instead of black, or ket instead of cat. And Jeck sounded awful. But at some point there was a Jack in my ENglish textbook and then I learned that it’s JACK, and is written almost like Jacek, and I was over the moon! A lot of Polish Jaceks go sometimes by Jack, even just for fun, but those two names are not related at all. I’ve always wanted one of my musical crushes to be a Jack. Maybe someday it’ll come true. Lemme know if there are any musicians named Jack or something similar that you like, especially not too popular ones that I could like. 😀
Jacek (YAH-tsek) originated as a nickname of Jacenty (yah-TSEN-ti), but is now a short form, and a more common one actually, Jacenty is hardly ever used, it’s more common in the east of Poland in people born in 40’s or so, but it is NOT popular at all. I like the retro feel of Jacenty and I think it could come back, I mean I would like it to, not that I think it will anytime soon, with Jacek as a diminutive. Jacenty comes from the Greek Hyakinthos – Hyacinth – as in the Greek myth and as in the flower. – THere is also a more fancy, latinate form Hiacynt (HYAH-tsint), and the feminine Hiacynta (hyah-TSIN-tah). I’m not as fond of Hiacynta as I am of the male forms, and Hiacynt sounds a tiny bit too androgynous for my taste and lack masculinity a bit, but for a girl I really like Jacinda, and I love Hyacinth both for a boy and for a girl, even though normally I’m not a big fan of unisex names. There is also a theory that Jacek could be a Slavic name coming from an Old Slavic word that would be something like jać – which means to ride, and thus could mean good rider or something, how cool! – But that doesn’t really sound convincing and believable. There is also something like Jack (YAHTSK) in Kashubian language, it is apparently a Kashubian variant of Jacek, and another one is Jacy (YAH-tsi).
Jack, meanwhile, as I hope you Anglophones know without me telling you that 😉 is a nickname of John, which evolved via an earlier diminutive Jankin, which then became Jackin. So not quite an equivalent of Jacek etymologically but who cares. For me it is like Jacek very much, the feel of the name is very similar despite it sounds differently and has vastly different roots.
I love that there are so many expressions, fairytales, nursery rhymes and all with Jack in it, it adds to the feel of the name, that it gives to the personality of a bearer in my opinion.
I don’t like every single name that has Jac in it, for example I am not a big fan of Jacob, or Jace, but I do love all the forms of Jack. All the Jackins, Jackies, Jacs, even Jocks and Jockies! They’re all so brilliant and so vibrant and each has their own feel that I love. I think the Welsh Jac is my most favourite because of how minimalistic it is but how much inner potential it has. As I said I also love Hyacinth and all its forms, perhaps Hiacynta a little less than the rest. I love Jacqueline and the abundance of her forms too, despite it actually seems to come from Jacques, which comes from the Jacob/James family.
I thought I’d give you just a little bit of an idea how I see those two names – Jack and Jacek – people with them, how I think their names might shape their personalities. Of course, as always, keep in mind that it’s not the name that shapes our personality in the first place, that there are genes and so many other things that determine who we are, and that name is just one factor. There are also people who do NOT fit their name’s description, simply because their name doesn’t fit them and wasn’t chosen with enough consideration, and they may experience some sort of a disharmony and conflict in their life and feelings, particularly between what they are like, and what their surroundings expect them to be like. Lastly, people spell their names differently, people have middle names, people use nicknames and often a Jack might in fact be a John, or a Jackson, and his personality will likely reflect it. These are just small, very generalised characteristics of Jack and Jacek, they’re not exhaustive. If you are sceptical about any influence a name could possibly have on a person, feel free to just treat the paragraphs below as my imaginings, that I hope to be as objective as possible.
Jack: – Jack is practical, frank and honest, and he expects the same honesty in return. He takes things as they are, doesn’t overthink them or analyse overly. He is intelligent and certainly not shallow, but he doesn’t like wasting his time on things that don’t necessarily need that, and feels uncomfortable around people who are exalted, he has certain difficulty expressing strong positive emotions, it’s embarrassing for him. He much prefers being active, and doing something to show his love and dedication, rather than use big words to show it. He is humourous, friendly, and a pleasant companion, who will get along with pretty much anyone, he is also an ambivert. It’s only with his loved ones that know him really well that he takes off the protective mask of self-confidence that he wears mostly unconsciously. Only those who know him really well can see his weaknesses, insecurities, some darker and deeper shades to his personality that he sometimes doesn’t accept. On a daily basis, it is a mostly happy-go-lucky guy, but with those he feels comfortable with, he can often be changeable and moody. Usually naive in his young years, if life lets him down, he can easily become cynical and imbittered, he may feel let down because he looks at others from his own perspective, expecting frankness and directness, and as a result, his trust is often abused, unless he won’t change his ways of interacting with people. Jack himself is very reliable, trustworthy, makes people feel safe around him. Or in any case, he has an ease of making such an impression on people, which could potentially make him a great manipulator, but Jacks are usually empathetic people who have their moral values. He has predispositions to be good at arts, but he needs to develop his taste, he’s not born with a mind very perceptive to art but he definitely can shape it, as well as his own, unique and captivating style if he decides to do art seriously. He is flexible and open-minded and learns quickly. Jack is incredibly resilient, responsible, usually quite fit, able to pursue his dreams and put considerable effort into it, mostly calm, but can be very passionate at times. He is adventurous and likes to explore, but also has a huge, often unconscious need for roots, security and stability, home, belonging, and has a strong sense of connection to his family and heritage. He is a traditionalist but at the same time he’s usually very liberal in his views. He’s down-to-earth, but likes being creative and make things with his hands, be out in nature which inspires paths of his thoughts and imagination in a subtle way, he also loves to engage in sports. He is incredibly sensitive but doesn’t like to show it for fear of being vulnerable. He appreciates simplicity – in his surroundings, people’s claims and characters, in thinking and speech – and enjoys the simplest things in life the most. Jack usually comes across as very charming, even though he’s rarely truly and objectively physically attractive.
Jacek – Jacek is very similar to Jack, especially in his honesty and trustworthiness. He’s also a practical thinker and comes across as very charming, as well as friendly, though not as much and as immediately as Jack. Jacek is more complicated, more sensitive, more introverted, more imaginative, has a tendency for being irritable, he is less resilient than Jack, may be needy and slightly immature which makes relationships with him more intricate. He is more egocentric and selfish, but not badly egoistical or anything like that, he just has a hard time looking too far out of his own mind frame. He has a tendency for pensivity and is more of a dreamer than Jack, he is also a bit less outgoing, but not significantly. He’s just a decent, nice, conscientious guy, assuming he was brought up well and his upbringing helped those traits to come up properly. He might have his quirks, be eccentric or lead a bohemian lifestyle, he may also often feel misunderstood, or he may just be a bit of an outsider, but if he has to, he will fit in without a clash and he’ll adjust to any company he’s in.
Jacky is very friendly and outgoing as well, and very charming and lovable, often thought of as attractive, but less honest and might easily get himself into lots of trouble, he usually doesn’t find himself the best kind of friends, he wants to be always there where a lot is going on and has a lot of zest but at the same time a really careless attitude to things. But he can be a very emotional being and anxious to please, as well as impressionable. He is egotistic and always wants to be the best, he tries to avoid conflict and live well with everyone that is important for him, and he is very attached to his mother, he also appreciates comfort and luxury in life and might be a little bit snobbish.
Jackson loves adventure and travel, and is a great dreamer, brave, courageous and determined. He is confident, communicative and charming, and wants to appear very masculine. Can be manipulative, but in any case is very eloquent and makes for a good leader.
Jac is very much like a Jack, but some traits of his character can be more pronounced and intense. For example the resilience and intellect.
Jacenty – well, I can only see him as a man older than 50 so I may not be very objective here. He is strong, masculine, self-assured, can be wealthy and materialistic and people usually respect him very much. An introvert who is very proud and may be a little haughty and icy, and not the most tolerant. He’s reserved and usually very serious, cool and calm, it may or may not mean that deep down he’s actually rather shy and doubting in his abilities.
Hyacinth – a girl with this name is fanciful, not very disciplined and rather dreamy, often artsy. She is a bookworm and a big thinker, often completely lost in thought, shy and perfectionist, anxious and sensitive, and a good observer. She may be very skilled in dance or music. A guy named Hyacinth is also an intellectual and cerebral type, may be either very poetic, or more into things like science, he is also very spiritual and has a tendency to isolate. He is capable of doing great things in his life and he doesn’t like any restrictions, he loves being out in nature and do all sorts of sports, loves being by the sea. He’s quirky and not the most communicative in the world, often may seem very scatter-brained because he has always plenty to think about and his way of thinking and perceiving the world is different than most other, more typical people.
Jacqueline is a complex character because her personality is a combination of great strength and extreme fragility. She usually makes an impression of a very gentle and delicate, I’d say dainty woman, and tends to be quiet and not talk a lot, but she has a steely will. She is very sensitive and emotional, sometimes to the point of neurotic, capable of loving people greatly, she has a tendency to overthink everything in her life. She is sharp-witted, sophisticated and gifted artistically and literally, and has a natural air of elegance about her.
Jackie though is vastly different. She loves being active, sporty, she has a lot of energy and she likes to communicate, cooperate and get together with others, she usually has quite a bunch of friends. She might struggle with anxiety and feelings of inferiority though, because she’s very much of a perfectionist and self-conscious about her appearance, especially as a teenager, but later on as well. Talking about her problems with the others is the best cure for her, so it’s good if she has someone she really trusts, she isn’t made for solitary life.
Jacinda is full of charm and sweetness, optimistic and very feminine, youthful even in her older age. A very emotional, spontaneous and sensitive person with a big, kind heart, very trusting and rather naive. She likes to give as much of herself as possible and doesn’t expect much in return, she is capable of loving unconditionally and very altruistically. Her weakness is vanity, and lack of imagination.
Jackin has a very good self-esteem and people usually like him, because he’s nice-looking. He usually doesn’t look like a very serious person, but he is a very ambitious man, often a great materialist wanting to achieve a lot in life. He has a bit of an authoritarian personality and may easily be impatient and a bit harsh-mannered. I hope you enjoyed those name descriptions.
Do you like the name Jack, or Jacek, or any of the related names? Do you know any Jacks? Do you like them? Any Jac people out there? 🙂