masc. proper name, Welsh form of John, perhaps influenced in form by Welsh ieuanc "young man" (cognate of Latin juvenis), from Celtic *yowanko-, from PIE *yeu- "vital force, youthful vigor" (see young (adj.)).
masc. proper name, Middle English Jon, Jan (mid-12c.), from Old French Jan, Jean, Jehan (Modern French Jean), from Medieval Latin Johannes, an alteration of Late Latin Joannes, from Greek Ioannes, from Hebrew Yohanan (longer form y'hohanan), said to mean literally "Jehovah has favored" or "Jah is gracious," from hanan "he was gracious."
Greek conformed the Hebrew ending to its own customs. The -h- in English was inserted in imitation of the Medieval Latin form. Old English had the Biblical name as Iohannes. As the name of John the Baptist and John the Evangelist, it was one of the most frequent Christian given names, and in England by early 14c. it rivaled William in popularity and was used generically (in Middle English especially of priests) and as an appellative (as in John Barleycorn, John Bull, John Q. Public). Somehow it also became the characteristic name of a Chinaman (1818).
The Latin name also is the source of French Jean, Spanish Juan, Italian Giovanni, Portuguese João, also Dutch Jan, Hans, German Johann, Russian Ivan. Welsh form was Ieuan, Efan (see Evan), but Ioan was adopted for the Welsh Authorized Version of the Bible, hence frequency of Jones as a Welsh surname.
Old English geong "youthful, young; recent, new, fresh," from Proto-Germanic *junga- (source also of Old Saxon and Old Frisian jung, Old Norse ungr, Middle Dutch jonc, Dutch jong, Old High German and German jung, Gothic juggs), from PIE *yuwn-ko-, suffixed form of root *yeu- "vital force, youthful vigor" (source also of Sanskrit yuvan- "young; young man;" Avestan yuuanem, yunam "youth," yoista- "youngest;" Latin juvenis "young," iunior "younger, more young;" Lithuanian jaunas, Old Church Slavonic junu, Russian junyj "young," Old Irish oac, Welsh ieuanc "young").
From c. 1830-1850, Young France, Young Italy, etc., were loosely applied to "republican agitators" in various monarchies; also, especially in Young England, Young America, used generally for "typical young person of the nation." For Young Turk, see Turk.