masc. proper name, New Testament name of two of Christ's disciples, late 12c. Middle English vernacular form of Late Latin Jacomus (source of Old French James, Spanish Jaime, Italian Giacomo), altered from Latin Jacobus (see Jacob).
The Welsh form was Iago, the Cornish Jago. James the Greater (July 25) was son of Zebedee and brother of St. John; James the Less (May 1) is obscure and scarcely mentioned in Scripture; he is said to have been called that for being shorter or younger than the other. Fictional British spy James Bond dates from 1953, created by British author Ian Fleming (1908-1964), who plausibly is said to have taken the name from that of U.S. ornithologist James Bond (1900-1989), an expert on Caribbean birds.
updated on October 10, 2017