Joan

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There are two forenames written Joan . Both are derived, in different ways, from John.

  • The English forename Joan is a female forename. It is pronounced as it looks, to a native speaker of English, as if it ends with the word 'own': 'jone', IPA: /dʒəʊn/. Joan is a woman's equivalent of John, from which it is derived. Its earlier form was Johanna,formed from Latin Johannus + the feminine ending -a; by a not unusual process of elision, this became Joanna, and eventually Joan. Jane and the Scots Jean are both forms of this. Many famous women in the medieval British Isles were called Joan, such as Joan of Kent, the Black Prince's wife, and two Scottish queens: Joan Beaufort (d. 1445), consort of James I and Joan 'of the Tower' (1321-1362), consort of David II. Saint Joan famously was Joan of Arc, or, in French, Jeanne d'Arc, the nationalist warrior peasant. There is a persistent legend, untrue, about a Pope Joan.
    • Other female forms of the name John include Jane, Johanna and Joanna; two that are more characteristically Scots, Janet and Jean; and the French equivalent Jeanne. The Scots Gaelic Sìne is spelled in English as it sounds, Sheena, which should not be confused with Sheila. The Irish spelling is Séadna.
  • The Catalan forename Joan is pronounced with a soft 'j-', like that in 'rouge', and a second vowel more like that in the Spanish Juan (with which it is cognate) than any English '-o-', other than diphthongs like 'soup', and the stress on the '-a-': 'zhoo-AN' (IPA: /ʒʊ ˈan/). The famous Catalan painter Mirò³ is fully 'Joan Mirò³' was a man, which can surprise British students of art who on coming across the name for the first time, assume that it means a woman.