Historical story

First Name Baptist:Origin, History, Etymology and Meaning

Long associated with the first name Jean, Baptiste is now making a solitary comeback since the beginning of this century among the most popular first names. Baptist is an adjective that served to qualify the future Saint John, who practiced baptism by immersion on the banks of the Jordan in Palestine. Feast on June 24 (nativity) and August 29 (death).

Origin and etymology of the first name Baptiste

The Latin origin of this first name (baptista ) comes from the Greek baptizein (to administer the Christian sacrament), the latter being a derivative of baptein (To dive in the water). Baptista has therefore been associated with the most famous of the many saints named John.

Head of a secluded Jewish sect in the Judean desert, John the Baptist practiced baptism by immersion, a act of purification from original sin. In Christian tradition, he announced the coming of the Messiah and baptized Jesus on the banks of the Jordan after having recognized him as the “Lamb of God”. He would have died decapitated on the orders of the tetrarch of Galilee Herod Antipas, to whom John reproached his scandalous union with Salome.

Use and popularity of the first name Baptiste

Used as a first name since the Renaissance, its success was limited mainly to the south of France and in rural areas. As a result, there are hardly any famous Baptists in history, unlike Jean-Baptiste (Colbert, Lully, Poquelin -Molière- or Charcot, among others). Baptiste became a fashionable first name from the 1980s.

To go further

- 2000 first names and their history, by Omer Englebert. Albin Michel, 2015.

- The Book of my first name - Baptiste. First, 2017.