Spotlight on: Joachim

A reader asked me if I would do a spotlight on Joachim, and I’m very happy to do so, because it’s one of my very favorite names in the whole entire world. Yes, it is.

I’ve tried to convince my husband that Joachim is a perfect name for one of our baby boys for years. Years! I just love it — it’s oozing all that Catholic cachet that I love so much and that my other boys have; it’s offbeat and unusual; it’s Mother Mary’s dad for Pete’s sake! And Jesus’ grandfather! It’s also got a pretty pan-European feel, as every European country seems to have a version of it:

joachim - Copy


Currently there’s Joachim Löw, a “retired German footballer and current manager of the German national football team,” and “retired Irish sportsperson” Joachim Kelly, and Joaquin is probably the most recognizable thanks to actor Joaquin Phoenix

Joachim is a GREAT name!

But you know why my husband doesn’t like it? Besides the fact that no one ever seems to know how to say it?*

Joakim Noah.

Ask me if I care that there’s an NBA player with the name Joakim? (Answer: not even the tiniest of tiny bits. MAYBE if I was considering “Dennis Rodman” as a first name-middle name combo, but otherwise — no.)

Because of the name’s unusualness in America, “Every guy who watches basketball will think we named our kid after him,” he says. (A decent argument I guess.) Also, given Noah’s African roots (his grandfather was a formal professional footballer from the Republic of Cameroon), he thinks it will seem strange to those who only know the name through Noah that we of northern European descent decided to use it.

Which drives me bananas, because, first of all, I’m pretty sure the reason Noah got his name is because his mom is Swedish! Northern European! She was, in fact, Miss Sweden 1978! Joakim’s even the Scandinavian spelling — and my husband and children are Scandinavian!

As far as I can tell, the only reason the name is unusual in America is because it’s never been common in England. According to behindthename, through St. Joachim’s “popularity in the Middle Ages, the name came into general use in Christian Europe … [but] it was never common in England.” Withycombe concurs: “Joachim is recorded in England from the 13th C, but has never been in general use.” Do you agree that this is likely why it was never common here? Because it was never common in our “parent country”? Every other country — yes. But not here. I think these are great arguments in favor of us using this name — America needs to have more Joachims!

Still he says no — no no no — but when I remind him of the nickname I came up with for it (not Joe, though this would be an amazing way to get to the nickname Joe without using Joseph, if for some reason you couldn’t use Joseph), his face always softens, his mouth invountarily turns up, and he says, “That is a great nickname.”

Aren’t you dying to know?! For a boy named Joachim, I would totally use the nickname … Jake.

Jake! I love love love Jake! My husband does too! We actually considered Jacob for our firstborn, but have since moved into heavy Catholicky Catholic saint territory and Joachim seems a better fit than Jacob. AND if we had a little boy named Joachim and he hated it — he wouldn’t have to ever tell anyone! He could be Jake always!

This is a perfect name for us. I think I’ll be trying to convince my husband of it til the day I die.

Abby at Appellation Mountain has actually mentioned it a bit, including this delicious tidbit:

Speaking of greatness, the new Danish prince is set to be baptized later today. Dad is Prince Joachim. He has two sons from his first marriage – Nikolai and Felix. The new prince is Joachim’s first with second wife Marie. Royal watchers are betting on Albert for the baby’s name. Tradition dictates that the baby’s name is not revealed ’til the baptism, so we’ll have to wait and see.” (from July 2009) (It seems the baby was named Henrik, and was later joined by sister Athena.)

And she profiled its Spanish form Joaquin (in which she mentioned St. Joachim), and referred to a Swedish hockey player named Joachim (which caused me to jump right over to Google to find out who this was and found that “Swedish hockey player Joachim” yielded Wiki pages for Joachim Nermark, Joachim Rohdin, Joakim Lindström, and Joacim (sic) Eriksson, as well as “NHL players born in Sweden” which included two more, all on the first page of results).

Abby also linked to Roses and Cellar Doors “It’s Big Overseas” post which notes that “there are some name families that aren’t really used in the US at all. Their variants can be found in many other languages, but are practically unheard of in English (sometimes just American English). Weird,” and includes Joachim as one of them.

It causes me pain that this name is not known more here, and used. We know and love St. Anne — whyyy is St. Joachim neglected??

What do you all think of Joachim? Do you like it? Hate it? Find that the ah-MAZing nickname Jake (or the equally friendly and accessible Joe/Joey) makes it seem that much more attractive? Do you know anyone (especially any little ones) with this name? Does he go by the full Joachim or a nickname? What are his siblings named?


*We would use the English pronunciation JO-ah-kim, but there are these other possibilities:

joachim - Copy (2)


(In case you can’t tell, I only recently learned how to do screen grabs, something I’ve wanted to know how to do for ages. I don’t know … are they cool? Are they not? Helpful? Annoying?)


21 thoughts on “Spotlight on: Joachim

  1. I love Spanish language names but my husband does not. He surprised me once when he said he liked Joaquin because it was mainstream enough due to Joaquin Phoenix. So I’m keeping it in mind for a future boy!


  2. This is so funny…I just want to write something because I loooved this post…but I don’t know what to write!
    I guess I’ll start with the fact that this is such a Marian name to me because only through Our Blessed Mother have I ever really known this wonderful name. I picture Jesus’ Grampa Joachim as on the quiet side with him being ever grateful to his loving wife, Anne, for giving him this beautiful, lovely daughter…Mary.
    I feel sure that many of the husbands of you who read the posts of this wonderful blogster feel similarly to the way it seems Joachim might have felt. Can you imagine any Father knowing his sweet little girl would face the greatest sorrows imaginable, while also becoming the Queen of Heaven and Earth!
    Thank you, sanctanomina, for this grace-filled food for thought.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I heart this name too. And my husband’s family is even Hispanic, so Joaquin could arguably make sense (except our last name is so British, it would be an interesting fit). I actually didn’t realize the English pronunciation could be with the hard “J.” I always said “Joachim” with the German “y” pronunciation (part of my family is straight from Germany, so that might be why… no pun intended, ha). Oh, and with a child with a St. Anne patronage already, why not honor Joachim? Right?! (Dh would never go for it). In happier news, I actually do know a baby Joaquin recently born in the US. 🙂

    I also have to let you know you’ve converted me to this nickname thing, and your blog might have solved a dilemma my Dh and I could have for future daughters as a result. Now, I just need to have more… ah, the baby fever is driving me nuts! 🙂


      • Why of course… I need to have a chat with St. Anne! Baby girl is 13 months; we were at the mall today, and she insisted on walking…. no carrier, no stroller. I am sure that St. Anne will agree that “little Anne” has Big Sister written all over her. 🙂


      • Aww! I pray to St. Anne often for all my friends who are hoping for babies, and I’ve recently been including all my blog readers who are hoping for babies as well, so she’s been alerted. 🙂


  4. I love your idea of Joachim nicknamed Jake! Maybe it is because of pronunciation confusion that it’s not used more in the US? I know my husband and I have left certain names “off the table” because we thought people might always confuse the pronunciation (i.e. Emelia and Jacinta). But I think your use of nicknames is so great and makes choosing “different” names more accessible (if that makes sense!).


    • Thanks Lisa!! Oh goodness — Emelia is beautiful, and Jacinta’s on my own list! I certainly understand pronunciation issues — my boys have relatively “normal” names and still they get mispronounced sometimes. Argh!


  5. […] comments here (I’m still a little dazzled!), has just added Joachim to its database! You know it’s one of my very favorite names, and I asked Sara about it a few months ago, and she tweeted me the other day to let me know it had […]


  6. I know this is an older post but I love reading your thoughts and agree that it is sad that Joachim is not used much at all by American Catholics (or by any Americans).
    My oldest boy is Joakim Erich.( erich is my father in law) I am an American living in Salzburg Austria with my Austrian husband, Johannes,and our four children. Joachim is often spelled as Joakim in different parts of Europe. You are right, Joakim Noah was named that by his Swedish mother- it is pretty popular in Sweden.
    Our boy is nicknamed Joki. Which is the nickname in other European countries too. You pronounce it “yo key” . It is the perfect nickname for our Joakim and we did not know it was the “official” nickname in Sweden until we had already used it. It just came naturally to us in the German language. We like the spelling with the K instead of the CH because it is easier for Americans to pronounce and my husband wanted the connection to the Old Testament (you mentioned the connected names in your post) as he is a theologian and a Deacon.
    I love your blog and pray we are blessed with one more baby to name!
    Btw our other children are Named : Ephraim Anthony, Noach Johannes and Naomi Anne
    Warm greetings from the cold and snowy Alps! Anne

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ohh Anne!! What an amazing comment!! Thank you so much for writing!! I LOVE your kiddos’ names, all of them! And I love hearing about real-life Joachim/Joakims — and Joki!! So cute!! Stay warm! 🙂


      • Thank you for responding! I wasn’t sure if you would since this is an old post! I love reading your amazing blog from Austria. A family with four kids is considered a huge family in Austria (and in Europe in general) so your blog helps me feel connected to the amazing American Catholics with their large families. ❤️Keep up the good work! 🇦🇹👍

        Liked by 1 person

      • I love that WordPress alerts me to all comments, whether on new posts or old! I’m so glad it’s helping you connect to the American Catholic families! And what a blessing to have a voice from abroad chime in! 🙂


  7. […] (5) Joaquín Grace definitely has a little Spanish flair to her style, as seen in sweet Felipé’s name and in the dog being named Diego. Joaquín takes its cue from that, being the Spanish form of (my beloved) Joachim, and also the fact that it’s not as unfamiliar as Joachim — Joaquin Phoenix and Kelly Ripa’s son Joaquin are two examples of Joaquins that people might know (especially the former). (If they want to consider Joachim though, you know I’m all over that!!) […]


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