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:
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?*
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:
(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?)