Thoughts on Joachim

Joachim has long been one of my favorite boy names. I've tried to convince my husband of it for several years now, but he always wrinkles his nose. In the past it was because it was so unusual -- we don't know anyone personally with this name -- and we weren't sure of a nickname (Joe is out because of a notorious ex-boyfriend) and we both like figuring out a nn so that *we* can decide what the baby's called by my nn-happy family. More recently he dislikes it because of the NBA player Joakim Noah, who he doesn't care for, and who he says will be the only reference for the name most Americans will have, and everyone will therefore think we named our baby after the basketball player.

I have researched the name extensively and love: that it's the name of a saint; that it's not uncommon in Europe (I tend to like pan-European-type names); and its sound. The latter point comes up sometimes when I ask people about the name -- not everyone knows how to pronounce it, and many see that as a dealbreaker (I say JO-ah-kim, which I've found listed as the standard English pronunciation, and is the only pronunciation I've heard at church). And I came up with a nn that my husband and I both love: Jake. To me, this nn deals with pronunciation issues (since it starts with the same sound as our preferred pronunciation of Joachim), and since we're a nicknamey family, I can imagine Joachim would really only get pulled out at the doctor's office/on the first day of school/on his baptism day and when I might feel like saying his given name. I also love watching my husband's face change when I ask him again about Joachim (nose wrinkle) and then remind him of the nn Jake (his face softens and he always says, "I really like Jake").

I've run it by some family and friends, but mostly get silence. One wondered if it was pronounced ho-kim, which is not a pronunciation I've come across anywhere else. I've googled it to see if there's any bad cultural reference that I'm unaware of, but I haven't found anything.

So I'd love to know what all your thoughts are on the name. Is there something about it I'm missing that makes it objectively unlikable?


February 8, 2014 2:30 PM

I like it, it's certainly not objectively unlikeable. I've only heard it pronounced YO-ah-kim, but that was on a trip to Germany, I'm sure JO-ah-kim is perfectly acceptable in English and what most people would say. Jake is always a nice nickname, although most people would assume it's a nickname for Jacob, but as long as that occaisional assumption doesn't bother you, go for it! One basketball player association goes right over my head personally but then I'm British.

February 10, 2014 9:49 AM

Thank you for your response! I agree with you on all points.  :)

February 8, 2014 6:40 PM

I guess I've only heard this pronounced the Polish way:


When I first saw the name, I pronounced it like you do, but then I've only ever heard it pronounced the Polish way so assumed I had been saying it in my head wrong. 

February 10, 2014 9:57 AM

Interesting! Do you live near a large community of Polish speakers? I actually do love that there's a version of the name in so many different languages (as you probably know, offers these pronunciations: zho-a-KEEM (French), YO-ah-khim (German), yo-AH-khim (German), yaw-AH-kheem (Polish), JO-ə-kim (English)). I also read somewhere along the way that though the name enjoys a certain amount of use across Europe, it never caught on in England -- to me this explains why the English pronunciation doesn't seem to be as well known among those who have a familiarity with the name.

February 10, 2014 12:58 PM

Nope--not that I'm aware of. But I think I've only heard the name in real life maybe 3-4 times ever.

February 9, 2014 10:55 PM

My first association is actually Joaquin Phoenix. Which would make me want to pronounce it "Wa-keem."

February 10, 2014 9:59 AM

Yes, it almost seems like it would be easier for us to use the Spanish version Joaquin because of everyone's familiarity with it via Joaquin Phoenix. With that being such a strong reference, I can see why people would be tempted to transfer the Spanish pronunciation rules to a different spelling/version of the same name.

March 5, 2014 12:26 PM

Yep, that is how I first read the name as well, and I love Joaquin as a name.

You might be correcting people on the pronunciation more frequently than not if y'all decide on Joachim but that's a strong, different name. (Also Jo would be the nickname, naturally) Good luck!

February 11, 2014 7:27 PM

Ah -- found another Joakim (that spelling) -- Joakim Soria, relief pitcher for the Texas Rangers. I wonder how he pronounces it -- he's Mexican, which might assume a Spanish pronunciation (hwah-KEEM), but the spelling is (according to behindthename) the Serbian, Scandinavian, and Macedonian form, which is usually more like YO-ah-kim or JO-ah-kim I think? (The aforementioned basketball player Joakim Noah says JO-ah-kim.) Does anyone know how Joakim Soria pronounces his name?

By rfb
March 6, 2014 5:23 AM

You might find these links useful for possible pronounciations:

I think Joachim nn Jake should work well, and it's a nice name!