Alexander, Alexandra


Origin: Greek
Meaning: “defender of man.”

The name is composed of the Greek elements, ἀλέξω (alexos), meaning “to defend; to help” and the genitive Greek noun, ἀνδρός (andros) “belonging to man.” Hence, the name would roughly translate as “defender of man” or “helper of man.”

The name is extremely ancient, and possibly, even pre-Hellenistic, the oldest record of the name dates back to the Mycenean period, where the feminine form of Alexandra, is found written in Linear B.

In Greek mythology, Alexander was another name used for the hero, Paris and Alexandra was used as an epithet for the goddess, Hera.

The name is also found several times in the Bible and the most famous bearer in history has to possibly be attributed to Alexander the Great, a 4th-century Greek emperor who expanded his empire as far away as Asia, spreading his fame and his name.

Later the name was borne by several saints and kings throughout Europe, including Tsar Alexander I of Russia.

Currently, Alexander is the 6th most popular male name for boys in the United States, (2008), the lowest that Alexander ever ranked in U.S. naming history was in 1959, coming in at # 233.

In other countries, his rankings are as follows:

  • # 19 (Australia, 2008)
  • # 8 (Austria, 2008)
  • # 37 (Belgium, 2006)
  • # 3 (Bulgaria, 2008)
  • # 14 (Canada, B.C., 2008)
  • # 44 (Chile, 2006)
  • # 19 (England/Wales, 2008)
  • # 1 (Estonia, 2007)
  • # 9 (Finland, among Finnish-speakers)
  • # 99 (Hungary, 2008)
  • # 5 (Iceland, 2004-2007)
  • # 5 (Isle of Man, 2008)
  • # 2  Alessandro (Italy, 2007)
  • # 4 Alecsander/Alessandro (Liechtenstein, 2008)
  • # 1 Aleksander (Macedonia, 2006)
  • # 5  Alejandro (Mexico, 2008)
  • # 97 (the Netherlands, 2008)
  • # 10 (Norway, 2008)
  • # 14 Aleksander (Poland, Warsaw, 2009)
  • # 2 Alexandru (Romania, 2008)
  • # 1  (Russia, Moscow, 2007)
  • # 11 (Scotland, 2008)
  • # 2 Alejandro (Spain, 2008)
  • # 2 Àlex (Spain, Catalonia, 2008)
  • # 6 (Sweden, 2008)
  • # 1 Alessandro (Switzerland, among Italian-speakers, 2008)

Other forms of Alexander include:

  • Aleksandër/Sandër/Skënder (Albanian: Aleko, Aleks, Leka, Lekë, Leksi and Leks are diminutive forms)
  • Eskender (Amharic/Ethiopian)
  • Iskander الاسكندر / اسكندر (Arabic)
  • Alixandre (Aragonese)
  • Aleksandr/Alexandr Ալեքսանդր (Armenian)
  • Aleksan/Alexan Ալեքսան (Armenian)
  • Aleq/Alik Ալեք/ Ալիկ (Armenian: originally diminutive forms, now used as independent given names)
  • Alexandru (Asturian/Romanian)
  • İsgəndər (Azeri)
  • Alakshendra/Alekzandar (Bangali)
  • Iskandar/Skandar (Bangali)
  • Iskәndәr Искәндәр (Bashkir)
  • Alesander (Basque)
  • Aliaksandr Аляксандp (Belarusian: Aleś Алeсь is usually the diminutive form)
  • Alaksander Аляксандаp (Belarusian: Tarashkevitsa spelling)
  • Aleksandar (Bosnian/Croatian: Saša is the diminutive form)
  • Aleksandar Александър (Bulgarian: Sasho Сашо and Aleks Aлекс are the diminutives)
  • Alexandre/Àlex/Xandre (Catalan/Galician)
  • Lisandru (Corsican/Lombard)
  • Alexandr (Czech)
  • Alexander (Czech/Dutch/English/Estonian/German/Icelandic/Norwegian/Swedish)
  • Alexander/Aleksander (Danish)
  • Xander (English)
  • Sander (Dutch/Estonian/Norwegian: contracted form)
  • Aleksander (Estonian)
  • Alejandru (Extrumaduran: a dialect of Spanish)
  • Aleksandur (Faroese)
  • Aleksanteri (Finnish)
  • Santeri/Santtu (Finnish: contracted forms)
  • Alexandre (French)
  • Aleksander (Frisian)
  • Alexandré/Aleksandre ალექსანდრე (Georgian)
  • Aleko ალეკო/Lexo ლექსო (Georgian: contracted forms)
  • Aléxandros Αλέξανδρος (Greek: Modern)
  • Alakshendra अलक्षेन्द्र (Hindi)
  • Sándor (Hungarian)
  • Iskandar (Indonesian/Malay)
  • Alasandar/Alastar/Alsander (Irish-Gaelic)
  • Alessandro (Italian: Ale is a diminutive form)
  • Alessandrino (Italian: obscure)
  • Sandro (Italian: a diminutive form now used exclusively as an independent given name)
  • Sandrino (Italian: originally a diminutive form, used as an independent given name, obscure)
  • Askander/Eskander/Îskenderê (Kurdish)
  • İskender Искендер (Kyrgyz)
  • Aleksandrs (Latvian)
  • Alexandrus (Latin)
  • Aleksandras (Lithuanian)
  • Lisandor (Lombard)
  • Aleksandar Александар (Macedonian: Alek Алек, Atse Аце, Atso Ацо and Sasho Сашо are diminutive forms)
  • Chandy ചാണ്ടി (Malayalam)
  • Lixandru (Maltese)
  • Alxandre (Mirandese: a dialect of Portuguese)
  • Aleksandr/Alexandr Алєѯандръ (Old Church Slavonic)
  • Sikandar سکندر (Persian)
  • Aleksander (Polish: more common form, diminutives include, Alek, Aleks and Olek.)
  • Oleksander (Polish: archaic form)
  • Alexandre (Portuguese)
  • Alexandro (Portuguese: obscure)
  • Alesch (Romansch)
  • Alexi (Romansch)
  • Aleksandr Александр (Russian: diminutive forms include: Alik Алик, Sasha Саша, Sashka Сашка, Sashok Сашок, Sashkin Сашкин, Shura Шура, Shurik Шурик and Sanyok Санёк )
  • Alasdair/Alastair/Alistair/Alisdair/Aldair (Scotch-Gaelic)
  • Aleksandar Александар (Serbian: Aca Аца, Aleks Алекс, Sale Сале, and Saša Саша are diminutives)
  • Alessandru (Sardinian)
  • Alissandru (Sicilian)
  • Lisciànniru/Lisciànnuru/Lisciànnaru (Sicilian)
  • Aleksander (Slovene: Aleks, Sandi and Sašo are the diminutives)
  • Alejandro (Spanish: Alejo, Alex, Jano and Jandro are the diminutive forms)
  • Aleksandar (Tamil)
  • İskender (Turkish)
  • Olexandr/Oleksandr Олександр (Ukrainian: Oles Олесь and Sashko Сашко are the diminutives)
  • Iskandar (Uzbek)
  • Alecsander (Welsh)
  • Sender/Senderl סענדער (Yiddish)

As for its feminine form, it has also been borne by several monarchs and saints throughout history. Currently, she is the 61st most popular female name in the United States, the highest she ranked was at # 26 in 1995-1996, the lowest she ever ranked was in 1936 coming in as the 991st most popular female name. Her rankings in other countries is as follows:

  • # 74 (Australia, 2007)
  • # 5 (Bulgaria, 2008)
  • # 53 (Canada, B.C., 2008)
  • # 45 (Chile, 2006)
  • # 90 (England/Wales, 2008)
  • # 21 (Hungary, 2008)
  • # 67 (Ireland, 2007)
  • # 7 (Macedonia, 2006)
  • # 397 (the Netherlands, 2008)
  • # 99 (Norway, 2007)
  • # 8 Aleksandra (Poland, 2oo8)
  • # 4 (Romania, 2008)
  • # 77 (Sweden, 2007)

Alexandra has also spun off Sandra, which is currently the 7th most popular female name in Estonia, and ranks in as the # 441st most popular female name in the United States.

In the United States, the highest she peaked was in 1947, coming in as the 5th most popular female name. Sandy is the preferred pet form.

In other countries, her rankings are as follows:

  • # 58 (Norway, 2008)
  • # 30 (Spain, 2006)

Its more elaborated version of Alexandria, currently ranks in as the 189th most popular female name in the United States (2008).

Other forms of Alexandra include:

  • Aleksandra Александра (Bulgarian/Croatian/Estonian/Polish/Russian/Serbian/Slovene)
  • Aleksandrina Александрина (Bulgarian/Russian)
  • Alexandra (Catalan/Czech/Dutch/English/French/German/Greek/Hungarian/Portuguese/Romanian/Scandinavian/Slovak)
  • Alexandrine (Danish/French/German)
  • Sandra (Dutch/English/Finnish/German/Italian/Latvian/Lithuanian/Portuguese/Scandinavian/Slovene)
  • Xandra (Dutch)
  • Alexandria (English/German)
  • Alexandrina (English: the first name of Queen Victoria)
  • Sandrine (French)
  • Szandra (Hungarian)
  • Alessandra (Italian)
  • Alessandrina (Italian)
  • Sandrina (Italian/Spanish)
  • Lisandra (Maltese)
  • Alexandreina (Romanian)
  • Sanda (Romanian/Croatian)
  • Alastríona/Alastrina (Scotch-Gaelic)
  • Alissandra (Sicilian)
  • Alejandra (Spanish)
  • Oleksandra Олександра (Romanian)

Common English diminutive forms for both genders are Alex, Lex, and Sandy. For males, Ander, Andy and Xander, for females, Alexa, Lexa, Lexie, Sandra and Xandra.

The designated name-days for Alexander are: February 27 (Slovakia), November 19 (Russia) and December 12 (Sweden).

The designated name-days for Alexandra are: April 21st (Czech Republic), May 6/31 (Russia), May 18 (Hungary), June 23 (Russia), August 30 (Greece), Janury 2nd (Slovakia) and February 17 (Sweden)

A Hungarian male diminutive is Sanyi.

Polish diminutives are: Ola, Olka and Olusia.

In Russian, common unisexual diminutives, are Sasha and Shura. Popular feminine diminutives are: Lesya Леся,

A Romanian male diminutive form is Sandu.

An obscure Scottish male diminutive is Sawney.

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