Javier, Xavier

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Basque
Meaning: “the new house.”

The name is derived from a Basque surname Extaberri meaning “the new house” and has been in use as a given name for centuries. It was popularized by St. Francis Xavier (1506-1552), and was also the family name of the Lords of Javier. After the popularity of the saint, the name spread throughout the Spanish speaking world as a popular male given name, its usage was followed in due course by other Catholic countries.

The name has experienced a sudden surge of popularity in the United States, ranking in as the  71st most popular male name for 2008.

In Australia he ranks in at # 56 (2007), and # 90 in Spain for 2005. Its designated name-day is December 3rd.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Chabier (Aragonese)
  • Xabel (Asturian)
  • Xabier/Xabi (Basque)
  • Xavier (Catalan/French/Galician/Portuguese/Valencian: Catalan diminutives are Xavi and Xevi)
  • Saveriu (Corsican)
  • Xaver (German/Czech)
  • Savy (Irish)
  • Saverio/Zaverio (Italian)
  • Xaverius (Latin)
  • Xabiere (Leonese)
  • Xavêio (Piedmontese)
  • Ksawery/Xawery (Polish: latter form is archaic, diminutive form is Ksawerek)
  • Ksaber Ксавьер (Russian)
  • Xavér (Slovakian/Hungarian)
  • Javier (Spanish)

Feminine forms

  • Xavière (French)
  • Saveria/Saverina/Zaveria (Italian)
  • Ksawera/Ksaweryna (Polish: diminutive forms are Ksawerka or Ksawerynka)
  • Xavéria (Slovakian)
  • Javiera/Xaviera (Spanish)

A popular compound name, used among Catholics, is Francis Xavier (English: common in Ireland); Franz Xaver (German: used in the Catholic areas of German speaking countries); Francisco Xavier (Portuguese) Francisco Javier; (Spanish) and Francois-Xavier (French).

In Portugal, Xavier is sometimes used in conjunction with Maria or Francisca as a feminine name, but is never used on females as a stand alone name. Its conjunction with names like Maria or Francisca are usually used in a religious context, in reference to the saint.