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Meaning & History

Latinized form of the Greek name Αλεξανδρος (Alexandros), which meant "defending men" from Greek αλεξω (alexo) "to defend, help" and ανηρ (aner) "man" (genitive ανδρος). In Greek mythology this was another name of the hero Paris, and it also belongs to several characters in the New Testament. However, the most famous bearer was Alexander the Great, king of Macedon. In the 4th century BC he built a huge empire out of Greece, Egypt, Persia, and parts of India. Due to his fame, and later medieval tales involving him, use of his name spread throughout Europe.

The name has been used by kings of Scotland, Poland and Yugoslavia, emperors of Russia, and eight popes. Other notable bearers include English poet Alexander Pope (1688-1744), American statesman Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804), Scottish-Canadian explorer Sir Alexander MacKenzie (1764-1820), Russian poet Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837), and Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922), the Scottish-Canadian-American inventor of the telephone.
VariantsAleksander Norwegian Aleksander Danish Alexandros Ancient Greek Alexandros Greek Mythology
DiminutivesAl, Alec, Alex, Lex, Sandy, Xander, Zander English Alex German Alex, Lex, Sander, Xander Dutch Alex Swedish Alex, Sander Norwegian Alex, Sander Danish Alex Icelandic Alex, Sándor, Sanyi Hungarian Aleš Slovak
Feminine FormsAlexandra, Alexandrea, Alexandria, Alexina English Alexandra German Alexandra Dutch Alexandra Swedish Alexandra Norwegian Alexandra Danish Alexandra Icelandic Alexandra Hungarian Alexandra Slovak Alexandra Ancient Greek Alexandra Greek Mythology
Other Languages & CulturesAleksandër, Skënder Albanian Eskender Amharic Iskandar Arabic Aleksandr Armenian Alesander Basque Aliaksandr Belarusian Alexandros Biblical Greek Aleksandar, Skender Bosnian Aleksandar, Sasho Bulgarian Alexandre, Àlex Catalan Aleksandar, Sandi, Saša Croatian Alexandr, Aleš Czech Aleksandro, Aleĉjo Esperanto Aleksander Estonian Aleksanteri, Ale, Samppa, Santeri, Santtu Finnish Alexandre, Alex, Sacha, Sasha French Alexandre Galician Aleksandre, Sandro Georgian Alexandros, Alekos, Alex Greek Iskandar Indonesian Alastar Irish Alessandro, Ale, Alex, Sandro Italian Aleksandrs Latvian Aleksandras Lithuanian Aleksandar, Aca, Ace, Aco, Sasho Macedonian Iskandar Malay Sikandar Pashto Eskandar Persian Aleksander, Aleks, Olek Polish Alexandre, Alex, Xande, Xandinho Portuguese Alexandru, Alex, Sandu Romanian Aleksandr, Aleks, Alex, Sanya, Sasha, Shura Russian Alasdair, Alastair, Alistair, Alister, Ally, Sawney Scottish Aleksandar, Aca, Aco, Saša Serbian Aleksander, Aleks, Aleš, Sandi, Saša, Sašo Slovene Alejandro, Ale Spanish İskender Turkish Aleksandr, Oleksander, Oleksandr, Aleks, Oles, Sasha Ukrainian Sikandar Urdu Sender Yiddish

Images

Detail of a mosaic depicting the Battle of Issus, from PompeiiDetail of a mosaic depicting the Battle of Issus, from Pompeii

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Entry updated May 31, 2018   Contribute