When you shop through links on our site, we may receive compensation. This educational content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.

Alex Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

Learn about the name Alex including the meaning, gender, origin, popularity, and more.

Alex Overview

  • Meaning: “Defender of man.”
  • Gender: Alex can be short for several male or female variations of Alexander, making it a common name for boys and girls.
  • Origin: Alex originated in Mycenae. It is a derivative of Aléxandros, the Mycenaean Greek word for “defend man.”
  • Pronunciation: AL-IKS
  • Popularity: Alexander is currently the 13th most popular in the United States, while Alexandra is 168th.
  • Variations: Alec, Alejandro, Aleks, Aleksei, Aleksandr, Aleksandra, Aleksandrina, Alexia, Andina, Kassandra
  • Namesakes: Alexander the Great, Alex Rodriguez, Alexandra Breckenridge, Alexandra Asimaki, Alexandra Boyko.

What Does Alex Mean?

Alex is a nickname for several popular names, including Alexander and Alexandra. Each variation means the same thing, “defender of man.” Other translations are more varied, stating the name means “defender of the people” or “defending men.”(1).

What Is the Origin of the Name Alex?

The name Alexander and its female counterparts all trace back to Mycenaean Greek. Aléxandros was a Mycenaean Greek derivative of the verb aléxein and the noun anḗr. Combined, these two words mean “defend man.”

How Popular is the Name Alex?

The most popular English versions of Alex are Alexander and Alexandra. Both are ancient names that maintain popularity today.

Alexander has been very popular for as far back as Social Security records go. In 1900, it was the 93rd most common name for boys in the United States. However, it fell out of favor in the early and mid-twentieth century, dropping to 234th place in 1959. Today, it’s the 13th most popular name for boys.

As the female counterpart to Alexander, Alexandra’s popularity fluctuated a lot throughout the last century. For most of the early 20th century, it fell below 1,000th place. Then, it slowly began to pick up before peaking at 26th place in the mid-90s. Currently, it’s still a popular choice, ranking 130th for girls’ names (2).

How Do I Pronounce Alex?

Alex is pronounced AL-IKS

Is Alex a Boy or Girl Name?

Alex is a nickname for various boy and girl names. These names include:

  • Aleksandrina
  • Alexander
  • Alexandra
  • Alexandria
  • Alexa
  • Alexis

Variations of Alex

Because Alex is such an old name, it’s spawned many variations over the millennia. Many of these variations are specific to some regions of the world, but they all share the same meaning.

Boy Variations of Alex

  • Alec (Scottish)
  • Alejandro (Spanish)
  • Aleks (Greek)
  • Aleksei (Greek)
  • Aleksandr (Greek, Russian)
  • Alexandros (Greek)
  • Eskender (Greek, Persian)
  • Iskandar (Greek, Persian)

Girls Variations of Alex

Similar Names to Alex

Alex is a classic name. So, if you want something similar, you should look to names that hold a similar feel.

Boy Names Like Alex

Girl Names Like Alex

Middle Names for Alex

Whether you’ve chosen a male or female name for Alex, you’ll need a middle name to match its strength. Here are a few options for boys and girls.

Boy Middle Names for Alex

Girl Middle Names for Alex

Sibling Names for Alex

When you have more than one child, it’s nice to give them names that complement one another. So here are some options for sibling names for Alex.

Sister Names for Alex

Brother Names for Alex

Famous People Named Alex

For thousands of years, Alexander was a common name among royalty. However, over time, it became more popular among the masses. Here are a few famous people named Alex (3).

Famous Males Named Alex

  • Alexander the Great: The third king of Macedonia.
  • Alexander Hamilton: Founding father and first United StatesSecretary of the Treasury.
  • Alexander of Macedon: The name of five Macedonian rulers.
  • Aleksandr Mikhailovice of Tver: Prince of Tver, 1301-1339.
  • Alexander, Prince of Lippe: Prince of Lippe, 1831-1905.
  • Alex Rodriquez: Famous baseball player.
  • Pope Alexander: The name of eight Popes who served between 97 and 1691 AD.
  • Alexis Denisoff: American actor.
  • Alexis Georgoulis: Greek actor and political figure.
  • Alexis Minotis: Greek actor and director.

Famous Females Named Alex

  • Alexandra Asimaki: Greek water polo player.
  • Alexandra Boyko: Russian tank commander during World War II.
  • Alexandra Breckenridge: American actress.
  • Alexandra of Denmark: Wife of King-Emperor Edward VII.
  • Alexandra Feodorovna: Tsarina of Russia and wife to Tsar Nicholas II.
  • Alexa McDonough: Canadian politician.
  • Alexa Ray Joel: Daughter of American singer Billy Joel.
  • Alexis Bledel: American actress.
  • Alexis Dziena: American actress.

Alex in Popular Culture

Alex is a popular name in fiction for males and females. Its use in the arts traces back to antiquity. Here are a few characters, both modern and ancient, with a variation of Alex (4).

Male Characters Named Alex

  • Alex Browning: A character from Final Destination.
  • Alex DeLarge: A character from A Clockwork Orange.
  • Alex Fierro: A character from the Magnus Chase books by Rick Riordan.
  • Alex P. Keaton: A character from Family Ties.
  • Alex the Lion: Character in Madagascar.
  • Alex Louis Armstrong: A character from Fullmetal Alchemist.
  • Alex Miller: Character in Being Human.
  • Alex Rider: A character from the Alex Rider novels.
  • Alex Standall: A character from 13 Reasons Why.
  • Alexander Conklin: Character in the Bourne franchise.

Female Characters Named Alex

  • Alex Jones: A character from Supernatural.
  • Alex Mack: A titular character from The Secret World of Alex Mack.
  • Alexa Pappadopoulos: A character from Degrassi.
  • Alexa Rivera: A character from The Flash.
  • Alexa Woods: Character in Alien vs. Predator.
  • Alexandra Brooks Dimera: Character in Day of Our Lives.
  • Alexandra Cabot: A character from Law & Order: SVU.
  • Alexandra Finch: A character from To Kill a Mockingbird.
  • Alexandra Vause: A character from Orange Is the New Black.
  • Alexis Colby: A character from Dynasty.
  • Alexis Castle: A character from Castle.

Alex FAQs

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the name “Alex.”

Is Alex a Biblical Name?

Alex isn’t a historically Christian name, although its English variants are popular in the West. However, a man named Alexander appears in the New Testament as a coppersmith who had a run-in with the apostle Paul (5).

Is Alex a Surname?

Despite its Mycenaean roots, Alexander is a Scottish surname. It’s common in the Scottish Highlands and is reportedly an Anglicized derivative of MacAlasdair (6).

Does Alex Have a Place in Mythology?

Some versions of Greek mythology claim Alexandros was an epithet for the Greek goddess Hera. It’s also an alternative name for the Greek hero, Paris, from The Iliad. (7)

Feedback: Was This Article Helpful?
Thank You For Your Feedback!
Thank You For Your Feedback!
What Did You Like?
What Went Wrong?