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Axel Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

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

Axel Overview

  • Meaning: It means “father of peace” or “my father is peace.”
  • Gender:Axel is typically a masculine name.
  • Origin: The name Axel is of Scandinavian origin and is derived from the Hebrew name Absalon.
  • Pronunciation: It is commonly pronounced as “AK-suhl.”
  • Popularity: Axel has historically been one of the most popular names in Scandinavian countries. In the United States, it ranked 76th for newborn boys in 2021.
  • Nicknames: Ak, Aks, Ax, El, Elle, Ellie, Xel, Zel.
  • Variations: Aksel, Aksell, Akseli, Apsel, Askel, Askil, Axcell, Axelen, Axell, Axelle.
  • Namesakes: Axel Tuanzebe (English soccer player), Axl Rose (American singer from Guns N’ Roses).

What Does Axel Mean?

Axel means “father of peace” or “my father is peace.” It derived from various Scandinavian names translated from the Hebrew Absalom of the same meaning. However, it also likely had roots in an Old Norse name made up of the words “ans” ( “God”) and “ketill” (“helmet” or “cauldron”).

What Is the Origin of the Name Axel?

Axel is a Scandinavian name derived from the Hebrew boy names Absalom and Absalon. The earliest recorded use of the name is the 12th Century Danish Archbishop Absalon, known as Axel of Lund (1). The Scandinavian versions may have been influenced by the Old Norse name Ásketill.

In some European countries, the variant Aksel is more common. Axel is the most typical spelling in English (2).

How Popular is the Name Axel?

The name Axel has been in use since the Middle Ages. It is most common in Scandinavian countries and dates back to Old Norse culture.

While it has been a standard in countries like Denmark and Iceland, it only broke into the top 500 names in the United States at the turn of the 21st Century. Since then, Axel has been surging up the charts. It entered the top 100 in 2018 and ranked number 76 for newborn boys in 2021 (3).

How Do I Pronounce Axel?

While pronunciations can vary by language and region, the most typical way to say the name is “AK-suhl.”

Is Axel a Boy or Girl Name?

Axel is primarily a boy’s name, but it has some variants used for girls. What’s more, Axel itself has the potential to be unisex.

Variations of Axel

Axel has traditionally been most common in Scandinavian countries. Most variations of the name have emerged from that region:

  • Aksel (Scandinavian)
  • Aksell (Scandinavian)
  • Akseli (Scandinavian)
  • Apsel (German and Scandinavian)
  • Askel (Scandinavian)
  • Askil (Scandinavian)
  • Axcell (Scandinavian)
  • Axelen (Scandinavian)
  • Axell (Scandinavian)
  • Axelle (Scandinavian)

Nicknames for Axel

Although Axel is somewhat short, it has still acquired numerous nicknames, such as:

  • Ak
  • Aks
  • Ax
  • El
  • Elle
  • Ellie
  • Xel
  • Zel

Similar Names to Axel

If you’re on the fence about Axel, consider these names that sound similar:

Middle Names for Axel

While Axel is a relatively uncommon name in the English language, you can pair it with many potential options. Among the best options are:

Sibling Names for Axel

Axel offers a lot of versatility for potential sibling names. You can draw inspiration from other Scandinavian names, the meaning of the name, or go with something that sounds great alongside it. Consider the following possible choices:

For a brother:

For a sister:

Famous People Named Axel

The name Axel is predominantly found in Scandinavian countries. Given that, most of the prominent namesakes are from that region. You might be familiar with the following:

  • Axel Geller: Argentine tennis player.
  • Axel Rudi Pell: guitarist of German metal band Axel Rudi Pell.
  • Axel Rulay: American musician
  • Axel Smith: Swedish chess grandmaster and author.
  • Axel Tuanzebe: English soccer player.
  • Axel Ullrich: German cancer researcher and biologist.
  • Axl Rose: American lead singer of the rock band Guns N’ Roses.

Axel in Popular Culture

The name Axel is commonly found in popular culture. These include television shows, classic literature, video games, and movies. Some of the most prominent namesakes to make an appearance in pop culture are:

  • Axel: Character in Sega’s “Crazy Taxi” video game series.
  • Axel: Character in the 1894 novel “A Journey to the Center of the Earth” by Jules Verne.
  • Axel: Character in Square Enix and Disney’s “Kingdom Hearts” franchise.
  • Axel: Character in the 2019 American action TV series “The Umbrella Academy.”
  • Axel Brodie: Character in the English dub of the 2004 Japanese animeYu-Gi-Oh! GX.”
  • Axel Foley: Character in the 1984 American comedy film “Beverly Hills Cop.”
  • Axel Miller: Character in the 2016 American drama series “Van Helsing.”
  • Axel Nishigori: Character in the 2016 Japanese sports anime “Yuri!!! On Ice.”
  • Axel Walker: Character in the 2014 American superhero series “The Flash,” also known as Trickster.

Axel FAQs

Here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the name Axel.

Is Axel a Name in the Bible?

The name Axel is not in the Bible, but it is derived from a Biblical boy’s name, Absalom. In the Hebrew Bible, Absalom was the favorite son of King David, who was exiled for murdering his half-brother and killed in an attempted rebellion against his father (4).

Is Axel a Viking Name?

Though no famous Viking figures are recorded using this name, it has its origins in Old Norse and could conceivably have been used during the Viking Age.

Can You Name a Girl Axel?

While Axel is more commonly used as a boy’s name, you can still name a girl Axel. You could also name her Axelle, the distinctly feminine version of Axel.

Is Axel Short for Alexander?

No, it is not. The name Alexander is of Latin and Greek origin and means “defender of men,” and the two are completely separate names.

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