X Marks the Middle Spot

X is an undeniably cool letter when it comes to baby names, but names that start with X are limited – Xavier, Xanthe, and, uh… — and names that end with x such as Max and Alex have become overused in recent years.

The solution, for the x-loving baby namer, may be to find a name that carries an x in the middle.  Here, a wide range of choices to consider:

Abraxas – This unusual and powerful name is derived from Persian mythology, and dates back to ancient Egyptian Gnostics who worshiped Abraxas as the Supreme Being.

Alexa and Alexis – Among the most popular names on this list, these creative and sophisticated-sounding names are variations of the Greek Alexander family and mean “defending men.”

Alexander and AlexandraEloquent, regal, and timeless, these historically rich names offer short forms that either start or end with x: Xan for boys, Xandra for girls, Alex for either.

Axel – This German name meaning “father of peace” is packing a heavy metal punch since the popularity of Guns N’ Roses’ front man Axl Rose. Yet it is also the Scandinavian form for Absalom, a son of King David.

Baxter Baxter is a surname-name derived from the English occupational name Baker. Peaking in popularity in 1886, this traditional name is prime for a comeback.

Braxton – Sitting in the Top 200, this English name has steadily climbed the popularity charts with the premier of singer Toni Braxton’s Reality TV Show Braxton Family Values.

Calixta and Calixto – These Greek names meaning “beautiful” also have spiritual appeal; in Spain Calixto was the name of three popes, one of whom was Calixtus I, a martyr and a saint.

Dexter Jazzy and full of spark, this Latin name also delivers the effortlessly cool nickname Dex. In the past year it’s jumped 70 places in popularity thanks to the inspirational television serial killer, landing at Number 384.

Dixie, Pixie, and Trixie – Three adorable choices, Dixie means “tenth”, Pixie means “fairy” and Trixie is short for Beatrix, which means “she who brings happiness”.

HuxleyHuxley honors the author of “Brave New World” Aldous Huxley, with wonderfully majestic sounding Hux for short.

Jaxon – Adding the x-factor to the alternate spelling of Jackson bumped this trending name into the Top 100 in 2011. Amplifying the cool even more, Sons of Anarchy character Jackson Teller goes by Jax.

Maxon, Maxwell, Maxfield, Maximilian, Maxine – Why stop at Max when you can go all the way to one of these x-in-the-middle variations?  Well, we can think of a lot of reasons, but for the parent who prefers a more elaborate proper name, these elaborations offer a range of styles, from the modern Maxon to the ancient Maximilian.

Paxton – This name meaning “peace town” is predominantly used for boys but sometimes for girls too, with the short form Pax.

Praxis – Though this rare mythological name sounds masculine, it is actually another name for the Greek goddess Aphrodite.

Roxane and Roxana – These Persian names derived in Persia have impressive historic and literary pedigrees: Roxana was the wife of Alexander the Great and Roxane was the heroine of Cyrano De Bergerac. Modern forms include Roxanna and Roxanne.

Texas – The place-name Texas derives from a Caddo Indian word meaning “allies” or “friendship.”  Texas is one of a new generation of place-names ready to rise.

Xerxes – It starts with an x but it’s got an x in the middle too.  This male name meaning “monarch” is best known as the leader of Persia during the Battle of Salamis in 480 B.C.E.

Thanks for research help for this blog to new Nameberry intern Denise K. Potter.

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20 Responses to “X Marks the Middle Spot”

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sarahmezz Says:

April 15th, 2013 at 11:58 pm

My niece is named Alexa 🙂

augusta_lee Says:

April 16th, 2013 at 12:17 am

I love, LOVE, Baxter, with Dexter a close second. If only my last name didn’t end with -er…

SugarPlumFairy Says:

April 16th, 2013 at 4:35 am

I would never classify Alexa and Alexis as “creative and sophisticated” names… they’re pretty run-of-the-mill names to me – not to mention trendy (also, Alexis is not a form of Alexander).

Really like Alexander/Alexandra, Axel, Huxley, Maxfield, Maximilian, and Paxton

Some ideas:

Poppy528 Says:

April 16th, 2013 at 5:57 am

I love Baxter and Beatrix! I don’t think hubs would ever agree to these for children, but they’d be a delightful pair of kittens! Too bad I hate Texas so much, I really adore the name Tex.

maggiemary Says:

April 16th, 2013 at 6:42 am

I love Alexander and Alexandra. Dexter is cute too.

HerMajesty Says:

April 16th, 2013 at 7:21 am

I love Roxana/Roxanne, its a beautiful name, and on my short list. I also like Alexandros(form of Alexander), Calixta, Praxis, and Dixie.

gaby Says:

April 16th, 2013 at 8:23 am

I love Axel. Dixie, Trixie, and Pixie are too stripper/clown name for me.

Greyer Says:

April 16th, 2013 at 10:10 am

Braxton = Braxton Hicks contractions?

Praxis = tests you have to take to become a teacher in the USA.

The only ones on this list I really like are Dexter and Roxana/Roxanne

littlebrownpony Says:

April 16th, 2013 at 10:29 am

Isn’t the last one pronounces “Zerses?” I think people are looking for the X sound more than the just the letter X.

Correct me if I’m wrong about the pronunciation.

Haili73 Says:

April 16th, 2013 at 11:43 am

Xerxes is pronounced ZERK-zees, and is also the name of the king in the Bible story of Esther. He was the king of Persia.

MissusAytch Says:

April 16th, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Love Roxana.

Like Huxley, Dixie, and Calixto.

Alexander is timeless.

And hell yeah Texas!

sarahmezz Says:

April 16th, 2013 at 7:50 pm

Brax is getting more popular in Australia (unfortunately). It’s the name of a character in a popular TV show.

alphabetdem Says:

April 16th, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Love Dexter and Maxwell. Like Huxley and Paxton.

Dixie, Trixie and Pixie and Baxter sound like dog names to me. :/

EmilyVA Says:

April 16th, 2013 at 9:16 pm

One of my closest friends has Alexandra as a middle name which everyone really liked. She was named after someone named Alex.
I also like Maximilian and Alexa and Calixta. I think so many of these seem so familiar. I do think Texas is an interesting one, but I would love to meet someone with this as a name and it would make a great middle name too!

encore Says:

April 16th, 2013 at 9:42 pm

great blog today!

Pixelbug18 Says:

April 16th, 2013 at 9:47 pm

My 8 year old daughter’s name is Alexia, nn Lexi or Lexi-Lou (even though her mn is Danielle). I fell in love with it! Not as common as Alexis, but not unheard of. My son’s name is Tanner, and with baby 3 on the way, we’re struggling to find another boys name. Husband loves Jax (because of Jax Teller of course!), but not Jaxon (Jackson). Though I don’t think we’ll be going for the x factor with this one, don’t want the middle child to be the odd one out!

namesage Says:

April 16th, 2013 at 10:22 pm

Not a fan of any of the Alex names for girls. Too many little Alexis/Alexa/Lexi etc running around in the 90s for me! Kind of ruined it.

I know I’ve mentioned this on the site several times but I just had to say one more time I hope I get the chance to use Baxter one day because Baker is my maiden name and I always thought it’d but a great way to honor it!

Dexter is in my top 5. Such a great name and absolutely adore the nn Dex. I have also fallen in love with Roxana, nn Roxy. So much spunk! Paxton is also great. Maybe too cheesy for me, but I always wished someone would have twins and name them Pax and Dove for a Peace themed sibset. 😉

I agree with whoever mentioned Praxis as the test. That’s all I can think of.

tori101 Says:

April 17th, 2013 at 6:15 am

I love Alexander and Alexandra but I’m not a major fan of Alexis/Alexa for me their slightly masculine in stance and work more as nicknames for Alexandra. I love Axel, Dexter, Maxwell and Maxmilian they have such desirable qualities really choices choices.

skizzo Says:

April 18th, 2013 at 8:23 am

I hate Alexander, I wish people went with Alexis for boys instead.

Huxley and Xerxes are interesting. Calixto is pretty cool

dancingwithdad Says:

May 28th, 2013 at 6:36 am

I too thought of the test when I read Praxis…interesting to hear the meaning of Texas.

My grandpa’s middle name was Rex and so his daughter is Rexanna.

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