The X Makes it Cool

I’d venture to guess that if there were a poll, X would be universally agreed to be the coolest letter. It’s unusual, mysterious, and denotes hidden treasure- cool, positive associations that may subconsciously play into the rising popularity of names containing X. Some of the X-iest options out there, ranging from common to rare:

Xerxes- Xerxes has not one but two Xs, taking the name from quirky to eye-poppingly unusual. Adding to the cool factor is the name’s meaning: it comes from a Persian name meaning “ruler of heroes.” It’s a very ancient name (in use since at least the 5th century BC) that’s never been particularly popular in modern times, but adventurous parents may think it’s worth bringing back.

Maxwell- This surname is the most popular of the Max- names, even eclipsing Max itself. It’s no wonder why: for parents who seek a longer and more formal version of Max but don’t want something as extravagant as Maximilian, Maxwell is a great choice.

Xiomara- This name, popular among Spanish speaking populations in the US, has murky origins. It could be Aramaic for “deer,” a Spanish feminine form of Wigmar, or something else. Xiomara enjoyed a stint in the US top 1000 from 2004-2010, but hasn’t ranked since.

Pax- Angelina Jolie put this only-slightly different Latin word name on the map. The Latin word for “peace” (as in Pax Romana and Pax Aeterna) may owe much of its success to its similarity to the more familiar Max. Pax itself doesn’t rank in the top 1000, but longer form Paxton is at #203 and rising.

Huxley- Huxley is one of the rare two syllable -ley names that remains more popular for boys. It entered the top 1000 in 2015 and currently sits at #867. It’s a friendly sounding name with great nickname possibilities Huck and Hux, but it’s unfortunately derived from elements meaning “meadow” and “scorn.”

Beatrix- The tamer, X-less Beatrice ranks at #565, but this version still hovers outside of the top 1000. Both names come from the Latin word Viatrix, meaning “traveller.” Beatrix is actually older than Beatrice, but Viatrix itself could be an even more unusual version for true originalists. The name has also been associated with the Latin word for “blessed.”

Xenia- Xenia is a widely recognized but rarely used Greek name with several pronunciation possibilities: there’s ZEE-nee-a, like the small city in Ohio; ZEN-ya, a two-syllable option; and KSEN-ya, favored in Eastern Europe (often spelled Ksenia or Ksenija) but rare here.

Alexis- This 90’s staple was part of the larger fad of Alex- names that reigned supreme for both genders around the turn of the 21st century. It hasn’t had the staying power of Alexandra and Alexander, but it (along with Alexa) remains unique in that the x sound is pronounced “ex” rather than “ix.”

Xavier-Xavier is easily the most popular X- beginning name, and it’s one of only 3 X-beginners that rank in the top 1000 (the others are Ximena and Xander). It also has the unusual distinction of being Basque, though it’s not unique in that aspect- other top 1000 names like Amaya and Iker come from that unique language.


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