His Imperial Highness Sovereign Heir, Tsesarevich, and Grand Prince Aleksey Nikolayevich of Russia, now Holy Royal Martyr Saint Aleksey,
30 July/12 August 1904–17 July 1918
Alexis is a Greek name, also used in English, French, and German, derived from the verb alexo (to help, to defend). An Ancient Greek comic poet bore this name, as well as a few saints. The name Alexios (Alexius in Latin) is derived from Alexis.
Though most people today think of this as a female name, it’s always felt solidly male to me because it’s the traditional “translation” of the Russian name Aleksey, my fave male Russian name. I also think of French diplomat, historian, and political scientist Alexis de Tocqueville, and Alexis St. Martin, a medical curiosity with a permanent hole in his stomach.
Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–59), painted 1850 by Théodore Chassériau
In the U.S., this name entered the female Top 1000 in 1943, at #828. From 1960 through the present, it’s also been in the male Top 1000. Despite its greater popularity for girls, it hasn’t been anywhere near the bottom of the chart in all those years. In 2018, it was #445 for boys, #179 for girls.
Alexis was in the female Top 100 from 1982–84, and again from 1988–2015. It was Top 10 from 1996–2003, with the top rank of #3 in 1999.
In France, Alexis has been in the male Top 100 since 1974, and in the Top 20 from 1992–2006, with a top rank of #10 in 1997. In 2018, it was #79. Alexis is also very popular in Belgium, in the Top 100 since at least 2000 (with the sole exception of 2007), and #88 in 2018.
The S is silent in the French pronunciation, making it sound a bit like the Russian name Aleksey.
Byzantine statesman and military officer Alexios Apokaukos,
late 13th century–1345
Other forms of this name include:
1. Alessio is Italian.
2. Alejo is Spanish. This can also be a nickname for Alejandro.
3. Aleixo is Portuguese and Galician.
4. Alexej is Czech and Slovak. A common nickname is Aleš.
5. Aleix is Catalan.
6. Aleksi is Finnish and Georgian. One Finnish nickname is Ale.
7. Alyaksey is Belarusian.
8. Aleksy is Polish.
9. Oleksiy is Ukrainian. Nicknames include Oles and Olek.
10. Aleksej is Serbian, Slovenian, and Croatian.
1912 self-portrait of Russian–German painter Alexej von Jawlensky, né Aleksey Yavlenskiy (1864–1941)
11. Aleksey is Russian. I adore this name in large part because of Tsesarevich Aleksey, whom I’ve felt a suprarational soul connection to since learning about him at fifteen. I was compelled to write an alternative history where he’s rescued from the firing squad and becomes the greatest Tsar in history. His greatest act comes in Part IV, when he and his wife Arkadiya rescue nine million people from the Nazis during WWII, including the entire Jewish community of Hungary.
12. Elek is Hungarian.
13. Oleksa is Ukrainian.
14. Aleksije is Serbian.
15. Aleksejs is Latvian.
16. Aleksis is Lithuanian and Finnish.
17. Aleki is Samoan.
18. Aleksio is Albanian.
19. Aleksiy is Bulgarian.
20. Alesiu is Corsican.
Hungarian politician and activist Elek Köblös (1887–1938), a victim of the USSR’s Great Terror
21. Alexie is Romanian.
22. Aleksejus is Lithuanian.
1. Alessia is Italian.
2. Alèxia is Catalan. Other forms are Alexía (Icelandic) and Alexia (French and English). I’ve never been fond of this name, since alexia is an acquired form of dyslexia. It’s the same reason I’m not wild about the name Addison, with its association with Addison’s disease.
3. Alesia is Albanian.
4. Aleksiya is Russian and Bulgarian. This seems like a rather rare name.
5. Aleksia is Albanian and Scandinavian.
6. Aleksija is Serbian and Croatian.