Etymologically, the name is derived from the Greek "Αλέξανδρος" (Aléxandros), meaning "defending men" or "protector of men", a compound of the verb "ἀλέξω" (alexō), "to ward off, to avert, to defend" and the noun "ἀνδρός" (andros), genitive of "ἀνήρ" (anēr), "man". It is an example of the widespread motif of Greek (or Indo-European more generally) names expressing "battle-prowess", in this case the ability to withstand or push back an enemy battle line.
The earliest attested form of the name is the Mycenaean Greek feminine noun a-re-ka-sa-da-ra (transliterated as Alexandra), written in Linear B syllabic script.
The name was one of the titles ("epithets") given to the Greek goddess Hera and as such is usually taken to mean "one who comes to save warriors". In the Iliad, the character Paris is known also as Alexander. The name's popularity was spread throughout the Greek world by the military conquests of King Alexander III, commonly known as "Alexander the Great". Most later Alexanders in various countries were directly or indirectly named for him.
Read more about this topic: Alexander
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Famous quotes containing the word origin:
“Each structure and institution here was so primitive that you could at once refer it to its source; but our buildings commonly suggest neither their origin nor their purpose.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“All good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity.”
—William Wordsworth (17701850)
“Someone had literally run to earth
In an old cellar hole in a byroad
The origin of all the family there.
Thence they were sprung, so numerous a tribe
That now not all the houses left in town
Made shift to shelter them without the help
Of here and there a tent in grove and orchard.”
—Robert Frost (18741963)