Boy names starting with X constitute a very exclusive club. Only two X boy names rank in the current Top 1000. And while some gems fall outside the most popular list, this is a tough letter.

Of course, it’s a high value Scrabble letter, too. Boy names ending with X are powerfully popular. They feel like cool boy names, just because of the letter.

And some of these substitute X for Z. Then again, plenty of Z names swap an X for a Z, too. For every Xane, there’s a Zavier.

X ranks 24th out of the 26 letters of the alphabet in terms of popularity. Only Q and U are less popular as first initials. But somehow it seems more mainstream than that, possibly because we hear the sound so much – just in Maxwell and Felix and okay, sometimes Xavier. That makes it feel more popular than the data suggest.

Of course, X’s appeal is visual, too. Not every name on this list actually sounds like “ex” or even z. And it’s easy to stray on to the daring side with this letter, so some of these names might feel, well, excessive.

Read on for the best of the boy names starting with the letter X.

XAVIER (#100)

A priestly surname name, St. Francis Xavier inspired parents beginning in the twentieth century. But the name really caught on following the 1980s Cabbage Patch Kid craze. After all, the inventor of the boldly named baby dolls had a (then) seldom heard name himself: Xavier Roberts. But it’s the rise of Professor X – Charles Francis Xavier, the brilliant X-Men character, introduced in 1963 – who many will think of first. It ultimately comes from a Basque name meaning “new house.”

XANDER (#199)

If William can shorten to Liam, can’t Alexander shorten to Xander, too? Of course. And ever since we met Xander Harris on 90s pop culture sensation Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it’s been a rising favorite with families. As a short form of Alexander, it shares the original’s meaning: defender of men.

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The Basque language is unusual – unrelated to French, Spanish, and other languages spoken in the surrounding areas. So Xabat is the Basque equivalent of Santiago – a very unusual take on a romance language favorite.


Popular boy’s name Zachary can easily be re-spelled with an X, opening the door for Xach, Xack, Xachariah, and Xackery, too.


An X-factor take on Cade.


Most likely pronounced just like Zayden, a Top 200 name in the US, Xaiden also looks a little like a nod to Xaiver.


Like Xander, Xan comes from Alexander. Though, in some languages, it can also come close to Jan and the classic John. Double the N, and sometimes Xann is seen, too.


An X-twist on Zane, a name with multiple origins and stories.


Take Spanish name Santiago, swap the S for an X, and this unexpected form is the result. That would make Xanti a possible nickname form.


A possible take on Canon and company, Xanon is a modern invention.


A name of Greek origin, Xanthus appears in myth and legend more than once. The feminine form, Xanthe, is (slightly) better known as a given name today.


It looks like a cousin to Jared, but Xareed is a Somali name meaning rain.


Like Jake from Jacob or Nate from Nathan, Xave can stand apart from Xavier, too.


Davian with an X.


A Xavier-Gabriel mash-up with potential.


Dancer-choreographer Savion Glover put his unusual name on the map. Xavion is an even rarer spin. Alternative spelling Xzavion is another option following the same logic as Xzavier, as are Xaivion and so on.


Another member of the Aiden family, with the irresistible letter X. Xaden is another possibility in the same category.


The name of a fifth century king of Persia, and many named in his honor, Xerxes means “ruling over heroes.”


A Chinese origin probably explains Xian’s use in the US in recent decades, with multiple possible meanings. The city in northwest China, typically spelled Xi’an, means “Western Peace.”


A Chinese name meaning good luck or good fortune. The X sounds more like a SH.


Ximena is somewhat familiar as a girls’ name beginning with X. Masculine form Ximeno less so, though it’s sometimes considered the Basque equivalent of Simon. Ximenes is a surname, more commonly spelled Jimenez.


An irresistible invention, or possibly short for names like Xiomar.


The Germanic Guiomar is masculine in Arthurian legend, but feminine in modern-day Spanish and Portuguese. Swap the G for an X, and you’ll arrive at Xiomar instead.


In a handful of languages, X often substitutes for J. Or other letters. Galician gives us Xoel – Joel – while Basque gives us Xarles – Charles. Not all of them import smoothly into English, but Xoel – a sort of midpoint between soul and Joel – might.


Xolani looks like popular Hawaiian names for girls – Leilani, for one – but it is used in South Africa. I’ve seen it listed as both Zulu and Xhosa, with an appealing meaning: peace.


David Bowie’s firstborn dropped his unconventional birth name – Zowie Bowie – for the more workaday Duncan Jones. But Zowie has been given to a handful of children since. In recent years, Zowie is sometimes seen as a respelling of Zoe and Zoey. Xowie is rarer still.


While it’s tempting to pronounce Xue like “zoo,” this Chinese name sounds more like shweh. It’s also a surname. The meaning depends on the exact characters used to write it, but one commonly listed is snow.


One of the big debates around Xzavier is pronunciation. Is it three syllables or two? Xzavier attempts to phonetically insist on three, thank you very much.

What are your favorite X names for boys? What would you add to this list?

First published on February 22, 2021, this post was updated on November 15, 2021; December 12, 2022; and April 15, 2024.

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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  1. The issue with Xhosa then Xolani would be pronounced Clolani, in the Xhosa language X’s are pronounced as Cl. If you don’t believe me then watch any video where Trevor Noah speaking Xhosa

    1. Thanks, Lauren. I think it’s gotten a boost from Ibrahim X. Kendi, too. I couldn’t find a Xhosa pronunciation of the name, but the Zulu one is here, and it’s not a Z sound. On that note, Xue isn’t a Z sound, either …