Following on from the Russian name Pasha of yesterday, we have a truly European pick in the form of the name Axel, so ye europhiles would do well to consider the name.
To begin with, we’re specifically looking to the Scandinavia part of Europe to explore the origins of the name Axel. The name started off life as a medieval Danish form of the name Absalom, which is a Hebrew name that means my father is peace. In Biblical Hebrew, the name is spelled ‘Avshalom – so if you’re fond of the possibility of using Shalom, this makes for a roundabout alternative whether you use Absalom or Axel.
Axel ranked at #11 in Sweden in 2011, whilst Aksel ranked at #24 in Norway in the same year. Aksel is a legit variation of the name in both Norwegian and Danish. If you’re wondering about Finland, there they have the variant Akseli. The name Axel also ranked at #27 in France in 2010. Elsewhere in Europe, plenty use Axel as a nickname for Alexander, and I’m particularly refering to Germany when I say that.
Also, the Swedes have the short form of Acke for Axel, which leads us on to another interesting point: there’s an American comic book character called Archie Andrews whose name was changed to Acke Andersson for Swedish publication.
In figure skating, there is a jump known as the Axel jump. It was named after a Norwegian skater by the name Axel Paulsen who first performed the jump in 1882
Fans of rock, or just generally those in touch with music will no doubt be thinking of Axl Rose when they hear the name Axel; for those who don’t know, he’s the front man of Guns ‘n Roses.
However, there are other musical connections, perhaps not as distinguished as the Axl Rose one.
Remember the Crazy frog craze from the mid-noughties? As a tween during that time I caught the craze head on. I mention it because in 2005, he released a remix of the song Axel F which became ridiculously popular – I remember it being #1 here in the UK for at least 4 weeks.
The original song comes from the soundtrack of Beverley Hills Cop, with the title of the track deriving from the main character’s name, Axel Foley.
The feminine form of this name is Axelle, and she’s got some following in Europe too. For example, in 2010, she ranked at #136 in France, and even higher up at #73 in Belgium. The reason for this may be that the x in French is pronounced much more softly than we English speakers would, so one would pronounce the name more like ahk-sel.
There is also a Belgium singer by the name of Axelle Red, who could be helping with the popularity of the name as well.
A true strength of the name Axel is that he manages to keep a hold in many European countries – here in England&Wales he manages a ranking of #706, putting him equal with such names as the Welsh Bryn and the Egyptian city name of Cairo.