Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Alec

Alec is an English and Scottish short form of Alexander, very similar to Alex but slightly different sounding. Alexander is the Latin form of the Greek name “Alexandros”. The name’s meaning comes from “alexein” which means “to defend” plus “andros” which translates to “man, warrior” in a relationship or possessive form. Hence the meaning: Defender of Men. The name is largely embodied by Alexander the Great, a 4th century B.C. King of the Greek-influenced Macedon. Alexander the Great is often considered the greatest military general of all time; his successful conquests expanded his Empire from Greece to the Himalayas in modern-day India. You’d be hard pressed to find a warrior more legendary than this man; even the ancient Romans revered this Greek icon. The name was popularized in the post-Classical era throughout Europe as a common given name, and shows up several times in the New Testament. As such a common male name throughout the Western World, Alexander has spawned many pet forms including Al, Alec, Alex, Lex, Sandy, Xander, Zander and Sasha.

All About the Baby Name – Alec



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The name Alec has sporadically maintained a spot on the American male naming charts for well over 100 years. Although never a widely used given name, Alec began to show some promise by the 1980s. The 1990s marked the best decade for Alec when he came very close to landing a spot on the Top 100 list of most commonly used boy names. Alas, however, this name has not fared so well in the 21st century. Alec has seen consistent decline in popularity for the past 10+ years. His fashionable days were brief. Alec is only slightly different than Alex in terms of sound, but he is quite a bit more English in his sensibility. As a short form of Alexander, Alec is a little bit more laid back and cool. We can’t help but think “smart-aleck” although what’s so bad about a Smart Alec?

Quick Facts













Defender of men










Cultural References to the Baby Name – Alec

Literary Characters


Alec is the teenaged boy who comes to own the Black Stallion, the magnificent horse in Walter Farley’s bestselling series, starting in 1941, under the title, The Black Stallion. “The Black” is a prized stallion belonging to an Arabian sheikh, who comes into Alec’s life when they are both shipwrecked on an island off India. They come to depend upon, trust and love each other through their mutual need for survival. After their rescue, Alec, still not knowing the Black’s origins, trains and enters him in a race, with an exciting and surprising outcome. In subsequent books in the series, we are introduced to the Black’s eventual offspring, come to know his back story, and grow to love him as much as does young Alec. Called “the most famous fictional horse of the century”, the Black has enchanted youngsters and adults for generations. It was also made into a 1979 movie starring Kelly Reno as Alec.

Alec is the object of desire of Maurice Hall in E. M. Forster’s story of the love between two men, Maurice, written in 1914 but, due to the sensitive nature of its theme, not published until 1971, posthumously. (It was made into a movie of the same name in 1987, with Rupert Graves in the part of Alec.) Maurice is trying, unsuccessfully, to change his sexual orientation, when he visits a country home and encounters the young gamekeeper, Alec. (What is it about the pull of the upper-class English toward their gamekeepers?!) Naturally, after their episode together, Maurice panics, mistreats Alec, and is subject to Alec’s blackmailing. One doesn’t have much to lose as a gamekeeper, after all. Maurice, unable to be “cured” of his “affliction”, considers leaving the country. All is resolved, however, if only in a clandestine way, when Alec and Maurice vow their love for each other and throw their fates together. That fate, alas, means they become woodcutters (and Maurice with his university education!), but presumably, they are happy woodcutters together. We may assume that the character of Alec represents true, unfettered nature, free of the stifling mores of the upper classes.

Alec is a character in Thomas Hardy’s 1891 novel, Tess of the d’Urbervilles, adapted many times over in various media. Alec is the son of the d’Urbervilles who have merely purchased the title, and he has base designs upon poor Tess, who wrongly thinks she must stay in his employ to help her impoverished family. The not-very-nice Alec rapes her against her will, impregnating her and leaving her to give birth to a child who dies and must be buried in unconsecrated ground. After two years, Tess is eager to make a new start outside the village, obtains work as a milkmaid and becomes reacquainted with an earlier beau, Angel Clare, son of the parson. Not until their wedding night does Tess own up to her sullied past, and Angel is appalled. Off he goes to Brazil (but of course), off she goes to her next milkmaid assignment, where she one day encounters the bad boy, Alec, who has now been converted to a Christian preacher by none other than Angel’s father. Alec begs Tess not to tempt him ever again (!) but shortly thereafter denounces his Christianity and begs her to marry him. Tess is still guiltily and lovingly tied to the absent Angel, however, but when he remains away, she finally agrees to become his mistress. Bad timing – here comes Angel to make things up. Tess, in her rage and despair, kills Alec and finally is executed. And Angel walks away hand in hand with her sister. Lesson: it looks to us as if poor Alec really did get the worst of draw in this contest, no matter how much he may have deserved it.

Childrens Books


We cannot find any childrens books with the first name Alec

Popular Songs


Alec Eiffel
a song by The Pixies

Famous People


Alec Baldwin (actor)
Alec Guinness (actor)

Children of Famous People


We cannot find any children of famous people with the first name Alec

Historic Figures


We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Alec