Much like Jacob, Alexander is one of those names that lends itself well to formality, but also comes with a friendly-sounding, casual nickname (Alex). Greek in origin, Alexander is a very strong, authoritative sounding name; probably thanks to the influence of historic figures like Alexander the Great (he wasn't Alexander the Mediocre, after all). Appropriately, the name means "defender of mankind." This timeless name showed up near the top of American baby name lists beginning around 2000 and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. The growing popularity of famous actors like Alex Pettyfer and Alexander Skarsgard virtually ensure that TV and film buffs will continue to consider this moniker for their little ones for years to come.