Latinate feminine form of Alexander. It was very little used in the English-speaking world before the 20th century, when it was brought in from Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. It owes its sudden rise in popularity in Britain at the end of the 19th century to Queen Alexandra, Danish wife of Edward VII.
Asturian-Leonese (Avilés): habitational name from Avilés, a place in Asturies on the coast west of Xixón (Gijón in Spanish). The place name is derived either from a pre-Roman cognomen, Abilus, or from the Latin name Abilius, from the place name formed with (Villa) Abilius + the suffix -ensis.