Amazon's voice assistant, Alexa, reportedly is inspired by the computer in Star Trek. Its makers wanted it, too, to be a library of information. And what better library of information is there than the famed, historical library of Alexandria? So the name kind of works. However, that was only a minor factor in choosing the name. Unlike Siri and Cortana, Alexa was not chosen on a whim. After lengthy scientific testing, people at Amazon decided that Alexa was the best name because the central x sound surrounded by soft vowels was distinctive and could most easily be picked up by the machine. Indeed, that worked great, but Alexa was already an extremely popular name prior to Amazon adopting it. Recently, the baby name Alexa has declined, prompting concerns that Amazon has ruined it for the rest of us. Finally, and quite irrelevantly, Alexa is a female variation of Alexander, which means "defender of man" in Greek.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.