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|Word/name||Javier, Kingdom of Navarre, today part of Spain|
|Related names||Xabier, Xavier|
The name derives from the Catholic Saint called Francis de Xavier, where Xavier refers to the saint's birthplace. This birthplace name, in turn, has Basque roots, etymologically originating in the word etxaberri (etxe berri in standard spelling, meaning "new house"). The original place name went through a Romance phonetic change in Navarro-Aragonese, a Romance language spoken in the neighbouring Romanzado (cf. Leire) from the Early Middle Ages. Like examples can be found in Irunberri > Lumbier, Erronkari > Roncal. It was later borrowed by Castilian. Other variations of this name include Xaverius, Xever, Javiero, and Saverio. The feminine Javiera, Saveria, Zaviera, and Saverina are less common.
Etxeberria, Echeverría, Echevarría, Etxebarri, Chávarri are Basque surnames related to the name by etymology.
Its diffusion is due to the fame of Jesuit priest and missionary Saint Francis Xavier (Spanish: San Francisco Javier). When he was canonized, places and people were named after him, which popularized the name.
Etymology: from Exaberri to Javier
- Loss of the initial e
- Loss of the ending i
- Middle, accentuated, e became the diphthongized form ie
- Old Spanish X was pronounced /ʃ/ as in Basque, like an English SH. Old Spanish /ʃ/ then merged with J (then pronounced the English and later the French way) into /x/, which is now spelled J and pronounced like Scottish or German ch or, most commonly, as English h.
In the English-speaking world, especially in the British media, the pronunciation of "Javier" is frequently confused with the pronunciation of French words or names ending in "-ier" such as Xavier or Olivier. The resulting pronunciation "HAV-ee-ay" is a hybrid of Spanish, French and English. In Spanish, correctly spoken, the final syllable sounds much like the English word "air", not the English word "eh".
English speakers, unfamiliar with names beginning with "X", sometimes pronounce "Xavier" as "ex-avier". This pronunciation is sometimes used for fictional characters, such as Charles Xavier, leader of the fictional X-Men.
In other languages
- Asturian: Xabel
- Basque: Xabier
- Castilian: Javier
- Catalan Xavier
- English: Xavier //
- French: Xavier
- Gaeilge: Savy (Reference needed)
- Galician: Xabier
- German: Xaver (pronounced [ˈksaːfə])
- Italian: Saviero or Saverio
- Latin: Xaverius
- Leonese: Xabiere
- Philippine languages: Javier or Xavier
- Polish: Ksawery
- Portuguese: Xavier
- Russian: Ксаверий (Ksavierij)