Skip to main content

Updated May 24, 2023

Table of contents

Boy name origins & meanings

  • English : Capable
  • Latin : Great
  • Scottish : Mack's well

What does Maxwell mean and stand for?

The name Maxwell is of Scottish origin and means "great stream." It was originally a Scottish surname meaning Mack's stream, from the name Mack, a short form of the Scandinavian name Magnus, combined with Old English wella "stream".

Syllables: 2

Boy name variations

How Popular Is The Name Maxwell

Family name origins & meanings

  • Scottish : habitational name from a place near Melrose in Roxburghshire. The place name is first recorded in 1144 in the form Mackeswell ‘Mack’s spring or stream (Old English well(a))’.
  • Irish : this surname is common in Ulster, where it has sometimes been adopted as an alternative to Miskell.
  • Jewish : arbitrary adoption of the Scottish name, or Americanized form of one or more like-sounding Jewish surnames.

Famous people who gave their babies this name


According to Social Security Administration data, Maxwell has been all over the charts, but has remained in the top 150 for the last two decades. It reached its peak in 2014 at 107.

However, it is the 9th most popular name on

According to Google search data analysis, in the last five years Maxwell was at its peak popularity in July 2020.

Maxwell gained momentum after Lance Armstrong chose it for his son, and received quite the shocking shift when Jessica Simpson and Lindsay Sloane chose it for their daughters. Despite this switch, Maxwell is still more commonly used for males. Actors Maxwell Perry Cotton and Maxwell Huckabee are some notable namesakes. It's been quite the popular choice for fictional characters, as well, appearing in The Nanny, Get Smart, M*A*S*H, and Across the Universe.

Where is it Popular?

Maxwell was searched for most often in the following states:

Nicknames for Maxwell

  • Max
  • Maxi
  • Maxo

Pairs well with these middle names

Subscribe to Family Education

Your partner in parenting from baby name inspiration to college planning.