Roxanne is a modern form of the Persian name Roshanak, which means "dawn" or "bright; luminous." It was the name of Alexander The Great's wife. It came to Europe by way of the Latin Roxana (from Greek Roxane). It became popular in the English-speaking world after the publication of Roxana: The Fortunate Mistress Or, a History of the Life and Vast Variety of Fortunes of Mademoiselle de Beleau, Afterwards Called the Countess de Wintselsheim a novel by Daniel Defoe in 1724. It is usually just called Roxana. Its popularity was renewed in the form of Roxane, the heroine of the 1894 play Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand. Most recently, it was seen in the Police's 1978 hit "Roxanne" as the name of a prostitute.

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