The etymology of the word Paxos has many interpretations: Moustoxidi (Delle Cose Corciresi) traces the word back to ΠΑΚΤΟΣ to Dorian origin as ΠΗΚΤΟΣ as if there were fortified masses in the sea. Sometimes in Greek the letter Ξ is changed to KS and vise versa so one would find ΠΑΚΣΥΗΣ in the Linguae Graecae of Henrici Stephano, Lydus Herod I 153.

According to Strabo, the Phoenicians gave it its name from their work ΠΑΚΣ, which means geometric trapezoid i.e. an island with a trapezoid shape, as it appears if viewed from the air. Mons Joniae Strabo 14. p. 636, 647.

It is possible that the word ΠΑΚΣΥΗΣ was changed to ΠΑΞΟΙ. It could also be derived from the verb in the future tense ΠΗΓΝΥΩ – ΠΗΞΟ relating particularly to Antipaxos or from ΠΑΚΣΟΣΑΣ ΘΥΡΑΣ (closed doors) referring to the safety of Gaios harbour.

Plinius calls these islands Paxae in the feminine and Dion Cassius ΠΑΞΟΙ in the masculine gender.

Plutarch calls them ΠΑΞΟΙ PAXI in the plural and in the logbook of Antonius Augustus one is called Paxos and the other Propaxos, so it cannot be said with certainty in antiquity both islands were considered under one name, Antipaxos being in New Greek.

Another version claims that a group of inhabitants from the region of Paxountos in Sicily, either out of need or due to partisan raids, left their homeland and settled in Paxos giving it the name of their motherland.

Esichius names them with the accent at the end, as it is today if one changes the way of reading Paxinis (οι κατά την Ιταλίαν ιν Παξοι νήσοι).

The Metropolitis (Bishop) of Paramythia, Athinagoras, interpreted the name Paxos as a corruption of the Greek word for flagstone “plaka”, which were cut on the island and exported. A combination of that word with the word ΝΗΣΟΙ (islands) gives us the name of the islands of the flagstones.

Giannis Doikas believes that the word PAX= peace, is the one that best suits the peaceful islands of Paxos.