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Alan Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

Learn about the name Alan including the meaning, gender, origin, popularity, and more.

Alan Overview

  • Meaning: Alan means “handsome,” “cheerful,” or “precious.”
  • Gender: Alan is a male name, traditionally.
  • Origin: Alan originated in the sixth century from Gaelic or German.
  • Pronunciation: “AL-uhn”
  • Popularity: The name Alan has remained consistently in the top 200 names since 2000, peaking at 122nd in 2006.
  • Nicknames: Al, Ali, Allie.
  • Variations: Allan, Allen, Allyn.
  • Namesakes: Alan Alda, Alan Bersten, Alan Greenspan, Alan Jackson, Alan Moore, Alan Rickman, Alan Robertson, Alan Shepard, Alan Turing.

What Does Alan Mean?

The name Alan means “handsome” and “cheerful.” It can also mean “precious.” It also has additional meanings in more languages that have adopted the name.

What is the Origin of the Name Alan?

The name Alan has been in use since as early as the sixth century. It originated from Gaelic or German. The alternate spelling “Allen” originated from English.

How Popular is the Name Alan?

The popularity of the name Alan has maintained its place in the top 200 names since the year 2000, according to data from the Social Security Administration (1). Between 2001 and 2010, it held a spot in the top 150 and peaked at the 122nd most popular name in 2006. The spelling “Alan” is much more popular than the alternate spellings “Allen” and “Allan.”

According to Google search data for the past five years, the name Alan was most searched in December 2016.

How Do I Pronounce Alan?

There is not much variation in the name’s pronunciation. Alan is pronounced AL-uhn, beginning with a short A sound.

Is Alan a Boy or Girl Name?

Alan is traditionally a boy’s name. The feminized version of Alan is Alana.

Variations of Alan

There are a few variations of the name Alan. They are all pronounced the same despite their differences in spelling.

  • Allan
  • Allen
  • Allyn

Nicknames for Alan

Since the name Alan is so short, there aren’t many nicknames. Al is the only commonly used nickname for Alan. Other possible nicknames include Alie or Allie, though they aren’t used often.

Similar Names to Alan

Several names sound similar to Alan. Similar boy names include:

  • Aiden
  • Alonso
  • Alastair
  • Alaster
  • Baylen
  • Calan
  • Dylan
  • Halen
  • Raylen
  • Taylan
  • Waylan/Waylen

If you’re looking for a girl’s name similar to Alan, some options are:

  • Adalyn
  • Alaina or Alayna
  • Alana or Alanna
  • Ally or Allie
  • Lana

Middle Names for Alan

There are no rules for choosing middle names. You can pick any name that has special meaning to you, but some middle names that sound good following Alan include:

Sibling Names for Alan

You can, of course, choose any names you desire for siblings, but other short or two-syllable names coordinate especially well. Some boys’ names that go well with Alan include:

For a girl, you could choose a name that begins with A or short and two-syllable names. Some sibling names that would work include:

Famous People Named Alan

As quite a common name, there are many well-known people named Alan, ranging from the field of music and acting to science and economics. Some of them include:

  • Alan Alda: American actor, comedian, and filmmaker and six-time Emmy and Golden Globe winner, known best for playing Hawkeye in M*A*S*H.
  • Alan Bersten: Dancer with Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance.
  • Alan Greenspan: American economist and appointed to the chair of the Federal Reserve from 1987 to 2006 (2).
  • Alan Jackson: American country singer-songwriter known for “neotraditional country” style, blending mainstream country pop and traditional honky-tonk.
  • Alan Moore: Recognized as one of the best English language comic book writers.
  • Alan Rickman: American actor who is known for playing Severus Snape in the Harry Potter film series.
  • Alan Robertson: A member of the Robertson family from the reality series Duck Dynasty.
  • Alan Shepard: The first American and second person in space.
  • Alan Turing: British mathematician, scientist, and logician (3).

Alan in Popular Culture

Alan has been a common choice for fictional characters, including appearances in the following movies, TV series, and comics:

  • Al, the toy collector: Animated character voiced by Wayne Knight in the movie Toy Story 2.
  • Al Borland: Main character on the TV series Home Improvement, played by Richard Karn.
  • Al Bundy: Protagonist on the TV series Married … with Children, played by Ed O’Neill.
  • Dr. Alan Grant: Main protagonist from Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III, played by Sam Neill.
  • Alan Harper: Only character to appear in every episode of the TV series Two and a Half Men, played by Jon Cryer.
  • Alan Matthews: Special guest character played by William Russ in the TV series Boy Meets World.
  • Alan ‘Yeah-Yeah’ McClennan: Member of the team from the film The Sandlot, played by Marty York.
  • Alan Parrish: The main character played by Robin Williams in the movie Jumanji.
  • Alan Scott: Fictional superhero and the first character to go by the name Green Lantern in American comic books published by DC Comics.
  • Alan Stanwyck: Businessman played by Tim Matheson in the film Fletch.

Alan FAQs

When considering the name Alan, you may have some additional questions about the name. Below are some frequently asked questions about Alan.

Is Alan or Allen More Common?

Alan is the most common variation and is used more often than Allen or Allan.

What is the Biblical Meaning of the Name Alan?

The name Alan does not appear in the Bible, but it is mainly popular among families of the Christian religion.

What Does Alan Mean in Arabic?

The Arabic or Muslim meaning of the name Alan is “god of shine, handsome, cheerful.”

Is Alan an Indian Name?

As an Indian boy name, Alan means “rock” or “noble.”

What Does Alan Mean in Irish?

In Irish, the name Alan means “rock” or “little rock.”

Is Alan a Kurdish Name?

The boy’s name Alan means “flag bearer” in Kurdish.

What Does the Name Alan Mean in Welsh?

In Welsh, the name Alan means “masculine.”

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