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Ali Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

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

Ali Overview

  • Meaning: Ali means “high”, “champion”, and “exalted.”
  • Gender: Ali is a unisex name, but it is more common of a boy name.
  • Origin: Ali is of Arabic origin with some roots in Finnish origins.
  • Pronunciation: “AHL-ee” for a boy. “AL-ee” for a girl.
  • Popularity: Ali ranks number 303 out of 1,000 on the top baby boy names list.
  • Nicknames: Ah, Al, Lee, Li.
  • Variations: Aliy (Quaranic), Aliyy (Quaranic), Aly (Greek), Alley (Celtic), Alli (Arabic), Allie (American), Ally (French and Greek)
  • Namesakes: Ali Benjamin, Ali Caldwell, Ali Gaye, Ali Larter, Muhammad Ali, Muhammad Ali, Jr, Rasheda Ali.

What Does Ali Mean?

Ali means “champion,” “high”, or “elevated.” It is a short form of Allah, which is God in Islam and Arabic origins (1).

What is the Origin of the Name Ali?

Ali is of Arabic origin. The name comes from the Arabic root, ʕ-l-w, which translates in English to its meaning of being high and elevated. Ali is one of the 99 names for Allah, the God of creation in Islamic and Arabic cultures. He also preserves all living creatures and plants and will go on to resurrect humankind.

Ali was more popularized as a given name long ago in the 600s CE because of Ali ibn Ali Talib. He was the Islamic prophet, Muhammad’s cousin. As one of four caliphs or successors of Muhammad, Ali was one of the first believers in the Islam religion (2).

There are some small Finnish roots for the name Ali as a diminutive of Alexander, which means “defender of men.” Ali also comes from the Hebrew boy’s name Eli (3).

How Popular is the Name Ali?

Ali is a popular name that currently ranks number 339 in the top 1,000 baby boy names list for 2021. It entered the list in 1969 at number 921 and has steadily climbed the popularity ladder since then.

From 1997 to the present, Ali has maintained popularity in the 300s. It performed the best in 2018 at number 309.

How Do I Pronounce Ali?

Pronounce Ali as “AHL-ee” for a boy. Say “AL-ee” to pronounce Ali as a girl’s name.

Is Ali a Boy or Girl Name?

Ali is a unisex name, but it is more traditionally a boy name. The Social Security Administration has ranking information for Ali as a girl name only until 2013 when it last ranked on the top 1,000 baby girl names list at number 996.

Variations of Ali

Ali has many unique name variations for you to get creative with how to spell the name. Here are some of the most common examples:

  • Aliy (Quaranic)
  • Aliyy (Quaranic)
  • Aly (Greek)
  • Alley (Celtic)
  • Alli (Arabic)
  • Allie (American)
  • Ally (French and Greek)

Nicknames for Ali

Ali is a short name, but it still has many nickname possibilities. These are the nicknames we adore for Ali:

Similar Names to Ali

Some names are similar to Ali. You may also like boy or girl names such as:

Middle Names for Ali

Ali is a short given name that pairs well with a variety of middle names of different lengths. Here are the middle names for Ali that we wanted to share with you:

Sibling Names for Ali

If you already have a little girl named Ali, here are some ideas for sibling names.

For a brother:

For a sister:

Famous People Named Ali

Most of the famous people we feature have the name Ali as a surname. However, some famous people have Ali as a given name too:

  • Ali Benjamin: American author.
  • Ali Caldwell: American singer.
  • Ali Gaye: American football player.
  • Ali Larter: American actress.
  • Ali Spagnola: American musician.
  • Ali Wong: Chinese-Vietnamese-American comedian.
  • Asaad Ali: American baseball coach; youngest son of Muhammad Ali.
  • Hana Ali: American author; Muhammad Ali’s daughter.
  • Jamillah Ali: American marketing director; Rasheda Ali’s twin sister; Muhammad Ali’s daughter.
  • Khaliah Ali: American author, real estate agent, and fashion designer; Muhammad Ali’s daughter.
  • Laila Ali: American TV personality; Muhammad Ali’s youngest daughter.
  • Maryum Ali: American author and juvenile advocate; Muhammad Ali’s eldest daughter.
  • Miya Ali: American notary signing agent; Muhammad Ali’s daughter.
  • Muhammad Ali: Late American professional boxer
  • Muhammad Ali, Jr: American entrepreneur; Muhammad Ali’s eldest son.
  • Rasheda Ali: American author and public speaker; Jamillah Ali’s twin sister; Muhammad Ali’s daughter.

Ali in Popular Culture

Ali is also a name prominent in popular culture. Here are the cartoon or reality television characters named Ali that we wanted to highlight:

  • “Ali”: Name of the biographical film documenting Muhammad Ali’s life.
  • Ali Baba: Fictional superhero of the story, “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.”
  • Ali bin Ghazali: Protagonist of cartoon, “Agent Ali.”
  • Ali DiLaurentis: Character on the reality television show, “Pretty Little Liars.”
  • Ali the Fox: A Chinese cartoon character that Xu Han created and is an NFT along with his animated friends.

Ali FAQs

As you make your final decision on Ali being your baby’s name, you may be wondering more about it. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Ali.

What Does Ali Mean in the Quran?

Ali means “high and exalted” as well as “sublime.” Ali also becomes Muhammad’s son-in-law besides also being the first person to start following the Islam faith.

What Is the Meaning of Ali in Urdu?

Ali’s Urdu meaning is the same as its Arabic origins. In Arabic, the name is spelled علي‎.

What Does Ali Mean in Greek?

Ali is also a feminine name of Greek origin. This translates in English as “noble” and “truth.”

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