When you shop through links on our site, we may receive compensation. This educational content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.

Allen Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

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

Allen Overview

  • Meaning: Allen means “handsome,” “cheerful,” “stone,” “rock,” and “noble” based on various languages and cultures.
  • Gender: Allen is traditionally a boy’s name, but it’s also a gender-neutral surname. It can be a cute name for a girl with a different spelling.
  • Origin: Allen has origins in France before it was brought to England, then over to North America.
  • Pronunciation: Most people pronounce Allen as “AH-lun.”
  • Popularity: Allen was in the top 100 baby names for almost a century but recently dropped to the 500s. It’s still a fairly popular name.
  • Nicknames: Al, Ali, Ally, Len, Lenny.
  • Variations: Ailín, Alan, Alain, Allan, Allen, Alen, Alin, Alun.
  • Namesakes: Allen Iverson, an American basketball player.

What Does Allen Mean?

Allen has many different meanings. The Gaelic definition is “handsome” and “cheerful,” while the Irish translation is “little rock.” This definition came from the Celtic word “alp, ail,” which means “rock,” “stone,” and “noble.”

What Is the Origin of the Name Allen?

Allen was originally a surname with roots leading back to Brittany, France. The Normans spelled it as Alan, but when the name reached the British Isles, they changed it to Allen to better suit their traditional surnames.

Several saints and religious figures had the name Alan in their titles throughout history. One was St. Alanus, a French bishop in the 5th century. Another saint was St. Allan from the 6th century.

One of the first instances of a well-known Allen in the United States was Ethan Allen known for leading the Green Mountain Boys during the American Revolution. Another is Richard Allen, an African American bishop in Pennsylvania (1).

Allen is still a prominent surname in North America but is also a traditional boy’s name.

How Popular Is the Name Allen?

Popularity data for the name Allen goes back to 1900 when it entered the chart as a popular name. It quickly entered the top 100 baby names from 1901 to 1911, making it very popular. It occasionally dips below 100 but mostly stayed above it until 1966 (2).

By 1996, the name was in the 200s, the lowest it had ever reached. It lost popularity, hitting the 300s by 2009 and the 400s by 2017. In 2021, it lowered into the 500s, changing from popular to fairly popular.

How Do I Pronounce Allen?

The name Allen looks simple, but you can stress the syllables differently. The most common pronunciation is “AH-lun.” You can also say “Al-EN.”

Is Allen a Boy or Girl Name?

Allen is a boy’s name. It was initially a surname for both males and females (3). Currently, most people use it as a male’s first name.

Variations of Allen

There are variations of Allen in different countries. You can also spell it differently in the United States:

  • Ailín (Irish)
  • Alan (French)
  • Alain (French)
  • Allan, Allen, Alen, Alin (North America)
  • Alun (Welsh)

Nicknames for Allen

Allen has two syllables, but it’s a concise name and has a limited number of nicknames:

  • Al
  • Ali
  • Ally
  • Len
  • Lenny

Similar Names to Allen

Many people love the classic feel of the name Allen but want something slightly different. These names are timeless alternatives to Allen:

Middle Names for Allen

Allen is a simple first name. You can choose a longer or shorter middle name to sound best with your baby’s name:

Sibling Names for Allen

The classic sound of Allen means you have plenty of choices for sibling names. Consider the following options for Allen’s siblings:

Famous People Named Allen

Allen is such a classic name that there are plenty of famous people with this name. Though these celebrities have the first name Allen, there are countless with Allen as a surname:

  • Allen Ash: TikTok star.
  • Allen Collins: American musician in the band Lynyrd Skynyrd.
  • Allen Funt: American TV producer famous for the show “Candid Camera.”
  • Allen Ginsberg: American poet.
  • Allen Iverson: American basketball player.
  • Allen Jones: American professional wrestler known as AJ Styles.
  • Allen Kelsey Grammer: American actor known as Kelsey Grammer.
  • Allen Kim: South Korean musician.
  • Allen Leech: Irish actor.
  • Allen Ludden: American game show host.
  • Allen Pan: YouTube star.
  • Allen Payne: American actor.
  • Allen Robinson: American football player.
  • Allen Stone: American singer.

Allen in Popular Culture

Allen is a classic name in real life, so it’s not surprising that people use it for fictional characters as well. These are a few of the instances of the name Allen found in popular culture:

  • Allen: Character in the comic and TV show versions of “The Walking Dead.”
  • Allen the Alien: Character in Image Comics.
  • Allen Adam: Alter ego of Captain Atom, a DC Comics superhero.
  • Allen Avadonia: Character in “Evillious Chronicles.”
  • Allen Gregory: Titular character of an animated TV show.
  • Allen Walker: Main character of the manga series “D.Gray-man.”

Allen FAQs

There’s a lot to know about the name Allen, including the origin, sibling names, and middle names. If you’re still unsure about naming your baby Allen, check out the answers to these frequently asked questions.

What Does Allen Mean in Hebrew?

In Hebrew, Allen means “God’s love.” There are many meanings and origins for the name Allen, so you can feel comfortable using it regardless of your family’s heritage.

Is Allen Short for Anything?

No, Allen isn’t a shortened version of a longer male name. It’s a name on its own. Though it’s short, you can still find cute nicknames for Allen, such as Al, Len, or Lenny.

Can Allen Be a Girl’s Name?

Yes, Allen can be a girl’s name. Many people are using traditionally male names for girls now. James is one name that is often used for females, though it has a long history as a boy’s name.

Allen can be a cute name for a girl, especially because you can make it more feminine. Spell it as Allyn or Alin for a unique twist. It’s a very rare girl’s name, so you know your daughter will stand out.

Feedback: Was This Article Helpful?
Thank You For Your Feedback!
Thank You For Your Feedback!
What Did You Like?
What Went Wrong?