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Alma Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

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

Alma Overview

  • Meaning: Nourishing, kind, water, apple
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Origin: Latin
  • Pronunciation: “Ahl-muh”
  • Popularity: 511th in the U.S.
  • Nicknames: Al, Mama, Ally.
  • Variations: Elma, Almo.
  • Namesakes: Alma Reville, Alma Madrigal.

What Does Alma Mean?

Alma has a few different meanings since different cultures use this name. In most uses, this name means kind, nourishing, feeds the soul, or lifts the spirit. In Arabic, al-ma means on the water. In Greek, alma can relate to the word for saltwater, and in Hebrew, alma means young woman. In the Crimean Tatar language, alma means apple.

What is the Origin of the Name Alma?

Stories of the origin of this name vary. However, Alma likely came from the Latin word almus. The word Alma is used in the term Alma Mater. Alma Mater means benevolent mother, and often refers to a biblical female character, goddesses in antiquity, and references to colleges and universities by their graduates.

This name also has Arabic, Hebrew, Crimean Tatar, and Greek origins.

How Popular is the Name Alma?

Alma was a fairly popular name for girls in the 19th century after the Battle of Alma in 1854. The name was popular during the Crimean War that followed the Battle of Alma. By the early 1900s, the name lost some of its popularity, and this reduction in popularity continued throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.

Before 1920 Alma was between the top 50 and 80 names for girls and between the top 400 and 700 for boys. The name started a steady decline in popularity after 1920. For the remainder of the 20th century, the name hovered around the mid-300s in terms of popularity.

The name was least popular in 2011 when it was the 874th most popular name in the United States for girls. After that dip, the name had a rebound in popularity. By 2021 the name was ranked 511th most popular in the United States. (1)

How Do I Pronounce Alma?

Pronounce Alma as “Ahl-muh.”

Is Alma a Boy or Girl Name?

Alma is a unisex name, though it is most popular for girls.

Variations of Alma

There are several variations of Alma from different cultures or different spellings. These options are perfect if you like Alma, but want some difference.

  • Ulmo
  • Almo
  • Almu
  • Ulma
  • Alumit
  • Amalia
  • Almeta
  • Almetta
  • Aerma
  • Amelia
  • Amelberga
  • Alta
  • Elmo
  • Elma

Nicknames for Alma

While Alma itself is a short name, there are plenty of ways to create a nickname from it. Some of these nicknames are plays on the spelling, while others are more complex.

  • Al
  • Ally
  • Aly
  • Ali
  • Almi
  • Almita
  • Almis
  • Alpaca
  • Alm
  • Ma
  • Mama
  • Llama

Similar Names to Alma

If you like elements of the name Alma, but you prefer something different, there are many names that you may enjoy. Look for names with plenty of meaning in several languages, that enjoyed popularity in the late 19th century, or that have sounds in common.

  • Alba
  • Mabel
  • Ada
  • Ida
  • Antonia
  • Althea
  • Anya
  • Adele
  • Abel
  • Ines
  • Edith
  • Etta
  • Blanche
  • Anya
  • Agnes
  • Agatha
  • Clarence
  • Ernest
  • Elmer
  • Edgar

Middle Names for Alma

Since Alma is a simple first name, it pairs nicely with several types of middle names. Choose long or short middle names that share sounds in common with Alma and that sound compatible overall with Alma.

Sibling Names for Alma

When choosing a name for Alma’s sibling, you want to choose a name that works nicely with Alma, without overshadowing the simple name. Consider names with similar origins, sounds in common, or popularity patterns.

Famous People Named Alma

Alma has been a popular name for both men and women throughout history. Many well-known people with this name lived at the end of the 19th century or the beginning of the early 20th century. People with this name include artists, writers, performers, and more.

  • Alma Claude Burlton Cull: English Painter
  • Alma Adamkiene: Lithuanian philologist and First Lady
  • Alma Alexander: American writer
  • Alma Allen: Danish Resistance member
  • Alma Akermark: Swedish feminist
  • Alma Beltran: Mexican actress
  • Alma Bennett: American actress
  • Alma Cogan: English singer
  • Alma Deutscher: English composer and musician
  • Alma Fahlstrom: Norwegian actress, director, and theatre manager
  • Alma Delia Fuentes: Mexican actress
  • Alma Goatley: British Composer
  • Alma Guillermoprieto: Mexican journalist
  • Alma Karlin: Slovene-Austrian author
  • Alma Reville: English film director, screenwriter, editor
  • Alma Rose: Austrian violinist
  • Alma Sonne: Mormon figure
  • Alma de Bretteville Spreckels: American socialite and art collector
  • Alma Thomas: American painter
  • Alma Zohar: Israeli musician

Alma in Popular Culture

Alma is a fairly popular name in pop culture throughout history. Characters with this name feature in children’s movies and a Tennessee Williams play. The first battle of the Crimean war shares the name of Alma.

  • Battle of Alma: 1854 battle in Crimean War
  • Alma: The Faerie Queene
  • Alma One-Tooth: Irish Folklore
  • Alma Candela: Alma and How She Got Her Name
  • Alma Coin: Mockingjay
  • Alma Elson: Phantom Thread
  • Alma Garret: Deadwood
  • Alma Gutierrez: The Wire
  • Alma Hodge: Desperate Housewives
  • Alma Madrigal: Encanto
  • Alma LeFey Peregrine: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
  • Alma Walker: American Horror Story
  • Alma Winemiller: Summer and Smoke
  • Alma: Persona
  • Alma: The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Alma: Attack on Titan
  • Alma Singer: The History of Love
  • Alma Winograd-Diaz: Undone
  • Alma Whittaker: The Signature of All Things
  • Alma Wade: F.E.A.R.

Alma FAQs

Do any names share meanings with Alma?

Since Alma has so many potential meanings, there are quite a few names that have the same meaning. Many names share Alma’s meaning of nourishing or kind. These names include Anisa, Agatha, Bashir, Calia, Dalia, Damara, Eunice, Felicity, Glenda, Gareth, and Mildred.

Names that mean water include Ford, Maren, Cordelia, Brooke, and Beckett. There are not many names meaning apple, but these include Apple, Melora, Pomeline, Almila, Chamomile, and Pomme.

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