Meaning and Origin of: Alan

Meaning and Origin of Alan

Boy name origins & meanings

  • Gaelic : Handsome

What does Alan mean and stand for?

The name Alan is of Gaelic origin and means "handsome, cheerful." It's been used as early as the 6th century and was very popular during the Middle Ages.

Syllables: 2

Boy name variations

Family name origins & meanings

  • English and Scottish : variant spelling of Allen. This is the usual spelling of the personal name in England and Scotland, but is infrequent as a surname.

Famous people with this first name


According to Social Security Administration data, Alan has remained fairly stagnant, staying in the top 200 since 2000. It maintained a spot in the top 150 between 2001 and 2010, with a peak rank of 122 in 2006. It is still much more popular than its brother spellings Allen and Allan.

However, it is the 10th most popular name on

According to Google search data analysis, in the last five years Alan was at its peak popularity in December 2016.

Alan has been quite the popular choice for fictional characters, appearing in Two and a Half Men, The Young and the Restless, Jurrasic Park, Boston Legal, Sesame Street, Boy Meets World, and 24 to name a few. Alan also invokes the images of various namesakes, such as Alan Sidney Patrick Rickman, Alan Cumming, Alan Ladd, A[lan] A[lexander] Milne, Alan J. Heeger, and Alan Arkin to name a few. Comedian Robin Williams, actors Cameron Dye and Laura San Giacomo, and model Molly Sims and Scott Stuber all chose the name Alan for their sons.

Where is it Popular?

Alan was searched for most often in the following states:

Nicknames for Alan

  • Al

Pairs well with these middle names