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Gender: F Meaning of Alma: "nurturing, soul" Origin of Alma: Latin Alma's Popularity in 2013: #701

Popularity: this week.

Alma is a somewhat solemn, soulful name that had a burst of popularity a century ago, then faded into the flowered wallpaper, and is now finding its footing once more. It jumped 154 spots between 2012 and 2013, making it one of the fastest-rising names on the recent list.

In addition to being familiar via the term alma mater, Alma has many cultural ties, one of the most recent being as the character Alma Del Mar played by Michelle Williams in the 2005 film Brokeback Mountain. Other characters named Alma have appeared in Deadwood, The Hunger Games, Story and The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. In the Tennessee Williams play Summer and Smoke, a character named Alma explains that her name is "Spanish for soul."

The name became fashionable in England following the Battle of Alma--named for the Russian river--during the Crimean War.

Always well used in Hispanic families, Alma seems to be on the brink of making a comeback, a la Ella and Ada; appreciated for its simplicity, integrity, and--yes-- soul.

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Famous People Named Alma

Alma Beltran (1919-2007), Mexican film actress
Alma Cogan (1932-1966), English singer
Alma Guillermoprieto, Mexican journalist
Alma Redlinger, Romanian painter & illustrator
Alma Reville, director screenwriter & editor; Alfred Hitchcock's wife
Alma Rubens, Silent film actress
Alma Tucakovic, Bosnian singer
Alma Mahler (1879 - 1964), Viennese-born socialite
Alma, Gal Gadot's daughter

Pop Culture References for the Name Alma

Alma Singer, character in the novel The History of Love
Alma Winemiller, main character in Tennessee Williams' play Summer and Smoke
Alma, Kit Walker's wife on American Horror Story: Asylum
Alma, novel by Brazilian writer Oswald de Andrade (1922)
Alma Coin, president of District 13 in The Hunger Games trilogy
Alma Dray, character in the movie Now You See Me
Alma Garret, character on HBO's Deadwood
Alma Peregrine, from the book by Ransom Riggs
Battle of Alma, in 1854
Book of Alma, one of many sections that make up the Book of Mormon
Alma, tropical storm that hit Nicaragua in 2008
Alma Wade, character in the 'F.E.A.R.' video game series

Allma, Almah