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Gender: Male Meaning of Alan: "handsome, cheerful" Origin of Alan: Irish Alan's Popularity in 2017: #159

The name Alan is a boy's name of Irish origin meaning "handsome, cheerful". Alan is ranked #159 on our popularity charts and is often added to lists like Names That Mean Beautiful and discussed in our forums with posts like "Change two letters (5 names)".

From the experts:

In its three most popular spellings -- Alan along with Allen and Allan -- this midcentury favorite has tended to skew older. It was a Top 100 name from 1938 to 1971, peaking at Number 40 in 1951. Alan has had leading roles on recent TV, in shows like Two and a Half Men, 24 and Boston Legal.

Current bearers include Alan Alda, Alan Cummings, and writers Alan Bennett and Alan Ayckbourn. Alan is a venerable Celtic name, first used in England in the Middle Ages. We like the Welsh spelling Alun.

Find other names based on Alan using our baby name generator.

Famous People Named Alan

Alan Sidney Patrick Rickman, English actor
Alan Cumming, Scottish actor
Alan Davies, English comedian
Alan Irwin Menken, American composer and pianist
Alan Erwin Ball, American screenwriter, producer, and director
Alan Wray Tudyk, American actor
Alan Ladd, American actor
A[lan] A[lexander] Milne, English author
Alan Sillitoe, British novelist, short-story writer and poet
Alan Watts, English philosopher
Alan Tam, Cantonese pop singer
Alan Carr, English comedian and television personality
Alan J. Heeger, American physicist and Nobel Prize laureate in chemistry
Alan Shepard, American astronaut
Alan L. Bean, American astronaut
Alan Ashby, guitarist of American band Of Mice And Men
Alan Turing, British cryptographer and father of computer science
Alan Arkin, American actor
Alan Ritchson, American actor and contestant on NBC show "I Can Do That"
Alan Powell, American actor/singer
Alan Olav Walker, Norwegian record producer and DJ
Alan van Spring, Canadian actor
Cody Alan Williams, son of actor/comedian Robin Williams
Mason Alan Dye, son of actors Cameron Dye and Laura San Giacomo
Brooks Alan Stuber (b. 2012), son of model Molly Sims and Scott Stuber

Pop Culture References for the name Alan

Alan Shepard Tracy, youngest Tracy son from "The Thunderbirds" series
Alan Grant, character from "Jurassic Park"
Alan Harper, character from "Two and a Half Men"
Alan Matthews, dad from the TV show "Boy Meets World"
Alan Shore, character from TV show "Boston Legal" played by James Spader
Alan Wilson, character from the TV series "24"
Alan "The Brain" Powers, character from kids show "Arthur"
Alan Frog, character in the hit film "The Lost Boys"
Alan, character on Freeform's "Recovery Road"
Alan Parrish, lead character in "Jumanji," portrayed by Robin Williams
Alan Diaz, character on TV's "Mighty Med"
Alan Rikkin, character in the film "Assassin's Creed"
"Alan," song by Perfume Genius
Alan Lowenstein, character on TV's "Young & Hungry"

Alan's International Variations

Ailean (Scottish) Alao (Portuguese) Allyn, Aland, Alun (Welsh) Ailin (Irish) Alain (French) Alano (Spanish)


ridgebell0 Says:


My dad's name....handsome & cheerful? Really?

paulapuddephatt Says:


I love this name, with Al for short.

ListenUpButtercup Says:


I think it's a lovely name for a boy

headintheclouds Says:


I much prefer the variant Allen to Alan- gives it a fresher vibe while Alan seems more dated. But I still really like Alan- it brings to mind a quiet intelligent young man (I just realized I probably associate it with Alan Turing- partly off of his real-life pictures and Benedict Cumberbatch's performance of him!). It's a strong and handsome name with roots and a wonderful meaning- who doesn't want their son to be handsome and cheerful? I definitely think Alan deserves more popularity, and its variants (esp. Allen) too.

Catastroffy Says:


This is one of my favourite boys' names!

Margaret Ashton Says:


Love it! This is my favorite spelling.

raevynstar Says:


I'd like to hear everyone's opinion on Alan!