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 Happy and discussed in our forums with posts like "Heaven Hell or Purgatory- Boys".
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.