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.