Quick Facts on Alan
- Celtic, Gaelic
- Number of syllables:
- Ranking popularity:
Etymology & Historical Origin - Alan
It appears that Alan came from Brittany, an area of northwest France that is distinctly Celtic in origin, and was brought to the British Isles by way of the Norman Conquest. The name’s Celtic etymology comes from the word “alp, ail” meaning ‘rock’ which can also be found in the modern Irish “ailín” meaning ‘little rock.’ Related perhaps is the Gaelic meaning ‘cheerful and harmonious’ or the Scottish Gaelic “àlainn” meaning ‘beautiful.’ There were a couple early St. Alans from Brittany and Cornwall which likely influenced the name’s usage in the Middle Ages. However, it was the Norman Conquest of England that had the most significant impact. William the Conqueror’s army at the Battle of Hastings (1066) was largely comprised of men from Brittany. One of his finest allies, Alan, the Earl of Brittany, was awarded large swaths of land in England for his participation. Alan (French: Alain; Welsh: Alun) and Allan/Allen have always been fairly popular names in Brittany and on the British Isles since medieval times. However, today, Ireland is the only English-speaking country where Alan remains a Top 100 choice.
Popularity of the Name Alan
The name Alan has been around since the U.S. government (by way of the Social Security Department) began tracking the usage of names in 1880. At the turn of the 20th century, Alan’s popularity is barely moderate. However, by the 1930s, he starts to dance his way up the charts. The late 1940s through 1950s is the peak of Alan’s popularity when it manages to maintain a position on the Top 50 most favored boy’s names for 15 straight years. The name shows a reversal of fortune in the 1960s and finally falls off the Top 100 list of most-favored boys’ names in 1972. Today, Alan hovers around 150th most commonly used boy’s name which means it’s bestowed upon 2,500 little boys each year. The name has Celtic origins, but somehow doesn’t sound as Celtic as names like Colin, Tristan or Bryce. Alan was also a mid-century standard; a 1950s favorite – which calls into mind other names like Larry, Jerry, Ronald and Donald. However, Alan has gracefully aged, managing to hold onto its popularity longer than these other older mid-century contemporaries. Since most of the Alans in America are likely close to the age of 60, we wouldn’t be surprised if parents are choosing this moniker in homage to the baby boy’s grandfather. Whatever the reason, we think Alan is a “rock” solid choice.
Popularity of the Boy Name Alan
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Alan
Literary Characters of the Baby Name Alan
Alan Breck Stewart (Kidnapped) Alan is one of the two major character of Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1886 novel, Kidnapped, the other being David Balfour. Stewart’s character is based upon the true life story of the Scottish Highlander who rebels against the English, supporting the claim of the Stuarts to the throne of Scotland. He is a mentor to the young, inexperienced and orphaned Davey, helping him through hair-raising situations, teaching him the meaning of survival and assists him in capturing his true birthright. Largely viewed as a boy’s story of adventure, it has nonetheless held its own over the years as an exciting, swashbuckling tale of coming of age that appeals to all.
Popular Songs on Alan
Alan Watts Blues - a song by Van Morrison
Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast - a song by Pink Floyd
Down to a River (Alan’s Song) - a song by Connie Kaldor
Children's Books on the Baby Name Alan
Alan and Naomi (Myron Levoy) - It’s 1944 in New York City. Alan Silverman doesn’t want to give up his stickball game for anyone—especially not for crazy-acting Naomi Kirshenbaum. But when he hears about her horrifying experience during the war in France, Alan changes his mind. Slowly, he struggles to befriend her, and one day—miraculously—she begins to trust him. Alan finds she is not only intelligent, but also fun to be with. But the scars of war are still very much with Naomi. New York Times voted this a Best Book for Children. Recommended for ages 9-12.
Alan Shepard: Higher and Faster (Janet Benge) - Fascinated with flight since childhood, Alan Shepard's life-long passion led him from constructing model planes in his grandfather's basement to attaining national hero status as the first American launched into space. Hailed as "America's Lindbergh of Space," Shepard's achievements in aviation, business, and philanthropy inspire all who dare to live their dreams (1923-1998). Heroes of History is a unique biography series that brings the shaping of history to life with the remarkable true stories of fascinating men and women who changed the course of history. Recommended for ages 9-12.
Famous People Named Alan
Famous People Named Alan - Alan Alda (actor); Alan Greenspan (economist); Alan Ladd (actor); Alan Napier (British actor); Alan Parsons (musician); Alan Shepard (first American in space); Alan Thicke (actor); Alan Arkin (actor)
Children of Famous People Named Alan
Famous People who Named their Son Alan - David Brinkley (newscaster); George Osmond (patriarch of the Osmond family of entertainers)
Alan - Boy Baby Name - Historic Figures
Alan Bartlett Shepard, Jr. (18 Nov 1923-21 Jul 1998) - Alan Shepherd was a Navy aviator and NASA astronaut who made history in 1961 as the first American (and second man) in space. In 1971 he would go onto command the Apollo 14 mission and become the fifth person to walk on the moon. Shepard was promoted from captain to rear admiral on August 25, 1971 and retired from the US Navy and NASA in 1974. Shepherd also earned the Distinguished Flying Cross medal.
Personality of the Boy Name Alan
The number one personality is a leader - strong and competitive. They are willing to initiate action and take risks. One personalities work hard toward their endeavors and have the ability to apply their creative and innovative thinking skills with strong determination. They believe in their ability to succeed and are too stubborn to be hindered by obstacles. Ones meet obstacles head-on with such mental vigor and energy that you better step aside. They resent taking orders, so don't try telling them what to do either. This is an intensely active personality, but they are also known as starters rather than finishers. They have a propensity to become bored and will move quickly to the next project if not properly challenged. They are the ones to think up and put into action new and brilliant ideas, but they are not the ones to stick around and manage them. This personality has an enthusiastic and pioneering spirit. They are distinctly original.
Variations of the Baby Name - Alan