Unisex Baby Name


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Quick Facts on Ali

  • Gender:
  • Unisex
  • Origin:
  • American, Arabic
  • Number of syllables:
  • 2
  • Ranking popularity:
  • N/A
ahl-EE, AL-ee
Simple meaning:
Lofty, sublime

Characteristics of Ali

  • Dependable
  • Solid
  • Practical
  • Hard-working
  • Industrious
  • Studious
  • Conservative

Etymology & Historical Origin - Ali

Ali is a unisex name within English-speaking countries and could be used for various reasons. Most notably, Ali is an Arabic masculine name meaning "lofty, sublime". It was borne by a cousin of Muhammad who married the Prophet’s beloved daughter Fāṭima. Ali was the fourth and final caliph to rule the Islamic world, and his two sons are recognized by the Shiites as Muhammad’s true successors. Ali Baba is also a fictional character from medieval Arabic literature; the hero of the folktale “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”. Ali Baba is an honest man and simple woodcutter who happens upon the treasure trove of forty thieves in a cave which he is able to enter with the magic words: “Open Sesame”. The name Ali for boys has also been inspired by the boxing legend Muhammad Ali (nee Cassius Clay). For girls, the name Ali is generally considered a short form of Alison or any given name that begins with this syllable. It could also be short for boys named Alistair. As a pet form, Ali has become an independently given name in its own right. For obvious reason, the masculine Ali is extremely popular in Muslim countries such as Iraq, Iran and Turkey. Ali is ranked in the Top 50 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and it’s also a Top 100 name in Sweden and Australia. Globally, Ali is considered masculine, but the United States uses it on both genders.

Popularity of the Name Ali

As mentioned above, Ali is only unisex in the United States (as an independently given name), but it is still quite a bit more popular for boys than for girls. The name first appeared on the U.S. male naming charts in 1969 which coincided with Muhammad Ali’s fame as a boxer. Ali has climbed on the male charts over the decades and has now reached levels of mild moderation. Certainly the small but growing Arab-American population is contributing to Ali’s growing usage. For girls, Ali debuted on the chart in 1985 and has, for the most part, languished at very low levels of popularity. In fact, the name dropped completely off the girl charts for most of the early and mid-2000s. It’s only been back in use since 2008, and appears to be faring better now.
Popularity of the Unisex Name Ali
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Ali

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Ali

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Ali

    Ali (The Kite Runner) Ali is a character in Khaled Hosseini’s 2003 bestseller, The Kite Runner, which was made into a film of the same name in 2007. Ali is (thought to be) the father of Hassan, who is young Amir’s best friend. Ali is a servant of Amir’s wealthy father, Baba. Against the backdrop of Afghanistan’s troubled twentieth century history, this tale of two young friends plays itself out in a heart wrenching display of the consequences of betrayal and guilt. Eventually the sins of Amir are reconciled by a cruel twist of fate after many years, but it is poor Ali who seems to bear the brunt of destiny’s cruelties in this tale. He was a childhood victim of polio, leaving him crippled, and thus the object of torment by other children. Ali’s own parents were killed by a drunken driver, and he was adopted into the household of Baba. After young Amir’s betrayal of Hassan, Ali takes the boy and they leave. As the novel unfolds, we learn that Baba had an affair with Ali’s wife, and is actually the father of Hassan. Insult upon injury. Ali’s final destiny is to step on a land mine and die. Not a very uplifting end to a very sad life, but for the Alis of the world, virtue truly does seem to be its own reward, with the extra added attraction of the promise of better things to come in the next world.

    Ali Baba (Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves) Ali Baba is a fictional character from old Arabic folk literature, first appearing in print as part of Antoine Galland’s translation of The Thousand and One Nights published between 1704 and 1717. “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”, however, is thought by some scholars to be his own invention. Be that as it may, Ali Baba is one of the most popular characters ever, having been presented in numerous media forms over the years, both for children and adults. Ali Baba is a good, poor woodcutter who overhears a band of thieves talking about their hidden treasures. Under cover of night, he goes to the cave they have described and, saying the magic words, “Open Sesame”, he retrieves some of it for himself. His evil brother, however, upon learning of this adventure, lets greed overtake him and tries to take all the bounty. Forgetting the magic words, he is caught by the thieves and killed. Ali Baba finds his body and takes it home, thus allowing the thieves to realize that yet another person knows the location of their treasure. At this point, Ali Baba enlists the help of one of his brother’s slave-girls, Morgiana, and from this point out, it’s her story. She is the one who artfully thwarts the thieves in their every attempt to find Ali Baba’s identity, time and again, ultimately killing off most of them. For her troubles, she is freed and married off to Ali Baba’s son. We guess that’s a pretty good reward, but there is one troublesome issue in Ali Baba’s story – didn’t all that treasure belong to someone else in the first place? First come find stolen goods, first get to keep stolen goods? Hmmm, just sayin’…

  • Popular Songs on Ali

    Popular Songs on Ali

    Ali - a rap by Proof [explicit]

    Muhammad Ali - a song by Faithless

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Ali

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Ali

    Ali and the Magic Stew (Shulamith Levey Oppenheim) - Publishers Weekly reviews: “An uplifting tale...Ali ibn Ali, the spoiled son of a rich merchant, scoffs at the beggar outside their palace gates and asks why his parents allow him to sit there. "A true Muslim gives to the poor, the crippled, the homeless, the hungry. That beggar is all of these," replies his mother, "a woman of great beauty and even greater kindness." When Ali's beloved father falls ill after a business trip, he requests shula kalambar, a stew. The beggar at the gate tells Ali that he must beg for the money to buy the stew's components. The boy swallows his pride and dons the beggar's ragged cloak to help his father, enduring jeers and catcalls until he completes his mission. His father is healed, and Ali, full of new humility, approaches the beggar he once despised to thank him. Recommended for ages 5-8.

    Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (Claudia Venturini) - Step into the magical world of Child's Play fairy tales. Traditional tales are a well-established part of all cultures. Retold from the originals, these lively stories will captivate readers with their delightful illustrations and fun lift-up flaps which really add to the action. The 'flip-up' flaps encourage prediction and discussion, and well-known stories will give young readers confidence. Recommended for ages 3-6.

    Ali Baba: Fooling the Forty Thieves: An Arabian Tale (Marie P. Croall) - From the pages of Arabian Nights comes an amazing tale of chance and adventure. Ali Baba, a poor man who makes his living selling wood, stumbles upon a secret cave where 40 bandits have been hiding priceless treasures. He enters the cave and decides to take some treasures for himself. Ali Baba's wife is thrilled at their newfound fortune--but when she borrows a scale to weigh the riches, Ali Baba's secret gets out. Now that the secret is revealed, will Ali Baba be able to keep his fortune? Or will the bandits get their revenge? Recommended for ages 9-12.

    Clever Ali (Nancy Farmer) - Three-time Newbery Honor Book author Nancy Farmer joins bestselling artist Gail de Marcken in this enchanting, original tale told in the tradition of the Arabian Nights. Ali is finally old enough to join his father in tending pigeons for the evil Sultan of Cairo. The boy is given a pet pigeon, but warned NEVER to feed it too much, lest it become spoiled and lazy. But Ali feels sorry for his hungry pet and disobeys. When the overfed bird becomes greedy and ruins a plate of the Sultan's cherries, Ali is in big trouble! Now he has only three days to replace the Sultan's 600 cherries from the snowy mountains of Syria. Only then can he save his father from the dreaded Oubliette: a deep pit where a giant demon is waiting! Recommended for ages 6-9.

    Cool Ali (Nancy Poydar) - On a hot summer day in the city, Ali decides to draw refreshing scenes on her sidewalk that amazingly come to life, as a lake becomes real, an umbrella provides shade, and a blizzard cools off the whole block, making Ali a real hero to all her neighbors. Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Doctor Who: The Nightmare of Black Island (Mike Tucker) - On a lonely stretch of Welsh coastline, a fisherman is killed by a hideous creature from beneath the waves. When the Doctor and Rose arrive, they discover a village where the children are plagued by nightmares, and the nights are ruled by monsters. The villagers suspect that ancient industrialist Nathanial Morton is to blame, but the Doctor has suspicions of his own. Who are the ancient figures that sleep in the old priory? What are the monsters that prowl the woods after sunset? What is the light that glows in the disused lighthouse on Black Island? As the children's nightmares get worse, the Doctor and Rose discover an alien plot to resurrect an ancient evil...Recommended for ages 13+

    Muhammad Ali: The People's Champion (Walter Dean Myers) - "I am America. I am the part you won't recognize. But get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me." He was born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., in Louisville, Kentucky. His very first boxing coach, former police officer Joe Martin, told him, "You better learn how to fight before you start challenging people." Once considered the underdog, Cassius, later known as Muhammad Ali, would eventually win the title of heavyweight champion of the world. Acclaimed author Walter Dean Myers recounts the champ's most famous fights and examines the depth and complexity of the larger-than-life legend Muhammad Ali. The bold, vibrant art of Alix Delinois reflects the beauty and power of the man who could "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee." Recommended for ages 6-9.

    The Adventures of Ali Baba Bernstein (Johanna Hurwitz) - Eight-year-old David Bernstein discovers life is much more exciting when he calls himself Ali Baba Bernstein. Only Ali Baba would have dared to grab the class snail and escape to the boys' room for his own magic experiment. David would never have invited every David Bernstein in the phone book to his birthday party -- or find himself hailed as a great detective -- or discover adventures and misadventures everywhere he went. But Ali Baba Bernstein does! Recommended for ages 7-10.

  • Famous People Named Ali

    Famous People Named Ali

    Famous People Named Ali - Ali ibn Abu Talib (Muslim religious figure); Ali Larter (actress, born Alison Elizabeth); Ali MacGraw (actress, born Elizabeth Alice); Ali Landry (model/actress); Ali (Bollywood film star); Ali Krieger (soccer player, born Alexandra); Ali Ryerson (jazz artist); Muhammad Ali (boxing legend)

  • Children of Famous People Named Ali

    Children of Famous People Named Ali

    Famous People Who Named Their Child Ali - We cannot find any celebrities or famous people who have named their child Ali.

  • Historic Figures

    Ali - Unisex Baby Name - Historic Figures

    Muhammad Ali (17 Jan 1942 – Present) - Muhammad Ali (nee Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr.) is an American icon, loved by some, hated by others, but hardly ever ignored. Born January 17, 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky, Cassius Clay rose to fame by winning an Olympic Gold Medal for boxing in the 1960 Olympics and went on to even greater acclaim as a three-time World Heavyweight champion, making the game glamorous to a much wider audience than usual in the early to mid sixties. A handsome man, a powerful fighter, and a lyrical wit, he reached the masses with his good looks and quotable charm. Converting to Islam in 1964, after having been recruited by Malcolm X, he changed his name to Muhammad Ali. He was subsequently stripped of his title when he refused to fight in Vietnam, famously asserting: “I ain’t got no fight with them Viet Cong…” His conviction as a draft dodger was later overturned. Operating under the assertion that in the ring he would “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”, Muhammad Ali maintained the title over such luminaries as Archie Moore, George Foreman, Sonny Liston, Ken Norton and Joe Frazier. He was forced into retirement after the onset of Parkinson’s Disease. In his later years, Muhammad Ali has been a kind of elder statesman, giving time and money to various charities and causes. President George W. Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005. His life story was made into a very successful movie called Ali in 2001, starring Will Smith, who was nominated for an Oscar for the role. Married four times, he is the father of nine children.

Personality of the Unisex Name Ali

The number Four personality is marked by stability and discipline. This is the personality that follows the rules and is conservative by nature.  They have an earth-bound energy that prefers to build things methodically on top of firm foundations; they don't cut corners. Fours take their time and don't like to be hurried. But the outcome of their endeavors is likely to result in some strong and useful structure, which makes them great engineers and inventors. Fours are anything but frivolous or controversial. This is a trustworthy, straight-forward personality that embodies dedication and organization. They are the backbone and anchor in their relationships, careers and communities. They are tidy, punctual, and full of integrity. Hard-work comes naturally to a Four and they are immensely reliable. This is the personality you can always count on.

Variations of the Baby Name - Ali

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