Different Ways to Spell Allen — a Quick Spelling Guide

There are different ways to spell Allen. Allen has been a popular baby name since the sixth century. All of England and beyond caught wind of it, starting in Brittany.

The name is straightforward, formal, has an air of maturity and restraint. Alan can also be spelled as Allen, which most people think of when they think of the surname.

Like Alan, the name comes from Brittany, a region in northwest France with a particular Celtic heritage. People from England, Scotland, and Ireland have their surname as Allen, making it one of the more widespread last names.

Allen has been a popular baby name since the sixth century.
Different Ways to Spell Allen

Brief History of Allen

Britons dominated William the Conqueror’s army at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Alan, the Earl of Brittany, was given enormous tracts of territory in England as a reward for his service to King Henry VIII. And so, he served to popularize the usage of his name.

The Norman Conquest was how the Normans transported Alan to the British Isles. Since medieval times, the names Alan and Allan/Allen have been common in Brittany and the British Isles. 

The only English-speaking country where Alan is still a popular first name for boys is Ireland. Allen as a given name has a distinct North American spelling and a host of other wide range of spellings, including Alan and Allan. The name is one of the top 500 names.

Etymology of Allen

It is unknown where the origin of the name Allen lies. Some consider it to have originated as a surname among the Bretons. The name was first used in Brittany in the sixth century when it spread throughout the Breton peninsula.

After the Norman invasion, numerous settlers transported it to England, where several dukes of Brittany later adopted it.

The name’s Celtic derivation derives from the word “alp, ail,” which means “rock.” It is also found in the current Irish term “ailn,” which means “small rock.” This Irish-Gaelic term was the origin of Allen as a surname (the Gaels being a sect of the Celts).

It’s a traditional Englishman’s name, meaning either “handsome” or “cheerful.” Alan’s initial spelling was Allen.

Different Ways to Spell Allen

Allen contains two syllables and is pronounced as AL-en. Allen was almost always a top 100 baby name between 1900 and 1968. There were four consecutive years in which it rated in the top seventies. The years were 1940, 1942, 1949, and 1950. 

We have curated a list of nicknames, related names, famous names, etc, to ensure you make the right decision when choosing an Allen name. We hope you enjoy our list!

Nicknames of Allen

Alfie, Allan, Ale, Alan, Len, Alen, Alf, Alfi, Lennie, Lenny, Al

Related names for the name Allen:

Erwin, Christopher, Alastair, Carol, Aren, Alton, Arthur, Shawn 

Suitable Middle Names for Allen and Meanings

  • Oakley (wood clearing), Lucas (bringer of light), Russell (red-haired, red-skinned)
  • Montgomery (hill, power), Wyatt (brave, strong), Tyler (doorkeeper of an inn)
  • Henry (house ruler), Kurt (counselor, advisor), William (resolute protector, strong-willed warrior)

How Popular is the Name Allen Today?

Allen was a prevalent male given name in 20th century America. He was a top 100 favorite from the late 1880s until 1970.

The 1990s and the beginning of the new century saw the most significant decline in the use of the name. Allen is already a reasonably common name in the United States (given to about 1,000 baby boys per year).

Irwin “Allen” Ginsberg, the Beat Generation poet, and Woody Allen, the brilliant director, both bear Allen as names. We’d argue that the namesakes are amazing, including Allen Iverson, the basketball player. 

Whether you select Alan or Allen as spelling, the meaning remains the same. Rock-solid!

Seven Fantastic Traits of Allen

Several characteristics make the name Allen so popular in the United States. Since their release after World War II, the name has also been fashionable in America. 

Allen is a name that is constantly in the top 200 boys’ name rankings. We have selected seven Allen traits that you will love. An Allen baby boy is:

  • Authoritative, Tenacious, a Problem-solver 
  • An Achiever, Resilient, Prosperous, and Influential.


Allen as a name has an impressive history, meaning, and variations. Many variables can prepare you for how to spell this name. The name can refer to various people and different meanings about the name’s origin. 

 This article covers how to spell the name, the etymology, its popularity, the history of the name, nicknames, characteristics etc. 

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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