Alistair – Meaning and Origin

Alistair is a Scottish name derived from the Gaelic personal name Alastar, which is composed of two elements: “alas” meaning “rock” or “stone” and “tair” meaning “one who is noble.” The name was popularized in Scotland by King Malcolm III, who was known as Alastar mac Mhaol Chaluim in Gaelic.

The name Alistair has been used in Scotland since at least the 12th century, when it was recorded as Ailestare. It has also been spelled in various ways over the centuries, including Allaster, Allester, Allister, Alyster, and Elstare.


Alistair is a popular name in Scotland and other parts of the United Kingdom. In England and Wales, it ranked #717 for boys born in 2018. In Scotland, it ranked #51 for boys born in 2018. It is also popular in Australia and New Zealand.

Famous People Named Alistair

There are many famous people named Alistair, including:

  • Alistair Cooke (1908-2004), British-American journalist and broadcaster
  • Alistair MacLeod (1936-2014), Canadian novelist and short story writer
  • Alistair Brownlee (born 1988), British triathlete
  • Alistair Darling (born 1953), British politician
  • Alistair Overeem (born 1980), Dutch mixed martial artist
  • Alistair Appleton (born 1967), British television presenter

Variations of the Name Alistair

Variations of the name Alistair include: Alasdhair, Alastar, Aleister, Allaster, Allester, Allister, Alyster, Elstare.

By Ava Isabella Hartley

Ava Isabella Hartley is a renowned expert in the field of onomastics, the study of names and their meanings, with a particular focus on baby names. She holds a Master's degree in Linguistics from the University of Cambridge and has over 15 years of experience in the study of etymology, name trends, and cultural naming practices.

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