Alister – Meaning of the Name

Alister is a Scottish name derived from the Gaelic “Alasdair”, which means “defender of mankind”. It is a popular name in Scotland and has been used as a first name since the 12th century. The name Alister is also found in other countries such as Ireland, England, and Wales.

History and Origin

The origin of the name Alister can be traced back to the ancient Gaelic language. In Gaelic, Alasdair was a common name meaning “defender of mankind”. This was likely due to its association with St. Andrew, who was known as the protector of Scotland. The name Alister was first recorded in Scotland in 1296 when it was given to a son of King Alexander III.

The popularity of the name Alister increased over time and it became one of the most popular names in Scotland during the 19th century. During this period, many people chose to use the shortened version of the name, Alistair, instead of its full form. This trend continued into the 20th century and today Alistair is still one of the most popular names in Scotland.


Alister is not a particularly common name outside of Scotland but it does have some presence in other countries such as Ireland, England, and Wales. In recent years, it has become more popular in North America due to its association with celebrities such as actor Alistair MacGowan and singer Alistair Griffin.

In terms of popularity, Alister ranks at number 890 on Nameberry’s list of most popular baby names for 2020. It is also ranked at number 545 on Social Security Administration’s list for 2020.

Famous People Named Alister

There are several famous people who bear the name Alister including:

  • Actor Alistair MacGowan
  • Singer Alistair Griffin
  • Scottish footballer Ally McCoist
  • British politician Alistair Darling
  • Scottish actor Alan Cumming

Variations of the Name

The variations of the name Alister include: Allistar, Allaster, Allastar, Allastor, Allistor, Allustar.

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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