Freshen Up: Alice


Alice is a well-loved classic coming back into fashion after a drop that began in the 30’s. For parents who aren’t keen on the classic form, there are plenty of other options.

Alix- This Medieval French variant of Alice (technically pronounced a-LEEKS) shares the toughness and spunk common to most –x ending names. I think the pronunciation could be a barrier to this name catching on; most Americans would probably think it a homonym of “Alex,” and parents seeking that pronunciation could make life much simpler by using the E spelling.

Adelaide- Adelaide shares a root with Alice- Adalheidis, meaning “noble kind.” It’s become quite trendy in recent years, rising over 600 points in 10 years.

Ailis- Pronounced AY-lish or AY-leesh, this Irish form of Alice is probably the most exotic on the list. Ailis is a very old variant, possibly in use for the last 700 years.

Alison- Alison is the rare –son name that isn’t a patronym. Instead, it’s a medieval Norman diminutive of Aalis, which was a common form of Alice centuries ago. It’s trending down, but I’d categorize Alison

Heidi- Like Adelaide, Heidi comes from Alice’s original form, Adalheidis. Heidi peaked in the 70’s, but hasn’t declined sharply. It still ranks #343, down from its peak of #60, but holding steady.

Celia- While Celia isn’t etymologically related to Alice, it is related in a much simpler way: it’s an anagram! Celia comes from the Roman name Caelius, meaning “heaven.” Curiously, this is a separate name from Cecilia, which is from the name Caecilius (“blind”).

Alessandra- Obviously, Alessandra is a variant of Alexandra. But because the first two syllables are pronounced identically to Alice, I included it. Alessandra has been gradually gaining popularity since the 80’s.

Alcyone- Alcyone, pronounced al-SEE-uh-nee, is a Greek mythology name. The mythological Alcyone, like many in Greek mythology, met a tragic fate: she was transformed into a kingfisher. Alcyone is also a celestial name, the brightest star in the constellation Taurus. Like Alessandra, I’ve included Alcyone because of its sound- I think it’s close enough that Alice could even work as a nickname.

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