The name is of debated origin and meaning, and is usually narrowed down to two possible origins and meanings, one, the most popular theory, is that it is a French Norman form of Alaïs, which is an old French form of the Germanic, Adalheid, meaning, “noble; high.” Other sources like to link the name with a Greek source, meaning, “truth”, however, though this is a popular etymology, I was never able to confirm it.
Alice was quite popular in Medieval Europe, as were her offshoots: Alicia, Alix and Alison.
In 1880, Alice was the 8th most popular female name in the United States, today, Alice stands at a meagre # 326, being replaced by her more modern sounding counterparts: Alicia and Allison.
Allison is the 32nd most popular female name in the United States, (2008).
Contrary to popular belief, Allison/Alison is a very old feminine given name, which can be traced all the way back to the Normans. Its was originally a diminutive form of Aalis, (the Norman form of Alice), and was introduced into England during the 11th-century. Allison/Alison disappeared at the end of the Middle Ages, and was revived in the 20th-century. She first appeared in the U.S. top 1000 in 1946, coming in as the 903rd most popular female name.
Another very current version is Alicia, which is actually fading in popularity. As of 2008, she was the # 178th most popular female name in the United States, but back in 1983, she was the 41st most popular female name.
The Alice is form is not just relegated to English-speaking countries. Her usage is found in France, pronounced, (ah-LEES), in Italy as (ah-LEE-che), in the Czech Republic as (ah-LEET-seh). She is also used in German-speaking countries, Portuguese-speaking countries and in Scandinavia. Her current rankings are as follows:
- # 99 (Australia, 2008)
- # 58 (Belgium, 2006)
- # 46 (England/Wales, 2008)
- # 358 (Germany, 2009)
- # 85 (Ireland, 2008)
- # 10 (Italy, 2006)
- # 488 (the Netherlands, 2008)
- # 1 (Sweden, 2009)
Her Latinate counterpart of Alicia is also very transcultural, her rankings are as follows:
- # 97 (Australia, 2008)
- # 62 (Belgium, 2006)
- # 95 (England/Wales, 2008)
- # 94 (Germany, 2009)
- # 110 (the Netherlands, 2008)
- # 17 Alicja (Poland, 2008)
- # 90 (Scotland, 2008)
- # 43 (Spain, 2008)
- # 29 (Sweden, 2009)
Other forms of the name include:
- Alizia (Aragonese)
- Licia (Asturian)
- Alike (Basque)
- Alícia (Catalan/Spanish: ah-LEE-thee-ah Spanish European. ah-LEE-see-ah Latin American Spanish)
- Alice (Czech/Danish/Dutch/English/French/German/Icelandic/Italian/Norwegian/Swedish)
- Alicia (English/Galician/German/Italian: ah-LEE-shuh in English and ah-LEE-chah in Italian)
- Aila/Aile (Estonian)
- Aili (Estonian/Scottish)
- Aliise (Estonian)
- Aliisa (Finnish)
- Alison (French)
- Alix (French: ah-LEEKS)
- Aliki/Alíkē Aλίκη (Greek: Modern)
- Aliz (Hungarian)
- Ailís (Irish-Gaelic: AY-leesh)
- Alise (Latvian)
- Alicija (Lithuanian)
- Ealee (Manx)
- Ealish (Manx)
- Aalis (Norman)
- Alicja (Polish: ah-LEET-syah)
- Alisa Алиса (Russian)
- Aileas (Scots-Gaelic)
- Alica (Slovakian: ah-LEET-sah)
- Allis (Swedish)
- Alis (Welsh)
An obscure Italian masculine form is Alicio.
In popular fiction, it is borne by the protagonist of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865).
Designated name-days are Janury 15 (Czech Republic), June 23rd (Sweden), September 16 (Estonia) and December 16 (France).