Alastair, Alistair or Alasdair?

I am really unsure how to spell this when we go to use it. I am trying to work out the most used spelling to save hassles, but that appears to vary from location and experiennce. I am currently living in Australia,all feedback is great especilally from my fellow Aussies. Middle name will be Cillian if that helps. 


The variations we are considering are only those 3 as they appear to be the most common. Thanks.


February 24, 2016 4:28 AM

My default assumption is Alistair, and when I used the name on a beloved pet (after the Spouse vetoed it for a child), that's how we spelled it. (I remember vets/groomers coming up with all kinds of different spellings, though!) My impression that this is the most usual spelling is borne out by the American relative useage: in 2014 there were 175 Alistairs, 36 Alastairs and 29 Alasdairs born. (There were also 59 Alisters.)

I think that when there's a more spelling that's substantially more commonly used than the other spellings, locally, then it makes sense to use that spelling unless there's some particular reason otherwise. Not to say that you shouldn't honor great uncle Alystar with using that spelling... or if you have a particular historical namesake or a family heritage that makes one spelling more meaningful, then I think it's okay to pick a more obscure spelling variant -- Alistair is a name you'll be spelling out anyway. But as a tiebreaker, I'd use the most currently popular spelling in your area, if there is a clear winner. Do you have access to Aussie stats  that could help you decide?


February 24, 2016 10:26 AM

The only thing I've come close to is comparing the ratio in Australia on Facebook. Both Alastair and Alistair are quite popular although Alistair is ahead. If we go by my state: Alistair 40 and Alastair 30. Not a huge difference really. 

February 24, 2016 10:37 AM

Google has 18,800,000 hits for Alistair (pages not including Alastair) and 14,900,000 for Alastair (pages not including Alistair) -- seems to be roughly the same ratio as you found. I agree that's not a make-or-break difference.

I would potentially look at pop culture/historical associations and whether there are any particular ones you'd like to be able to point to as your son grows up.

Or perhaps given that Alistair and Alastair are both anglicized versions of Alasdair, perhaps you could upvote Alastair as being closer to the original, and more of a compromise between the spellings that appeal to you?

Perhaps you like that Alistair, like "A-list like Hollywood" and "air like you breathe" is a mnemonic for spelling out? Or "Ali, like the boxer, and stair like steps"? I would enjoy repeating either often more than "a last air", which is also a good mnemonic but makes me think of dying breaths. ("Alas!" isn't much better, plus then "tair" isn't really a word you can parse.)

Or perhaps you can look at the full name (with and without the middle name and with and without a middle initial) in different fonts and see which appeals more, visually?

If it helps, I really don't think you can go wrong - it's a great name by any spelling.

February 24, 2016 6:54 AM

As an Australian I've seen all 3 spellings used  -

Alasdair - I have only seen once and it is never spelt correctly (I would probably steer away from that spelling)

Alastair Is my automatic guess if it it pronounced a-las-STAIR, but if it's a-lis-STAIR I would guess Alistair.

its a rare enough name in Australia for you to choose between Alastair and Alistair. If it goes down to picking hairs, Cillian is 'i' heavy so I would probably choose Alastair. (I also think Alastair looks more balanced than Alistair)

Alastair Cillian or Alistair Cillian - which looks better to you? and how do you pronounce it?

February 24, 2016 10:07 AM

I actually pronounce it Al-uh-stuh/Al-uh-ster as thats how I've heard all 3 spellings said. They both look good . As for name stats I've tried looking to no avail. Thanks for all the feedback so far it's helping me make decisions. I know an Alistair and Alastair, which doesn't help me much at present.