Of Celtic origin and uncertain derivation (possibly a diminutive of a word meaning ‘rock’). It was introduced into England by Breton followers of William the Conqueror, most notably Alan, Earl of Brittany, who was rewarded for his services with vast estates in the newly conquered kingdom. In Britain the variants Allan and Allen are considerably less frequent, and generally represent transferred uses of surname forms, whereas in America all three forms of the name are approximately equally common. See also Alun.
English: occupational name for a keeper of a lodging house, Middle English innmann, from Old English inn ‘abode’, ‘lodging’ + mann ‘man’. Until recently there was in England a technical distinction between an inn, where lodgings were available as well as alcoholic beverages, and a tavern, which offered only the latter.