Humanities › History & Culture ALI Surname Meaning and Family History What Does the Last Name Ali Mean? Share Flipboard Email Print Muhammad Ali, perhaps the most famous individual with the Ali surname, was actually born Cassius Clay. Bettmann / Getty Images History & Culture Genealogy Surnames Basics Genealogy Fun Vital Records Around the World American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture Asian History European History Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By Kimberly Powell Genealogy Expert Certificate in Genealogical Research, Boston University B.A., Carnegie Mellon University Kimberly Powell is a professional genealogist and the author of The Everything Guide to Online Genealogy. She teaches at the Genealogical Institute of Pittsburgh and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. our editorial process Kimberly Powell Updated March 29, 2019 The Ali surname derived from the Arabic root ʕ-l-w, which literally means "high," "elevated," or "exalted." The Ali surname is especially common in Arab countries and the rest of the Muslim world. Surname Origin: Arabic Famous People with the ALI Surname Muhammad Ali (born Cassius Clay) - American athlete, boxer and philanthropistLaila Ali - athlete, boxer and television personality; daughter of Muhammad AliTatyana Ali - American actress, model and R&B singerImtiaz Ali - Indian film director and writer Where Is the ALI Surname Most Common? According to surname distribution from Forebears, Ali is the 38th most common surname in the world—found most prevalently in India where over 1.1 million people bear the name. The Ali surname is among the ten most common last names in Bahrain (1st), the Maldives (2nd), Trinidad and Tobago (2nd), Sudan (3rd), Tanzania (7th), Algeria (7th), Chad (8th), Fiji (9th) and India (9th). Surname maps from WorldNames PublicProfiler also show the Ali surname as especially common in India, but does not include data from most Arab countries. Other regions where the Ali surname is fairly common include Kosovo and several regions of England (South East, West Midlands, North West, and Yorkshire and Humberside. Genealogy Resources for the Surname ALI Ali Family Genealogy Forum: This free message board is focused on descendants of Ali ancestors around the world. Search or browse the archives for your Ali ancestors, or join the group and post your own Ali family query.FamilySearch - ALI Genealogy: Explore over 1 million results from digitized historical records and lineage-linked family trees related to the Ali surname on this free website hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.GeneaNet - Ali Records: GeneaNet includes archival records, family trees, and other resources for individuals with the Ali surname, with a concentration on records and families from France and other European countries. Resources and Further Reading Cottle, Basil. Penguin Dictionary of Surnames. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1967.Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Collins Celtic (Pocket edition), 1998.Fucilla, Joseph. Our Italian Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 2003.Hanks, Patrick and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1989.Hanks, Patrick. Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press, 2003.Reaney, P.H. A Dictionary of English Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1997.Smith, Elsdon C. American Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997.