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Maria (given name)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Word/nameLatin, Greek, Hebrew, Coptic
MeaningSeveral meanings:
1) "bitter",
2) "beloved",
4)"wished-for child",
6)"drop of the sea",
Other names
Variant form(s)Mariah, Marie, Marija, Mariya
Related namesMary, Maryam, Miriam, Mari, Maya, Maris

Maria is a feminine given name. It is given in many languages influenced by Christianity.

It was used as the feminine form of the unrelated Roman name Marius (see Maria gens),[2] and, after Christianity has spread across the Roman empire, it became the Latinised form of the name of Miriam: Mary, mother of Jesus.

Maria (Greek: Μαρία) is a form of the name used in the New Testament, standing alongside Mariam (Μαριάμ). It reflects the Syro-Aramaic name Maryam, which is in turn derived from the Biblical Hebrew name Miriam. As a result of their similarity and syncretism, the Latin original name Maria and the Hebrew-derived Maria combined to form a single name.

In Germanic languages, the name's usage is connected with the Germanic element *mar meaning "famous".

The name is also sometimes used as a male (middle) name. This was historically the case in many Central Europe countries and still is the case in countries with strong Catholic traditions, where it signified patronage of the Virgin Mary (French-speakers often did the same with Marie).

In the Arabic language the name Mariam (مريم) (also written: Meryem, Mariya) means either "white beautiful woman" or "white cow" or "a little bird with the same size as a pigeon",[3] and it is quite popular in North Africa. One of the feminine Sahaba had the name Maria, Maria the Coptic.

Variants and usage[edit]

The Annunciation by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1850.

Maria was a frequently given name in southern Europe even in the medieval period. In addition to the simple name, there arose a tradition of naming girls after specific titles of Mary, feast days associated with Mary and specific Marian apparitions (such as María de los Dolores, María del Pilar, María del Carmen etc., whence the derived given names of Dolores, Pilar, Carmen etc.). By contrast, in northern Europe the name only rose to popularity after the Reformation.[4]

Because the name is so frequent in Christian tradition, a tradition of giving compound names has developed, with a number of such compounds themselves becoming very popular. Examples, among numerous others, include:

As a feminine given name, Maria ranked 109th in the United States as of 2015, down from rank 31 held during 1973–1975.[5] The English form Mary was at rank 214 as of 2015, after a much steeper decline down from being raked first consistently during 1880–1968.[6]

Spelling variants of Maria include: Mária (Hungarian, Slovakian), María (Greek, Icelandic, Spanish), Máire and Muire (Irish), Marya (transliterated from Cyrillic), Marija (Latvian, but also used in other Balto-Slavic languages) and Maria (Polish). Due to a very strong devotion of Irish and Polish Catholics to the Blessed Virgin Mary, a special exception is made for two other forms of her name – Muire and Maryja: no one else may take that name, similar to the way the name Jesus is not used in most languages. The English form Mary is derived via French Marie.

A great number of hypocoristic forms are in use in numerous languages. Cyrillic Maryam and Miriam have numerous variants, such as

  • Mariami (Georgian)
  • Mariamma, biblical Mariamme, Mariamne
  • Məryəm (Azerbaijani)
  • Meryem (Kurdish, Turkish)
  • Myriam (French)

The spelling in Semitic abjads is mrym: Aramaic ܡܪܝܡ, Hebrew מרים, Arabic مريم.

Cyrillic spellings are Мария (Maríja) (Russian, Bulgarian), Марыя (Marýja) (Belarusian), Марія (Maríja) (Ukrainian) and Марија (Marija) (Serbian, Macedonian).

Georgian uses მარიამ (Mariam) and მარია (Maria); Armenian has Մարիամ (Mariam).

Chinese has adopted the spelling 瑪麗 (simplified 玛丽, pinyin Mǎlì).

The variant Mariah (usually pronounced /məˈrə/) was rarely given in the United States prior to the 1990s, when it bounced in popularity, from rank 562 in 1989 to rank 62 in 1998, in imitation of the name of singer Mariah Carey (whose Vision of Love topped the charts in 1990).


Fictional characters[edit]

  • Maria, a fictional character played by Laura Nicole in the British web series Corner Shop Show
  • Maria, a villain character in the tokusatsu Chōjin Sentai Jetman
  • Maria, the youngest princess of Macedon in the Fire Emblem video game series.
  • Maria, a character from the American television series Sesame Street
  • Maria, a young Pakistani girl from the animated film Iqbal: Bambini Senza Paura
  • Maria (West Side Story), the main female protagonist from the musical West Side Story
  • Lady Maria of the Astral Clocktower, a boss character from The Old Hunters DLC for the video game Bloodborne
  • Maria Calavera, a supporting character in the animated web series RWBY
  • María Clara, a character from the novel Noli Me Tángere (novel) by Filipino writer and activist José Rizal
  • Grace Maria Fleed, a character from the anime Grendizer.
  • Maria Fritz, the daughter of Ymir Fritz, namesake of Wall Maria and a minor character in the anime and manga Attack on Titan
  • Maria Hojo, a supporting character from Suite PreCure
  • Maria Jackson, a character from The Sarah Jane Adventures
  • Maria Kasugano, a minor character from Yes! PreCure 5
  • Maria Renard, a character in the Castlevania video game series
  • Maria Tobari, one of protagonists from Psycho Dream
  • Maria Robotnik, a character in the Sonic the Hedgehog video game series
  • Maria Saotome, a minor character from Soaring Sky! Pretty Cure
  • Maria von Trapp, the main female protagonist of the musical The Sound of Music
  • Maria Wong, a character from the Canadian animated television series Braceface

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Maria". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 12 March 2024.
  2. ^ Morales Cara, Manuel (2005). La Esclavitud en las Colonias Romanas de Andalucia (PDF) (PhD thesis) (in Spanish). Universidad de Granada. ISBN 84-338-3382-0. Archived (PDF) from the original on 22 March 2022. Retrieved 6 April 2007.[page needed]
  3. ^ الشناوي, عيد (1 January 2022). آراء الکوفيين في مبنيات الأسماء وأثرها الدلالي في تفسير القرطبي. مجلة علوم العربية والقرآن الكريم. 2 (3): 177–192. doi:10.21608/malu.2022.99255.1006. ISSN 2786-0000.
  4. ^ Hough, Carole; Izdebska, Daria, eds. (2016). The Oxford Handbook of Names and Naming. Oxford University Press. p. 206. ISBN 978-0199656431.
  5. ^ "Maria". behindthename.com. Retrieved 12 March 2024.
  6. ^ "Mary". behindthename.com. Retrieved 12 March 2024.
  7. ^ Lavagetto Ceschi, Paola (1973). "Callani, Gaetano". Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani (in Italian). Vol. 16 – via Treccani.