Maria (given name)

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Gender Female
Language(s) Latin, Syro-Aramaic
Other names
Related names Mary, Marie, Maryam, Miriam

Maria is a feminine given name. It is given in many languages influenced by Latin Christianity. It has two separate origins: the feminine form of the Roman name Marius (see Maria (gens)),[1] and, more significantly, as the Latin form of the name of Mary, mother of Jesus.

Maria (Μαρία) is a form of the name used in the New Testament, standing alongside Mariam Μαριάμ. It reflets 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.

The name is also sometimes used as a male (middle) name. This was historically the case in many Central European 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).

Besides Maria, Mother of Jesus (see Blessed Virgin Mary or Virgin Mary), there are three other women named Maria in the New Testament: Maria Magdalena and Maria Salomé, disciples of Jesus and Maria Betânia, sister of Lazarus. In Quranic tradition, the name is rendered Maryam, but Arabic reflects the Christian given name as Mārya مارية or Māryā ماريا Mārya al-Qibiṭiyya, a Coptic Egyptian woman given to Muhammad as a slave.

Variants and usage[edit]

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 Maria de los Dolores, Maria del Pilar, Maria 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.[2]

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 include Anna+Maria (Anne-Marie, Marianne, etc.) Maria+Luisa (French Marie-Louise,) Margarita+Maria (English Margaret Mary, French Marguerite Marie etc.), Maria+Antonia (Italian Maria Antonia, French Marie-Antoinette etc.) Maria+Helena (Italian Maria Elena, Spanish María Elena), Maria+Teresa, among numerous others.[clarification needed]

As a feminine given name, Maria ranked 109th in the United States as of 2015, down from rank 31 held during 1973–1975.[3]

Spelling variants of Maria include: Mária (Hungarian, Slovakian), María (Galician, Spanish), Marya, Marija (transliterated from Cyrillic). The English form Mary is derived via French Marie. A great number of hypocoristic forms are in use in numerous languages.

Maryam and Miriam have numerous variants, such as Georgian 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 has Марыя (Marýja) (Belarusian), Мария (Maríja) (Russian, Bulgarian). Georgian uses მარიამ (Mariam), მარია (Maria); Armenian: Մարիամ. Chinese has adopted the spelling 瑪麗 (simplified 玛丽, pinyin Mǎlì).

Masculine name[edit]

Maria is used as a part of masculine given names in Roman Catholic tradition. Examples include the Dukes of Milan Gian Maria Visconti (1388–1412) and Filippo Maria Visconti (1392–1447), Italian composers Giovanni Maria Nanino (1543/4–1607) and Giovanni Maria Trabaci (c. 1575–1647), English colonist Edward Maria Wingfield (1550– 1631), Italian painter Antonio Maria Vassallo (c. 1620-1664/1673), German composer Carl Maria von Weber (1786–1826), French physicist André-Marie Ampère (1775–1836), German-language poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875–1926), French politician Jean-Marie Le Pen (b. 1928), etc.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ p. 206.
  3. ^; 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. [1]