Mary Name Meaning & Origin


Pronunciation: MAY-ree, MA-ree (key)

Origin of the name Mary:

Anglicized form of Maria, which is derived from the Hebrew Miryām (sea of bitterness, sea of sorrow). There is much debate over the meaning of the name, however. While "sea of bitterness or sorrow" seems to be the most probable, some sources give the alternative definitions of "rebellion," "wished-for child," and "mistress or lady of the sea." The name, borne in the Bible by the virgin mother of Jesus, has become one of the most enduringly popular names in the Christian world.

From A World of Baby Names by Teresa Norman.

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US Popularity of Mary Over Time

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Nicknames for Mary

May, Molly, Polly, Mare, Mare Mare, Mare Bear, Mary Fairy

Meanings and history of the name Mary

Mary is a feminine given name, the English form of the name Maria, which was in turn a Latin form of the Greek names Mariam, and/or Maria, found in the New Testament. Both New Testament names were forms of the Hebrew name Miryam.

The usual meaning given by various sources for the name is the Hebrew "bitterness." Other meanings suggested include "sea of bitterness," "rebelliousness," or "wished for child" or "Our Lady" or "beloved lady," referring to the Christian reverence for the Virgin Mary. The Web site Behind the Name notes that the name could also be a name of Egyptian origin, perhaps from the word elements mry, meaning "beloved" or mr, meaning "love."

The name was also considered in the Middle Ages to be connected to the sea and the word mare, as in the term Stella Maris, or "star of the sea," an epithet for the Virgin Mary.The name has been widely used due to its associations with the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ, and with Saint Mary Magdalene, who was called an apostle to the Apostles. It was viewed as too holy a name for use in Celtic communities until toward the end of the 1400s, though other forms of the name were used.The name María, in combination with other names or with titles of the Virgin Mary, has been the most popular in Spanish-speaking countries, much as Marie was popular in combination with other names in French-speaking countries and Mary was popular in combination with other names in English-speaking countries. Though Mary and Marie were the most common forms of the name in English-speaking countries, the name Maria was also in use in England, where it was often given the aristocratic pronunciation of mah righ' ah prior to the 20th century and inspired the alternate spelling Mariah.Mariam or Maryam, an Arabic form, has been a popular name in predominantly Muslim countries due to the respect given to Mary, mother of Jesus, in Islam.

"myrrh", "drop of the sea", "mistress of the sea", "well-nourished"

Famous real-life people named Mary

Mary McCartney, daughter of Paul McCartney of the Beatles and Linda McCartney
Mary Lou Retton, US Gymnast- Olympic all-around Champion (Gold Medallist)
Mary J. Blige, singer
Mary Cassatt, painter
Mary Tyler Moore, actress
Mary Shelley, "Frankenstein" author
Mary Travers of singing group Peter, Paul and Mary
Mary I Tudor, Queen of England ("Bloody Mary")
Mary II, Queen of England ("William and Mary")
Mary Queen of Scots
Mary Bryant, Australian penal colony escapee
Mary Cassatt, American painter
Mary Louise Hancock, American politician and activist
Mary Hopkin, Welsh singer-songwriter
Mary Quant, English fashion designer
Mary Whitehouse, English morality campaigner
Mary Elizabeth Winstead, American actress
Mary Spender, English singer/songwriter
Mary Harney, Irish politician
Mary Black, folk singer
Mary Coughlan, Irish jazz singer
Mary Lavin, writer
Mary Robinson, seventh president of the Irish Republic
Mary Mac.Aleese, eigth president of the Irish Republic
Mary Pickford, actress
Mary Martin, actress
Mary Elizabeth, Crown Princess of Denmark
Mary of Teck, the Queen Consort of George V of the United Kingdom
Mary Louise Parker, actress
Mary Wollstonecraft, author of "A Vindication of the Rights of Women
Mary Abigail Wambach. US Women's National Soccer Player
Mary Kay Bergman, an american voice actress

Mary in song, story & screen

New Testament figure, virgin mother of Jesus Christ
Mary Ann from TV series "Gilligan's Island"
"Proud Mary", song by Credence Clearwater Revival, covered by Ike & Tina Turner
Title character in film "There's Something about Mary"
"Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary, How does your garden grow?", nursery rhyme.
Dr. Mary Albright a character from the sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun.
Mary Katherine "Merricat" Blackwood, character in Shirley Jackson's novel "We Have Always Lived in the Castle"
Lady Mary Crawley, character in TV series "Downton Abbey"
Mary Poppins, a character in the Mary Poppins books, film, and musical
Mary Katherine Gallagher, a Saturday Night Live character created by Molly Shannon
Mary Kenwood (Merrie Kenwood) a.k.a. Wedy of Death Note
Mary Alice Cullen, character in the "Twilight" series
Mary Bennett, middle Bennett sister in the Jane Austen book "Pride and Prejuidice"
Mary Jane Watson, Marvel comic character from Spider-Man
Mary Batson, Captain Marvel's sister, who transforms into Mary Marvel, world's mightiest girl, with the magic word, Shazam.
Mary from the Nativity Story
"Mother Mary", song by Foxboro Hot Tub
Mother Mary mentioned in the Beatles song, "Let It Be"
Mary Margaret Blanchard (Snow White), character in "Once Upon A Time"
Mary Winchester (nee Campbell), from CW's 'Supernatural', played by Samantha Smith (older) and Amy Gumenick (younger)
Mary Alice Crosswire, monkey girl from Arthur; she goes by Muffy.
Mary(nee Morstan) Watson, wife of Dr.John Watson in the Sherlock Holmes stories
Mary Anne Spier, character in The Baby-Sitters Club
Mary Edwards, the name of Samantha's grandmother in the American Girl Samantha books
Mary "Polly" Pepper, eldest daughter in Five Little Peppers by Margaret Sidney
Mary Zero from Marvel comics
Mary Flore (The Wedding Planner) portrayed by Jennifer Lopez
Mary Santiago, from the movie "Another Cinderella Story"

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