MATILDA f English, Swedish, Finnish
From the Germanic name Mahthildis
meaning "strength in battle", from the elements maht
"might, strength" and hild
"battle". Saint Matilda was the wife of the 10th-century German king Henry I the Fowler. The name was common in many branches of European royalty in the Middle Ages. It was brought to England by the Normans, being borne by the wife of William the Conqueror himself. Another notable royal by this name was a 12th-century daughter of Henry I of England, known as the Empress Matilda because of her first marriage to the Holy Roman Emperor Henry V. She later invaded England, laying the foundations for the reign of her son Henry II.... [more]
MATTANIAH m Biblical
Means "gift of YAHWEH
" in Hebrew. This was the original name of Zedekiah, a king of Judah, in the Old Testament.
MATTHEW m English, Biblical
English form of Ματθαιος (Matthaios)
, which was a Greek form of the Hebrew name מַתִּתְיָהוּ (Mattityahu)
meaning "gift of YAHWEH
". Matthew, also called Levi
, was one of the twelve apostles. He was a tax collector, and supposedly the author of the first gospel in the New Testament. He is considered a saint in many Christian traditions. The variant Matthias
also occurs in the New Testament belonging to a separate apostle. The name appears in the Old Testament as Mattithiah
MATTITHIAH m Biblical
Form of Mattityahu
) used in the English Old Testament, where it belongs to a few minor characters.
MAUD f English, Dutch
Usual medieval form of MATILDA
. Though it became rare after the 14th century, it was revived and once more grew popular in the 19th century, perhaps due to Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem 'Maud' (1855).
MAUI m & f Hawaiian, Polynesian Mythology
Meaning unknown. In Hawaiian mythology Māui was a trickster who created the Hawaiian Islands by having his brothers fish them out of the sea. He was also responsible for binding the sun and slowing its movement.
MAURA (2) f Irish, Scottish, English
Anglicized form of MÁIRE
. It has also been associated with Gaelic mór
meaning "great". This was the name of an obscure 5th-century Irish or Scottish martyr.
MAURICE m English, French
From the Roman name Mauritius
, a derivative of MAURUS
. Saint Maurice was a 3rd-century Roman soldier from Egypt. He and the other Christians in his legion were supposedly massacred on the orders of emperor Maximian for refusing to worship Roman gods. Thus, he is the patron saint of infantry soldiers.... [more]
MAURUS m Late Roman
Latin name which meant "dark skinned". This was the name of numerous early saints, most notably a follower of Saint Benedict.
MAVERICK m English
Derived from the English word maverick
meaning "independent". The word itself is derived from the surname of a 19th-century Texas rancher who did not brand his calves.
MAVIS f English
From the name of the type of bird, also called the song thrush, ultimately derived from Old French. It was first used as a given name by the British author Marie Corelli, who used it for a character in her novel 'The Sorrows of Satan' (1895).
MAVOURNEEN f Irish
Derived from the Irish phrase mo mhúirnín
meaning "my darling".
MAXENCE m French
French form of the Roman name Maxentius
, a derivative of Latin maximus
"greatest". This was the agnomen of an early 4th-century Roman emperor, a rival of Constantine
. It was also borne by a 6th-century saint from Agde in France.
MAXIMILIAN m German, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
From the Roman name Maximilianus
, which was derived from MAXIMUS
. It was borne by a 3rd-century saint and martyr. In the 15th century the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III gave this name to his son and eventual heir. In this case it was a blend of the names of the Roman generals Fabius Maximus and Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus (see EMILIANO
), who Frederick admired. It was subsequently borne by a second Holy Roman Emperor, two kings of Bavaria, and a short-lived Habsburg emperor of Mexico.
MAXIMUS m Ancient Roman
Roman family name which was derived from Latin maximus
"greatest". Saint Maximus was a monk and theologian from Constantinople in the 7th century.
MAXINE f English
Feminine form of MAX
. It has been commonly used only since the beginning of the 20th century.
MAXWELL m English
From a Scottish surname meaning "Mack's stream", from the name Mack
, a short form of the Scandinavian name MAGNUS
, combined with Old English wella
"stream". A famous bearer of the surname was James Maxwell (1831-1879), a Scottish physicist who studied gases and electromagnetism.
MAY f English
Derived from the name of the month of May, which derives from Maia
, the name of a Roman goddess. May is also another name of the hawthorn flower. It is also used as a diminutive of MARY
MAYA (1) f Hinduism, Indian, Hindi, Marathi
Means "illusion" in Sanskrit. In Buddhist tradition this is the name of the mother of Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha). This is also another name of the Hindu goddess Durga
MAYA (2) f English
Variant of MAIA (1)
. This name can also be given in reference to the Maya peoples, a Native American culture who built a great civilization in southern Mexico and Latin America.
MAYLIS f French
From the name of a town in southern France, possibly derived from Occitan mair
"mother" and French lys
"lily". It is also sometimes considered a combination of MARIE
MAYRBEK m Chechen
Derived from Nakh majra
meaning "husband, brave man" combined with the Turkish military title beg
meaning "chieftain, master".
MAYU f Japanese
From Japanese 真 (ma)
meaning "real, genuine" or 満 (ma)
meaning "full" combined with 優 (yu)
meaning "excellence, superiority, gentleness" or 夕 (yu)
meaning "evening". This name can also be constructed from other kanji combinations.
MEADE m & f English (Rare)
From an English surname which indicated one who lived on a meadow (from Middle English mede
) or one who sold or made mead (an alcoholic drink made from fermented honey; from Old English meodu
MEDAD m Biblical
Means "love" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament Medad is one of the elders who prophesizes in the camp of the Israelites after the flight from Egypt.
MEDEA f Greek Mythology (Latinized), Georgian
From Greek Μηδεια (Medeia)
, possibly derived from μηδομαι (medomai)
"to think, to plan". In Greek mythology Medea was a sorceress from Colchis (modern Georgia) who helped Jason
gain the Golden Fleece. They were married, but eventually Jason left her for another woman. For revenge Medea slew Jason's new lover and also had her own children by Jason killed.
MEDUSA f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek Μεδουσα (Medousa)
, which was derived from μεδω (medo)
meaning "to protect, to rule over". In Greek myth this was the name of one of the three Gorgons, ugly women who had snakes for hair. She was so hideous that anyone who gazed upon her was turned to stone, so the hero Perseus
had to look using the reflection in his shield in order to slay her.
MEGA f & m Indonesian
Means "cloud" in Indonesian, ultimately from Sanskrit मेघ (megha)
MEGAERA f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of Greek Μεγαιρα (Megaira)
which was derived from μεγαιρω (megairo)
"to grudge". This was the name of one of the Furies or Ερινυες (Erinyes)
in Greek mythology. The name is used as a word in several European languages to denote a shrewish, ill-tempered woman (for example, French mégère
and Italian megera
MEGAN f Welsh, English
Welsh diminutive of MARGARET
. In the English-speaking world outside of Wales it has only been regularly used since the middle of the 20th century.
MEGUMI f Japanese
From Japanese 恵 (megumi)
meaning "favour, benefit" or 愛 (megumi)
meaning "love, affection", as well as other kanji or kanji combinations which have the same reading. It is often written めぐみ
using the hiragana writing system.
MEHETABEL f Biblical
From the Hebrew name מְהֵיטַבְאֵל (Meheitav'el)
meaning "God makes happy". This name is mentioned briefly in the Old Testament.
MEHMED m Ottoman Turkish
Older form of MEHMET
. This was the name of six sultans of the Ottoman Empire, including Mehmed II the conqueror of Constantinople.
MEHRAB m Persian, Literature
From مهر (Mehr)
, the Persian word for MITHRA
, combined with Persian آب (ab)
"water". This is the name of a character in the 11th-century Persian epic the 'Shahnameh'.
MEI (1) f Chinese
From Chinese 美 (měi)
meaning "beautiful" or 梅 (méi)
meaning "plum", as well as other characters which are pronounced similarly.
MEI (2) f Japanese
From Japanese 芽 (me)
meaning "bud, sprout" combined with 依 (i)
meaning "rely on", 生 (i)
meaning "life" or 衣 (i)
meaning "clothing, garment". Other kanji combinations are possible.
MEINRAD m German, Ancient Germanic
Derived from the Germanic elements magan
"mighty, strong" and rad
"counsel". Saint Meinrad was a 9th-century hermit who founded the Benedictine abbey at Einsiedeln in Switzerland.
MEINWEN f Welsh
Means "slender and white" from Welsh main
"slender" and gwen
"white, fair, blessed".
MELANIE f English, German, Dutch
, the French form of the Latin name Melania
, derived from Greek μελαινα (melaina)
meaning "black, dark". This was the name of a Roman saint who gave all her wealth to charity in the 5th century. Her grandmother was also a saint with the same name.... [more]
MELBA f English
From the surname of the Australian opera singer Nellie Melba (1861-1931). This was a stage name that she got from the name of the city Melbourne, where she was born.
MELCHIOR m Dutch, Judeo-Christian Legend
Derived from Semitic roots meaning "king city". This was a name traditionally assigned to one of the wise men (also known as the Magi, or three kings) who were said to have visited the newborn Jesus
MELE f Hawaiian
Means "song" in Hawaiian. This name is also used as a Hawaiian and Samoan form of MARY
MELETE f Greek Mythology
Means "practice, exercise" in Greek. In Greek mythology she was one of the original three muses, the muse of meditation.
MELIA f Greek Mythology
Means "ash tree" in Greek, a derivative of μελι (meli)
"honey". This was the name of a nymph in Greek myth, the daughter of the Greek god Okeanos.
MELINA f English, Greek
Elaboration of Mel
, either from names such as MELISSA
or from Greek μελι (meli)
meaning "honey". A famous bearer was Greek-American actress Melina Mercouri (1920-1994), who was born Maria Amalia Mercouris.
MELINDA f English, Hungarian
Combination of Mel
(from names such as MELANIE
) with the popular name suffix inda
. It was created in the 18th century, and may have been inspired by the similar name Belinda
. In Hungary, the name was popularized by the 1819 play 'Bánk Bán' by József Katona.
MÉLISANDE f French
French form of MILLICENT
used by Maurice Maeterlinck in his play 'Pelléas et Mélisande' (1893). The play was later adapted by Claude Debussy into an opera (1902).
MELISSA f English, Dutch, Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology
Means "bee" in Greek. This was the name of a nymph that cared for young Zeus
in Greek mythology. It is also the name of the fairy who helps Rogero escape from the witch Alcina in Ludovico Ariosto's poem 'Orlando Furioso' (1516). As an English given name, Melissa
has been used since the 18th century.
MELITA f Various
, the Latin name of the island country of Malta.
MELLE m Dutch
Originally a short form of Germanic names beginning with the element mathal
MELODY f English
From the English word melody
, which is derived (via Old French and Late Latin) from Greek μελος (melos)
"song" combined with αειδω (aeido)
MELOR m Russian
Acronym of Marx Engels Lenin October Revolution
. This name commemorates the creation of the former Soviet state. It was created by Communist parents who were eager to reject traditional names.
MELPOMENE f Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek μελπω (melpo)
meaning "to sing, to celebrate with song". This was the name of one of the nine Muses in Greek mythology, the muse of tragedy.
MELQART m Near Eastern Mythology
From Phoenician mlk
"king" and qrt
"city". This was the name of a Phoenician god worshipped especially in the city of Tyre.
MELUSINE f Mythology
Meaning unknown. In European folklore Melusine was a water fairy who turned into a serpent from the waist down every Saturday. She made her husband, Raymond of Poitou, promise that he would never see her on that day, and when he broke his word she left him forever.
MELVILLE m English
From a Scottish surname which was originally from a Norman French place name meaning "bad town". A famous bearer of the surname was the American author Herman Melville (1819-1891), who wrote several novels including 'Moby-Dick'.
MENAHEM m Biblical, Hebrew
From the Hebrew name מְנַחֵם (Menachem)
meaning "comforter". This was the name of a king of Israel, appearing in the Old Testament. His reign was noted for its brutality.
MENELAUS m Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek Μενελαος (Menelaos)
which meant "withstanding the people", derived from μενω (meno)
"to last, to withstand" and λαος (laos)
"the people". In Greek legend he was a king of Sparta and the husband of Helen
. When his wife was taken by Paris
, the Greeks besieged the city of Troy in an effort to get her back. After the war Menelaus and Helen settled down to a happy life.
MENES m Ancient Egyptian
Meaning unknown. Menes was an Egyptian king who united Upper and Lower Egypt around 3000 BC. He is also known as Narmer; Menes was probably his funeral name.
MENTOR m Greek Mythology
Possibly related to Greek μενος (menos)
"mind, purpose, strength, courage". In Greek legend Mentor was the son of Alkimos. When Odysseus
left to fight in the Trojan War he entrusted Mentor with the care of his palace and the guardianship of his son Telemachos. When the goddess Athena
visited Telemachos she took the guise of Mentor.
MERAB (1) f Biblical
Means "abundant" in Hebrew. This was the name of a daughter of Saul in the Old Testament.
MERARI m Biblical
Means "bitter" in Hebrew. This was the name of the youngest son of Levi
in the Old Testament.
MERAUD f Cornish
Meaning unknown, perhaps based on Cornish mor
MERCEDES f Spanish
Means "mercies" (that is, the plural of mercy), from the Spanish title of the Virgin Mary
, María de las Mercedes
, meaning "Mary of Mercies". It is ultimately from the Latin word merces
meaning "wages, reward", which in Vulgar Latin acquired the meaning "favour, pity".
MERCIA f English (Rare)
Latinate form of MERCY
. This was also the name of an old Anglo-Saxon kingdom, though it has a different origin.
MERCURY m Roman Mythology (Anglicized)
From the Latin Mercurius
, probably derived from Latin mercari
"to trade" or merces
"wages". This was the name of the Roman god of trade, merchants, and travellers, later equated with the Greek god Hermes
. This is also the name of the first planet in the solar system.
MERCY f English
From the English word mercy
, ultimately from Latin merces
"wages, reward", a derivative of merx
"goods, wares". This was one of the virtue names adopted by the Puritans in the 17th century.
MEREDITH m & f Welsh, English
From the Welsh name Maredudd
, possibly meaning "great lord" or "sea lord". Since the mid-1920s it has been used more often for girls than for boys in English-speaking countries, though it is still a masculine name in Wales. A famous bearer of this name as surname was the English novelist and poet George Meredith (1828-1909).