MASAKO f Japanese
From Japanese 雅 (masa)
meaning "elegant, graceful" and 子 (ko)
meaning "child". Masako (1963-) is the current empress consort of Japan. This name can also be formed from other combinations of kanji.
MASAMI f & m Japanese
From Japanese 成 (masa)
meaning "become" or 正 (masa)
meaning "right, proper" combined with 美 (mi)
meaning "beautiful". This name can also be formed from other combinations of kanji.
MASUMA f Arabic
in Arabic. After her death, this name was applied to Fatima, a daughter of the 9th-century Shia imam Musa al-Kadhim.
MASUYO f Japanese
From Japanese 益 (masu)
meaning "profit, benefit" and 世 (yo)
meaning "world". Other kanji combinations are possible.
MATIJA m & f Slovene, Croatian, Serbian
Slovene, Croatian and Serbian form of MATTHIAS
, used to refer to the apostle chosen to replace Judas Iscariot. It is occasionally used as a feminine name.
MATILDA f English, Swedish, Finnish, Slovak
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]
MAUD f English, French, 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 1855 poem Maud
MĀUI 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.
MAVIS f English
From the name of the type of bird, also called the song thrush, derived from Old French mauvis
, of uncertain origin. 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
MAVOURNEEN f Irish
Derived from the Irish phrase mo mhúirnín
meaning "my darling"
MAXINE f English
Feminine form of MAX
. It has been commonly used only since the beginning of the 20th century.
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
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
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.
MAYUMI (1) f Japanese
From Japanese 真 (ma)
meaning "real, genuine" combined with 弓 (yumi)
meaning "archery bow" or 由 (yu)
meaning "reason" and 美 (mi)
meaning "beautiful". This name can also be constructed from other kanji combinations.
MCKINLEY f & m English
From a surname, the Gaelic form of which is Mac Fhionnlaigh
meaning "son of FIONNLAGH"
. A famous bearer was the assassinated American president William McKinley (1843-1901).
MEADE m & f English (Rare)
From an English surname that 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
MEDEA f Greek Mythology (Latinized), Georgian
From Greek Μήδεια (Medeia)
, possibly derived from μήδομαι (medomai)
meaning "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.
MEDORA f Literature
Created by Lord Byron for a character in his poem The Corsair
(1814). It is not known what inspired Byron to use this name. The year the poem was published, it was used as the middle name of Elizabeth Medora Leigh (1814-1849), a niece and rumoured daughter of Byron.
MEDUSA f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek Μέδουσα (Medousa)
, which was derived from μέδω (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
in Indonesian, ultimately from Sanskrit मेघ (megha)
MEGAERA f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of Greek Μέγαιρα (Megaira)
, which was derived from μεγαίρω (megairo)
meaning "to grudge"
. This was the name of one of the Furies or Ἐρινύες (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 that have the same reading. It is often written 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.
MEHR m & f Persian, Persian Mythology
Modern Persian form of MITHRA
. As a Persian vocabulary word it means "friendship"
. It is also the name of the seventh month of the Persian calendar. All these derive from the same source: the Indo-Iranian root *mitra
meaning "oath, covenant, agreement".
MEHRNAZ f Persian
From Persian مهر (mehr)
meaning "friendship" or "sun" and ناز (naz)
meaning "delight, comfort". This is the name of a character in the 10th-century Persian epic the Shahnameh
MEI (1) f Chinese
From Chinese 美 (měi)
meaning "beautiful" or 梅 (méi)
meaning "Chinese plum" (species Prunus mume), as well as other characters that 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.
MEINWEN f Welsh
Means "slender and white"
from Welsh main
"slender" and gwen
"white, fair, blessed".
MEJA f Swedish (Modern)
Possibly from a Low German diminutive of names beginning with the Germanic element magan
. It was popularized by the Swedish singer Meja (1969-), born Anna Pernilla Torndahl.
MELANIE f English, German, Dutch
, the French form of the Latin name Melania
, derived from Greek μέλαινα (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.
MELE f Hawaiian
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 μέλι (meli)
meaning "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 μέλι (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
in Greek. In Greek mythology this was the name of a daughter of Procles, as well as an epithet of various Greek nymphs and priestesses. According to the early Christian writer Lactantius this was the name of the sister of the nymph Amalthea
, with whom she cared for the young Zeus
. Later it appears in Ludovico Ariosto's 1516 poem Orlando Furioso
belonging to the fairy who helps Ruggiero
escape from the witch Alcina. As an English given name, Melissa
has been used since the 18th century.
MELITA f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of MELITE
. However, in the case of Queen Victoria's granddaughter Princess Victoria Melita (1876-1936), it was derived from Melita
, the Latin name of the island country of Malta where she was born.
MELODY f English
From the English word melody
, which is derived (via Old French and Late Latin) from Greek μέλος (melos)
meaning "song" combined with ἀείδω (aeido)
meaning "to sing".
MELPOMENE f Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek μέλπω (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.
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.
MENODORA f Ancient Greek
Means "gift of the moon"
, derived from Greek μήνη (mene)
meaning "moon" and δῶρον (doron)
meaning "gift". This was the name of a 4th-century saint who was martyred with her sisters Metrodora and Nymphodora.
MERAB (1) f Biblical
in Hebrew. This is the name of a daughter of Saul in the Old Testament.
MERAUD f Cornish
Meaning unknown, perhaps based on Cornish mor "sea"
MERCEDES f Spanish
(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.
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).
MERESANKH f Ancient Egyptian
From Egyptian mrs-ꜥnḫ
meaning "she loves life"
. This name was borne by several Egyptian royals during the 4th-dynasty period.
MERIDA f Popular Culture
The name of the main character in the Disney/Pixar movie Brave
(2012) about a medieval Scottish princess. The meaning of her name is unexplained, though it could be based on the Spanish city of Mérida, derived from Latin Emerita Augusta
meaning "veterans of AUGUSTUS
", so named because it was founded by the emperor Augustus as a colony for his veterans.
MERITITES f Ancient Egyptian
From Egyptian mryt-jts
meaning "loved by her father"
. This name was borne by several Egyptian royals, including a wife and a daughter of the pharaoh Khufu
MERITXELL f Catalan
From the name of a village in Andorra where there is a sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin Mary
. The name of the village may derive from Latin meridies
MERJA f Finnish
Possibly from the name of an ancient Finnish tribe.
MERLE f & m English
Variant of MERRILL
. The spelling has been influenced by the word merle
meaning "blackbird" (via French, from Latin merula
MERLYN m & f English
Variant of MERLIN
, sometimes used as a feminine form. It has perhaps been influenced by the Welsh word merlyn
MEROPE f Greek Mythology
From Greek μέρος (meros)
meaning "share, part" and ὄψ (ops)
meaning "face, eye". This was the name of several characters in Greek mythology, including the seventh of the Pleiades and the foster mother of Oedipus
MERRY (1) f English
From the English word merry
, ultimately from Old English myrige
. This name appears in Charles Dickens' novel Martin Chuzzlewit
(1844), where it is a diminutive of MERCY
MERRYN f Cornish
Meaning unknown. This was the name of an early Cornish (male) saint.
MERVI f Finnish
From the name of a Finnish village (now a part of the municipality of Hattula).
MERYL f English
Variant of MURIEL
, influenced by the spelling of the name CHERYL
. A famous bearer is American actress Meryl Streep (1949-), whose real name is Mary Louise Streep.
METIS f Greek Mythology
Means "wisdom, skill, cunning"
in Greek. In Greek mythology she was a Titan. Because it was prophesized that her children would be wiser than Zeus
, he swallowed her after he had impregnated her. However, their daughter Athena
eventually burst from his head fully grown.
MICAIAH m & f Biblical
Means "who is like YAHWEH?"
in Hebrew. This name occurs in the Old Testament in a variety of Hebrew spellings, belonging to both males and females. It is the full name of Micah
, both the prophet and the man from the Book of Judges. As a feminine name it belongs to the mother of King Abijah
(at 2 Chronicles 13:2
), though her name is listed as Maacah
in other passages.
MICHAL (2) f Biblical, Hebrew
Possibly means "brook"
in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of a daughter of Saul
. She was married to David
, but after David fled from Saul he remarried her to someone else. Later, when David became king, he ordered her returned to him.
MICHELLE f French, English, Dutch
French feminine form of MICHEL
. It has been common in the English-speaking world since the middle of the 20th century. A famous bearer is the former American first lady Michelle Obama (1964-).
MICHIKO f Japanese
From Japanese 美 (mi)
meaning "beautiful", 智 (chi)
meaning "wisdom, intellect" and 子 (ko)
meaning "child". This name can also be comprised of other combinations of kanji.
MICKEY m & f English
Diminutive or feminine form of MICHAEL
. This was the name that Walt Disney gave to Ub Iwerks' cartoon character Mickey Mouse, who was originally named Mortimer Mouse. Another famous bearer was the American baseball player Mickey Mantle (1931-1995).
MICOL f Italian
Italian variant form of MICHAL (2)
(the Italian biblical form being Mikal
). This is the name of the heroine in Giorgio Bassani's novel The Garden of the Finzi-Continis
MIDORI f Japanese
From Japanese 緑 (midori)
meaning "green", as well as other kanji or kanji combinations that have the same pronunciation.
MIELA f Esperanto
in Esperanto, derived from mielo
"honey", ultimately from Latin mel
MIELIKKI f Finnish Mythology
Derived from Finnish mieli
meaning "mind, mood"
. This was the name of a Finnish goddess of forests and hunting. By some accounts she is the wife of the god Tapio.
MIGNON f Literature
Means "cute, darling"
in French. This is the name of a character in Ambroise Thomas's opera Mignon
(1866), which was based on a novel by Goethe.
MI-GYEONG f Korean
From Sino-Korean 美 (mi)
meaning "beautiful" combined with 京 (gyeong)
meaning "capitol city" or 景 (gyeong)
meaning "scenery, view". Other hanja combinations are possible.
MIHO (2) f Japanese
From Japanese 美 (mi)
meaning "beautiful" and 穂 (ho)
meaning "grain". Other kanji combinations are also possible.
MIKA (2) f Japanese
From Japanese 美 (mi)
meaning "beautiful" combined with 香 (ka)
meaning "fragrance" or 加 (ka)
meaning "increase". Other kanji combinations are also possible.
MIKI f Japanese
From Japanese 美 (mi)
meaning "beautiful" and 紀 (ki)
meaning "chronicle". Other kanji combinations are possible.
MIKU f Japanese
From Japanese 美 (mi)
meaning "beautiful" combined with 空 (ku)
meaning "sky" or 久 (ku)
meaning "long time". It can also come from a nanori reading of 未来 (mirai)
meaning "future". Other kanji combinations are possible as well.
MILADA f Czech, Slovak
Originally a diminutive of Slavic names containing the element milu "gracious, dear"
. It has become associated with Czech/Slovak mladý
MILAGROS f Spanish
in Spanish. It is taken from the title of the Virgin Mary
, Nuestra Señora de los Milagros
, which means "Our Lady of Miracles".
MILBURGA f History (Ecclesiastical)
Derived from the Old English elements milde
"gentle" and burg
"fortress". Saint Milburga, the sister of Saint Mildred, was a daughter of a 7th-century Mercian king. She was supposedly in possession of magical powers.
MILDGYÐ f Anglo-Saxon
Old English name derived from the elements milde
"gentle" and gyð
"battle". This was the name of a 7th-century saint, the sister of Saint Mildred.
MILDRED f English
From the Old English name Mildþryð
meaning "gentle strength"
, derived from the elements milde
"gentle" and þryð
"strength". Saint Mildred was a 7th-century abbess, the daughter of the Kentish princess Saint Ermenburga. After the Norman Conquest this name became rare, but it was revived in the 19th century.