MAACAH f & m Biblical
From Hebrew מָעַך (ma'akh)
meaning "to press, to crush"
. This name is borne by both male and female characters in the Old Testament.
MABEL f English
Medieval feminine form of AMABILIS
. This spelling and Amabel
were common during the Middle Ages, though they became rare after the 15th century. It was revived in the 19th century after the publication of C. M. Yonge's 1854 novel The Heir of Redclyffe
, which featured a character named Mabel (as well as one named Amabel).
MABELLE f English
Variant of MABEL
. It also coincides with the French phrase ma belle
meaning "my beautiful".
MABYN f Welsh
in Welsh. This was the name of an obscure 6th-century Welsh saint. She was one of the daughters of Saint Brychan.
MACARENA f Spanish
From the name of a barrio (district) in Seville, which got its name from a temple that may have been named for a person named Macarius
). The Virgin of Macarena, that is Mary
, is widely venerated in Seville.
MACARIO m Spanish
Spanish form of the Latin name Macarius
, derived from the Greek name Μακάριος (Makarios)
, which was in turn derived from Greek μάκαρ (makar)
meaning "blessed, happy"
. This was the name of several early saints.
MACAULAY m English (British)
From a surname, an Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Amhalghaidh
meaning "son of Amhalghadh"
, itself a given name of unknown meaning. A famous bearer of the surname was Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1861), a British Whig politician and noted historian. The given name is borne by the American former child actor Macaulay Culkin (1980-), who was named after the British politician.
MACBETH m History
Anglicized form of the Gaelic given name Mac Beatha
meaning "son of life"
, implying holiness. This was the name of an 11th-century Scottish king. Shakespeare based his play Macbeth
loosely on this king's life.
MACK (1) m English
From a surname that was originally a shortened form of various Gaelic surnames beginning with Mac
(from Gaelic mac
meaning "son"). It is also used as a generic slang term for a man.
MACKENZIE f & m English
From the Gaelic surname Mac Coinnich
, which means "son of COINNEACH"
. A famous bearer of the surname was William Lyon MacKenzie (1795-1861), a Canadian journalist and political rebel. As a feminine given name, it was popularized by the American actress Mackenzie Phillips (1959-). In the United Kingdom it is more common as a masculine name.
MACSEN m Welsh
Welsh form of MAXIMUS
. Magnus Maximus (known as Macsen in Welsh) was a 4th-century co-ruler of the Western Roman Empire. In Wales he was regarded as the founder of several royal lineages. He appears in the Mabinogion, a collection of tales from Welsh myth.
MACY f English
From an English surname that was from various towns named Massy
in France. The towns themselves were originally named from a Gallo-Roman personal name that was Latinized as Maccius
. This is the name of a chain of American department stores founded by Rowland Hussey Macy (1822-1877).
MADAI m Biblical
in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of a son of Japheth
. He was the ancestor of the Medes, an ancient people related to the Persians.
MADARA f Latvian
From the Latvian name for a type of flowering plant, known as cleavers or bedstraw in English.
MÄDCHEN f Various
in German. It is not used as a name in Germany itself.
MADDOX m English (Modern)
From a Welsh surname meaning "son of MADOC"
. It was brought to public attention when the actress Angelina Jolie gave this name to her adopted son in 2002.
MADE m & f Indonesian, Balinese
From Sanskrit मध्य (madhya)
. This name is traditionally given to the family's second-born child.
MADELINE f English, French
English form of MAGDALENE
. This is the name of the heroine in a series of children's books by Ludwig Bemelmans, first published 1939.
MADHAVA m Sanskrit, Hinduism
Means "vernal, of the springtime"
in Sanskrit. This is an epithet of several Hindu gods. It was also the name of a 14th-century Hindu scholar.
MADINA f Kazakh, Avar, Chechen
From the name of the city of Medina, Arabic المدينة (al-Madinah)
, which means "the city". The Saudi city is considered an Islamic holy site because the Prophet Muhammad
was based there for a period.
MADISON f & m English
From an English surname meaning "son of MAUD"
. It was not commonly used as a feminine name until after the movie Splash
(1984), in which the main character adopted it as her name after seeing a street sign for Madison Avenue in New York City. It was ranked second for girls in the United States by 2001. This rise from obscurity to prominence in only 18 years represents an unprecedented 550,000 percent increase in usage.... [more]
MADOC m Welsh
Possibly derived from Welsh mad
combined with a diminutive suffix.
MADONNA f English
From a title of the Virgin Mary
meaning "my lady" in Italian. A famous bearer of the name is American singer Madonna Ciccone (1958-), known simply as Madonna.
MAE f English
Variant of MAY
. A famous bearer was the American actress Mae West (1893-1980), whose birth name was Mary.
MÁEDÓC m Ancient Irish
Meaning unknown. Saint Máedóc (also known as Áedán) of Ferns was a 7th-century Irish bishop.
MAËL m French, Breton
French form of Breton Mael
, which was derived from a Celtic word meaning "chieftain"
. Saint Mael was a 5th-century Breton hermit who lived in Wales.
MÁEL MÁEDÓC m Ancient Irish
Means "disciple of Saint MÁEDÓC"
in Irish. Saint Máel Máedóc (also known as Malachy) was a 12th-century archbishop of Armagh.
MÁEL SECHNAILL m Ancient Irish
Means "disciple of Saint SEACHNALL"
in Irish. This was the name of two Irish high kings: Máel Sechnaill mac Máele Ruanaid who ruled all of Ireland in the 9th century; and Máel Sechnaill mac Domnaill (called Malachy) who defeated the Norse of Dublin in the 10th century.
MAEVA f Tahitian, French
in Tahitian. It gained popularity in France during the 1980s.
MAEVE f Irish, Irish Mythology
Anglicized form of the Gaelic name Medb
. In Irish legend this was the name of a warrior queen of Connacht. Her fight against Ulster and the hero Cúchulainn
is told in the Irish epic The Cattle Raid of Cooley
MAGDA f German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Czech, Slovak, Polish, Hungarian, Croatian, Romanian, Portuguese, Greek
Short form of MAGDALENA
MAGDALENA f Polish, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Spanish, Catalan, Occitan, Slovene, Czech, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Croatian, Serbian, Romanian, English
Latinate form of MAGDALENE
MAGDALENE f German, English, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
From a title meaning "of Magdala"
Magdalene, a character in the New Testament, was named thus because she was from Magdala - a village on the Sea of Galilee whose name meant "tower" in Hebrew. She was cleaned of evil spirits by Jesus
and then remained with him during his ministry, witnessing the crucifixion and the resurrection. She was a popular saint in the Middle Ages, and the name became common then. In England it is traditionally rendered Madeline
, while Magdalene
is the learned form.
MAGDY m Arabic (Egyptian)
Alternate transcription of Arabic مجدي
). This corresponds more closely with the Egyptian Arabic pronunciation of the name.
MAGNHILD f Norwegian
Derived from Old Norse magn
"mighty, strong" and hildr
"battle". This was the name of a novel by the Norwegian author Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson.
MAGNOLIA f English
From the English word magnolia
for the flower, which was named for the French botanist Pierre Magnol.
MAGNUS m Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Late Roman
Late Latin name meaning "great"
. It was borne by a 7th-century saint who was a missionary in Germany. It became popular in Scandinavia after the time of the 11th-century Norwegian king Magnus I, who was said to have been named after Charlemagne
, or Carolus Magnus in Latin (however there was also a Norse name Magni
). The name was borne by six subsequent kings of Norway as well as three kings of Sweden. It was imported to Scotland and Ireland during the Middle Ages.
MAHA f Arabic
in Arabic. The oryx is a variety of antelope that is said to represent beauty.
MAHALA f English
Variant of MAHALAH
. It has occasionally been used as an English Christian name since the Protestant Reformation.
MAHATMA m History
From the Indian title महात्मा (Mahatma)
meaning "great soul"
, derived from Sanskrit महा (maha)
meaning "great" and आत्मन् (atman)
meaning "soul, spirit, life". This title was given to, among others, Mohandas Karamchand, also known as Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948).
MAHAVIRA m Sanskrit
Means "great hero"
from Sanskrit महा (maha)
meaning "great" and वीर (vira)
meaning "hero, man". This was the name of the 6th-century BC founder of Jainism.
MAHERSHALA m Various
From the longer name Mahershalalhashbaz
, which appears in the Old Testament at Isaiah 8:1
in reference to Isaiah's symbolic son. It is written in Hebrew as מַהֵר שָׁלָל חָשׁ בַּז
, and is composed of the two-word phrases מַהֵר שָׁלָל (maher shalal)
and חָשׁ בַּז (chash baz)
, which both mean "hurry to the plunder"
. A famous bearer is the American actor Mahershala Ali (1974-), whose full name is Mahershalalhashbaz.
MAHLAH f & m Biblical
From the Hebrew name מַחְלָה (Machlah)
, possibly from חָלָה (chalah)
meaning "weak, sick"
. This name is used in the Old Testament as both a feminine and masculine name. In some versions of the Bible the masculine name is spelled Mahalah
MAHLI m Biblical
From the Hebrew name מַחְלִי (Machli)
, possibly meaning "weak, sick"
. This was the name of two characters mentioned briefly in the Old Testament.
MAHPIYA m Native American, Sioux
Means "cloud, sky"
in Dakota and Lakota. This is the first part of the names of the Dakota chief Mahpiya Wicasta (1780-1863), known as Cloud Man, and the Lakota chiefs Mahpiya Luta (1822-1909), known as Red Cloud, and Mahpiya Iyapato (1838-1905), known as Touch the Clouds.
MAHULENA f Czech
Possibly inspired by MAGDALENA
. The Czech author Julius Zeyer created it for a character in his play Radúz and Mahulena
MAI (1) f Vietnamese
From Sino-Vietnamese 梅 (mai)
meaning "plum, apricot"
(refers specifically to the species Prunus mume).
MAI (2) f Japanese
From Japanese 舞 (mai)
meaning "dance" or 麻衣 (mai)
meaning "linen robe". It can also come from 真 (ma)
meaning "real, genuine" combined with 愛 (ai)
meaning "love, affection". Other kanji or kanji combinations can also form this name.
MAIA (2) f Roman Mythology
Probably from Latin maior
. This was the name of a Roman goddess of spring, a companion (sometimes wife) of Vulcan
. She was later conflated with the Greek goddess Maia
. The month of May is named for her.
MAILE f Hawaiian
From the name of a type of vine that grows in Hawaii and is used in making leis.
MAINA m Eastern African, Kikuyu
Means "sing, dance"
in Kikuyu. Kikuyu males were traditionally organized into age sets or generations, each lasting about 30 years. The Maina
generation occupied the last part of the 19th century.
MAINCHÍN m Irish
Means "little monk"
, derived from Irish manach
"monk" combined with a diminutive suffix.
MAIRE f Finnish
Derived from Finnish mairea
meaning "gushing, sugary"
MAIRWEN f Welsh
Combination of MAIR
and Welsh gwen
meaning "white, fair, blessed".
MAITLAND m English (Rare)
From an English surname that was from a Norman French place name possibly meaning "inhospitable"
MAJ m Slovene
Either a masculine form of MAJA (1)
, or else from the Slovene name for the month of May.
MAJA (2) f Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Slovene, German, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Polish, Czech, Slovak
Diminutive of MARIA
MAJOR m English
From a surname that was originally derived from the given name Mauger
, an Old French form of the Germanic name Malger
meaning "council spear". The name can also be given in reference to the English word major
MAKEDA f History
Possibly means "greatness"
in Ethiopic. This was the name of an Ethiopian queen of the 10th-century BC. She is probably the same person as the Queen of Sheba, who visited Solomon in the Old Testament.
MAKOTO m & f Japanese
From Japanese 誠 (makoto)
meaning "sincerity", as well as other kanji or kanji combinations.
MALACHI m Hebrew, English, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew name מַלְאָכִי (Mal'akhi)
meaning "my messenger"
or "my angel"
. This is one of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament, the author of the Book of Malachi, which some claim foretells the coming of Christ. In England the name came into use after the Protestant Reformation.
MALAI f Thai
Means "garland of flowers"
MALALAI f Pashto
Means "sad, grieved"
in Pashto. This was the name of a Pashtun woman who encouraged the Afghan forces during the 1880 Battle of Maiwand against the British.
MALCOLM m Scottish, English
From Scottish Gaelic Máel Coluim
, which means "disciple of Saint COLUMBA"
. This was the name of four kings of Scotland starting in the 10th century, including Malcolm III, who became king after killing Macbeth, the usurper who had murdered his father. The character Malcolm in Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth
(1606) is based on him. Another famous bearer was Malcolm X (1925-1965), an American civil rights leader.
MALIK (1) m Arabic
in Arabic. In Islamic tradition الملك (al-Malik)
is one of the 99 names of Allah. This can also be another way of transcribing the name مالك
MALKHAZ m Georgian
Possibly means "beautiful, elegant, youthful"
MALLORY f English (Modern)
From an English surname that meant "unfortunate"
in Norman French. It first became common in the 1980s due to the television comedy Family Ties
, which featured a character by this name.
MALO m Breton
Means "bright pledge"
, derived from Old Breton mach
"pledge, hostage" and lou
"bright, brilliant". This was the name of a 6th-century Welsh saint, supposedly a companion of Saint Brendan
on his trans-Atlantic journey. He later went to Brittany, where he founded the monastic settlement of Saint-Malo.
MALONE m English (Rare)
From an Irish surname, an Anglicized form of Ó Maoil Eoin
meaning "descendant of a disciple of Saint JOHN"
MALVINA f Scottish, English, Literature
Created by the poet James MacPherson in the 18th century for a character in his Ossian poems. He probably intended it to mean "smooth brow"
MALVOLIO m Literature
Means "ill will"
in Italian. This name was invented by Shakespeare for a character in his play Twelfth Night
MAMI f Japanese
From Japanese 真 (ma)
meaning "real, genuine" or 麻 (ma)
meaning "flax" combined with 美 (mi)
meaning "beautiful". Other combinations of kanji can form this name as well.
MANAIA f & m Maori
From the name of a stylized design common in Maori carvings. It represents a mythological creature with the head of a bird and the body of a human.
MANAMI f Japanese
From Japanese 愛 (mana)
meaning "love, affection" combined with 美 (mi)
meaning "beautiful" or 海 (mi)
meaning "sea, ocean". Other kanji combinations are possible.