Maria Name Meaning

Lastest Updated March 13, 2024
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Many exciting facts about Maria name meaning give this female name a high status around the world, especially among families of faith. Even though this name is very popular, I bet there are a few things you still don’t know about it. But this article will tell you everything.

If you love a classic name, rich in meanings and history, and perhaps with religious connections, “Maria” will fit your bill nicely. That’s enough for the spoiler! If you’re struck by the name’s appearance, it’s time to fully understand its meaning before making your choice!

Name Maria Has Enjoyed
The name Maria has enjoyed international fame for quite some time; below, you might find the reasons behind this!

A Quick Glance At The Name Maria

You can take a look at this overview to discover basic facts about the name Maria. Popular as it is, this name still has many interesting secrets.

MeaningRebellious, star of the sea, beloved, bitter, wished-for child
OriginHebrew, Latin 
GenderMaria is a historically feminine name, but it can sometimes be used as a middle name for boys.
PopularityMaria is a favorite in Spanish-speaking countries. It has also gained considerable traction in America.

This moniker was the 30th most-used girl name in 1975. Maria’s 2021 ranking is #106, which reflects its persistent popularity, too.
VariationsMária, María, Máire, Muire, Marya, Marija, Maria, Mariah, etc.
NicknamesAria, Mar, Mia, Ria, Marie, Mary, Mimi, Mari, Maya, Maia, etc.
Similar NamesAzaria, Emilia, Mabel, Madonna, Margarita, Mariah, Marina, Mary, Miriam, Nora, etc.
Sibling NamesFor Boys: Alexander, Joseph, Marcus, Paul, Vincent, etc.
For Girls:
Adrianna, Celia, Delilah, Esther, Sabrina, etc.
Middle NamesAnne, Cynthia, Elizabeth, Fiona, Louise, Margaret, Regina, etc.

A Breakdown Of Maria’s Origin & Meaning

Maria is a classic name rich in history and meaning. Let’s dig deeper into its etymology to understand the meanings behind it.

Maria first started as a feminine version of the Roman name “Marius”. However, following the spread of Christianity throughout ancient Rome, another “Maria” appeared as a Latinized form of “Miriam”, which is the name of Mary, mother of Jesus in the New Testament.

In case you don’t know, Miriam is a word of Jewish origin. Eventually, both versions merged with each other and became the widely used name “Maria”.

Throughout history, the name has been inextricably tied to this biblical figure. In both Christian and Muslim faiths, Virgin Mary is one of the most prominent women.

Anyway, with this religious association, Maria has various meanings. The most popular ones include: “beloved”, “bitter”, “star of the sea”, and “wished-for child”. The name also occasionally serves as a middle name for males. This usage is most common in Central Europe nations.

Is Maria Exclusive For Girls?

Maria has been a predominantly feminine name. It was traditionally given to baby girls in religious families to pay homage to the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ.

As mentioned, it sometimes is a middle name for men, too. This practice was once very popular among Catholic families, also due to the reverence of the Virgin Mary. For example, does Victor-Marie Hugo sound familiar to you?

How Popular Is Maria In America?

With its timeless charm and association with the saintly name, Maria is a perennial favorite in the Spanish-speaking world. According to the latest Social Security Administration (SSA) data, Maria is also fairly common in the US.

Debuted on the popularity chart at #150 in 1900, Maria has rarely been below this threshold throughout the period shown. Maria’s popularity began to climb in the 1940s to peak at #30 in 1975. Up to 7536 female births were recorded with the name that year.

Maria secured the #106 spot on the 2021 SSA’s list (1). It means that Maria is not heavily used as it was in the past. This is good news if you love the name but don’t want it to be very common.

The Most Common Variants Of Maria

Popular Name
It is no surprise that such a popular name as Maria has various spelling alternatives.

Maria has stood the test of time, being passed around by generations across the globe. As a prominent biblical name, it’s no wonder why it has a variety of spelling versions in many languages.

  • Mária (Hungarian, Slovakian)
  • María (Greek, Icelandic, Spanish)
  • Máire and Muire (Irish)
  • Marya and Marija (transliterated from Cyrillic)
  • Maria (Polish)
  • Mariah (English)
  • Marie (French)

There is also a variant reserved for males: Mario. Since the early Christian era, it has been used as the male equivalent of “Maria”. This masculine name also has ties to the Roman god Mars.

Interestingly, a bunch of compound names also arise after Maria has long been used among Christain communities. Below are examples of the name that Maria is frequently combined with:

  • Anna + Maria
  • Maria + Teresa/ Theresa
  • Margarita + Maria
  • Maria + Luisa
  • Maria + Helena
  • Maria + Antonia

Similar Names And Nicknames To Consider

Such a gorgeous name like Maria deserves equally adorable nicknames to pair with it. You may want to call your Maria with any of these monikers at home:

  • Aria
  • Mar
  • Mia
  • Ria
  • Marie
  • Mary
  • Mimi
  • Mari
  • Maya
  • Maia

Do you love Maria but still want to consider a few extra options? One of the easy ways is to branch out from the name, as there are many cute monikers similar to it:

Helped by God, God has helpedHebrew
Laborious, eager, rival, excelLatin
/mey-buh l/
My lady, Mother of ChristItalian
Pearl, daisySpanish, Persian, Greek
The Lord is my teacher, bitter, beloved, or drop of the sea, a child you wish forHebrew
From the seaLatin
Bitter, rebellious, of the sea, wished-for childHebrew, Egyptian
Miriam/mir-ee-uh m/
Wished-for child, drop of the sea, beloved, bitterHebrew
Nora/nor-rah/Shining light, honorLatin

Fantastic Sibling Names To Match

There is a long list of sibling names that go well with Maria. If you’re looking for names for Maria’s future brothers and sister, try one (or some) of the following:

For Sons

A brother following Maria can take on any of these monikers. They all complement “Maria” and make your children sound like a team:

  • Alexander: Closely attached to Alexander the Great, king of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon, this name represents boldness and strength. The meaning has a similar vibe, too, as it translates to “defender of men”. Alexander never goes out of style; it was the 13th most used boy name in 2021, as per SSA’s chart.
  • Joseph: Like Maria, Joseph is also a name with reference to the Bible. In the Old Testament, Joseph was the favorite son of Jacob and Rachel. This Hebrew name means “Jehovah shall add” or “God will increase”. The name Joseph also has a particularly close association with Maria. In the canonical Gospels, Saint Joseph was the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the legal father of Jesus.
  • Marcus: This name is borne by Marcus Aurelius Antoninus – a famous Roman emperor and a Stoic philosopher (2). Marcus is thought to link with the god Mars – a God of Wars in Roman mythology. Hence, it means “warlike” or “dedicated to Mars” and symbolizes strength, honor, and courage.
  • Paul: This masculine name also boasts great prominence across Christain communities. Traditionally as a given name, Paul means “humble” and “small”, denoting unassuming virtues that a man should yearn for.
  • Vincent: Of Latin origin, Vincent means “victorious”, “conqueror”, or “prevailing”. This name is a great way to start if you want to nurture a winning attitude in your son early in life.

For Daughters

Choosing a name for the next girl doesn’t have to be a struggle if you already have a Maria in your house:

  • Adrianna: This Latin feminine name refers to “from Hadria”, with Hadria being an ancient city in Northern Italy on the Adriatic Sea. Also, as a Latin name, Adrianna sometimes means “dark”.
  • Celia: This Latin name frequently appeared in Shakespeare and other Elizabethan literature. It still has a modern elegance to it. You’ll love its translation, too. This Latin name means “heavenly”, which somehow connects to your family’s faith.
  • Delilah: Hebrew and Arabic in origin, Delilah translates to “delicate”. In the Bible and Tanakh, Deliah, the love interest of Samson, cuts his hair to take away his strength (3). That’s considered an act of betrayal. However, this negative connotation is overshadowed by the name’s melodic sound and femininity. Thus, Delilah still ranks high on the popularity chart (#58 in 2021).
  • Esther: In the Hebrew Bible, Hadassah, a bright young Jewish woman, took on a new identity by changing her name to Esther. She then became the queen of Persia. Therefore, Esther means “hide” or “conceal”. There’s also a belief that Esther derives from stāra (also a Persian word) and represents “star”.
  • Sabrina: Sabrina is the Latinized version of “Severn”, which is an English river name. Thus, it means “from the river Severn” or “river goddess”.

Memorable Middle Names For A Girl Named Maria

Maria Pairs
Maria pairs well with various middle names!

One of the best things about Maria is it’s stylish and elegant when paired with many middle names. Besides those compound names mentioned above, I’ve handpicked some other fantastic middle names for this classic name.

If you’re still in doubt, read them out loud with Maria. You might be amazed at how well they fit together:

  • Anne: As a version of the Latin “Anna”, this name translates to “grace” and “favor”. Of all mentioned names here, Anne perhaps has the closest association with Maria. It is the name of the sainted mother of the Virgin Mary in the Bible.
  • Cynthia: In Greek legends, Cynthia is the byname of the Greek goddess Artemis. She was born on Mount Kynthos on the Island of Delos. Thus, this Greek moniker indicates “From Mount Kynthos”.
  • Elizabeth: “My God is an oath” or “pledged to God” is the meaning behind this Hebrew girl name. Choosing this name is also a way to pay honor to two respectable England queens Elizabeth I and II.
  • Fiona: This girl’s name is derived from “fionn” – a Gaelic word meaning “white” and “fair”. Fiona means the same things, too.
  • Louise: Look no further if you’re after a strong baby girl name. Empower your little girl by calling her Louise, which means “famous warrior”. As you might guess, it is the feminine equivalent of “Louis” and comes from German and French.
  • Margaret: This feminine name has many possible roots, notably Hebrew, German, Greek, and French. The charming meaning of “pearl” makes it a favorite among queens and princesses in the past. Yet, in modern times, one of the best-known bearers of the name should be Margaret Thatcher – the first female prime minister of Great Britain.
  • Regina: Latin in origin, Regina directly denotes “queen”. There’s no lack of inspiration for a child named Regina. This includes Saint Regina, indie songwriter-singer Regina Spektor, and, more recently, Regina George in Mean Girls. Regina boasts a royal air, too. You might know that Queen Elizabeth II signed her name as “Elizabeth R”, with the “R” standing for “Regina”. It’s a tradition of British monarchs, and Regia, in this case, carries the same meaning as “queen”.

Famous Women With Maria As A Given Name

These famous bearers of Maria have helped strengthen the reputation of the name. Let’s see how many of them that you can recognize:

  • Maria Bamford (born 1970): American actress
  • Maria Bello (born 1967): Also known as Maria Elena Bello, she is an American producer, actress, and writer.
  • Maria Brink (born 1977): American songwriter-singer, best known as the lead singer of the American rock band In This Moment.
  • Maria Bueno (1939-2018): Brazilian professional tennis player who won 19 Grand Slam titles.
  • Maria Owings Shriver (born 1955): American author, and journalist, also known as a member of the Kennedy family and former First Lady of California.
  • Maria Sharapova (born 1987): Russian former world No. 1 tennis player.
  • Maria Theresa (1717-1780): Ruler of the Habsburg dominions, such as Hungary, Croatia, Archduchy of Austria, Bohemia, etc.
  • Maria I of Portugal (1734-1970): Queen of Portugal whose reign started from 1777 until her death in 1816.

Do You Know These Famous Men With Maria For Middle Names?

As mentioned, Maria traditionally goes as a middle name for males in religious families, too. Here are examples of this usage:

  • Carlo Maria Abate (1932-2019): Italian auto racing driver.
  • Angelo Maria Bandini (1726-1803): Italian author.
  • Corrado Maria Daclon (born 1963): Italian journalist and writer.
  • Christoph Maria Herbst (born 1966): German actor, comedian, and voice actor.
  • Edward(-)Maria Wingfield (1550-1631): an English colonist and the founder of Virginia Company.
  • François-Marie Arouet (1694-1778): Better known by the pen name Voltaire, famous French Enlightenment writer, philosopher, and historian.
  • Klaus Maria Brandauer (born 1943): Austrian director and actor.
  • Victor-Marie Hugo (1802-1885): Known as Victor Hugo, French Romantic novelist, poet, and politician.

Maria As A Fictional Character

With such a prominent biblical influence, Maria offers endless inspiration in fictional works. The following are just some examples of Maria in pop culture that you might come across:

  • Maria: a protagonist in the musical “West Side Story”.
  • Maria Renard: a fictional character in the Japanese video game series Castlevania.
  • Maria Robotnik: a protagonist in the video game series “Sonic the Hedgehog”.
  • Maria Rodriguez: a fictional character in the American educational TV series “Sesame Street”.
  • Maria Jackson: a fictional character in the British science fiction children’s program “The Sarah Jane Adventures”.


Have the sections above addressed all your concerns about the name? If not, take a quick look at these common questions that you might have in mind!

Ognyena Maria is a fire goddess in Slavic mythology. Also known as “Fiery Mary”, she was the sister of the thunder god, Perun. Ognyena Maria is revered in many countries like Belarus, Bulgaria, Russia, and Ukraine.

No, it isn’t. However, its close cousins, Marie and Marié, are the angelized forms of some Japanese given names for girls.

Maria is a feminine variant of “Marius” – a Roman-rooted name. So, you can use Marius as a male version of Maria. This is a practice in Christian times when these two names were used alongside each other.

Hispanics and Roman Catholics also honor the Virgin Mary by including “Maria” in the name of their baby boys. It can be a middle name or sometimes a part of a compound name.

Maria is a name of many virtues. People bearing this name are often compassionate about those around them. More often than not, they let emotions lead the way.

Being flexible means those named Maria also listen to others’ perspectives. Other characteristics of girls with this name are independence, ambition, and courage.

The Bottom Line: Maria Is An Amazing Name

Maria is a well-loved name worldwide, especially among Christian communities. The name boasts multiple meanings, which means that your kid can choose to interpret it the way she or he wants.

Maria offers a good start if you want to introduce your little monster into your faith. Or, even when you just love Maria’s timeless beauty, why not think about it for your upcoming baby?

Tell me whether you go for the name (or any of its variants) by leaving your thoughts in the below section. Before leaving, please click the like and share button so I know that this analysis provides useful information to you (and other expectant parents).


  1. 2022. The Popularity Of A Name
  2. 2022. Marcus Aurelius, emperor of Rome
  3. 2022. Delilah
Helen Doanna

Helen Doanna

Editor in Chief, Educational Specialist, and Senior Content Creator


Child Development Specialist, Child-care Coordinator, Family Support Specialist, Content Writer, Communications Specialist, Educational Consultant, STEAM Teacher


1. University of Social Science and Humanity, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

  • Program: Bachelor’s degree in Faculty of Literature and Journalism
  • Focus: In-depth knowledge of Literature, knowledge and skills to perceive, create literature or work in related fields; Basic knowledge of communications.

2. University of Social Science and Humanity, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

  • Program: Bachelor’s degree in Education Faculty
  • Focus: Core knowledge of social sciences and humanities – the root for the development of progressive values of education, Multicultural communication in education, Contemporary education in the context of globalization, Learning in the digital technology era, Basic issues of STEAM education, Classroom Management, Special education.

3. Oregon State University, Oregan, US

  • Program: Bachelor’s degree in Faculty of Human Development and Family Sciences – Child Development
  • Focus: Different stages of development, from infancy to adulthood; Develop a strong foundation for a career in early childhood programs or classrooms; Learn strategies for supporting young children’s development in early childhood settings.

Helen is an experienced educational specialist and content creator, known for her innovative approach to children’s learning. With a background in literature and child development, she composes engaging educational content for Her work emphasizes creativity, engagement, and simplicity, aiming to make learning enjoyable and accessible for children and their families.

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