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Mary (name)

Mary (name)

Mary is a feminine given name, the English form of the name Maria, which was in turn a Latin form of the Greek name Μαρία, María or Μαριάμ, Mariam, found in the Septuagint and New Testament. The latter reflects the original Hebrew pronunciation of the name מרים (Masoretic pronunciation Miryam), as attested by the Septuagint. The vowel "a" in a closed unaccented syllable later became "i", as seen in other names such as "Bil'am" (Balaam) and "Shimshon" (Samson).


The name may have originated from the Egyptian language; it is likely derivative of the root mr, meaning "love; beloved" (compare mry.t-ymn, "Merit-Amun", i.e. "beloved of Amun").

The name was early etymologized as containing the Hebrew root mr, meaning "bitter" (cf. myrrh), or mry, meaning "rebellious". St. Jerome (writing c. 390), following Eusebius of Caesarea, translates the name as "drop of the sea" (stilla maris in Latin), from the Hebrew מר, mar, 'drop' (cf. Isaiah 40:15) and ים, yam, 'sea'.

This translation was subsequently rendered stella maris ("star of the sea") due to scribal error, whence Our Lady's title Star of the Sea.

Rashi, an 11th-century Jewish commentator on the Bible, wrote that the name was given to the sister of Moses because of the Egyptians' harsh treatment of Jews in Egypt. Rashi wrote that the Israelites lived in Egypt for 210 years, including 86 years of cruel enslavement that began at the time Moses' elder sister was born. Therefore, the girl was called Miriam, because the Egyptians made life bitter (מַר, mar) for her people.



Modern given names derived from Aramaic Maryam are frequent in Christian culture, as well as, due to the Quranic tradition of Mary, extremely frequently given in Islamic cultures.

Possible use of Maria as a Christian given name is recorded for the third century.

The English form Mary arises by adoption of French Marie into Middle English.

Wycliffe's Bible still has Marie, with the modern spelling current from the 16th century, found in the Tyndale Bible (1525), Coverdale Bible (1535) and later translations.

The name Maria was also given in Great Britain, with the traditional pronunciation of /məˈraɪə/ (occasionally reflected in the spelling variant Mariah).

Mary is still among the top 100 names for baby girls born in Ireland, common amongst Christians there and also popularised amongst Protestants specifically, with regard to Queen Mary II, co-monarch and wife of William III. Mary was the 179th most popular name for girls born in England and Wales in 2007, ranking behind other versions of the name.

In the United States, Mary was consistently the most popular name for girls from 1880 until 1961. It first fell below the top 100 most popular names in 2009. By contrast, the latinate (especially Spanish) form Maria rose into the top 100 in 1944, peaking at rank 31 in the 1970s, but also falling below rank 100 once again in 2012.

The name Mary remains more popular in the Southern United States than elsewhere in the country. Mary was the 15th most popular name for girls born in Alabama in 2007, the 22nd most popular name for girls born in Mississippi in 2007, the 44th most popular name for girls in North Carolina, the 33rd most popular name for girls in South Carolina, and the 26th most popular name for girls in Tennessee.

Mary was still the most common name for women and girls in the United States in the 1990 census.

Based on data from the Social Security Administration, Mary is the seventh most common given name in the United States, with 2.16 million individuals bearing this name as of 2023.

Mariah had a short-lived burst of popularity after 1990, when singer Mariah Carey first topped the charts, peaking at rank 62 in 1998.

Molly, a pet form, was ranked as the 29th most popular name there and spelling variant Mollie at No. 107; Maria was ranked at No. 93; Maryam was ranked at No. 116 as of 2007.


Biblical figures

  • New Testament people named Mary:
    • Mary, mother of Jesus
    • Mary Magdalene, a disciple of Jesus
    • Mary of Bethany, a follower of Jesus, considered by Western medieval tradition to be Mary Magdalene
    • Mary of Clopas, a follower of Jesus
    • Mary, mother of James the younger (or lesser)
    • Mary, mother of John Mark
    • Mary of Rome
    • Salome (disciple), a follower of Jesus, in medieval tradition Mary Salome


  • Mary of Woodstock (1278–1332), daughter of King Edward I of England
  • Mary, Queen of Hungary (1371–1395), Queen of Hungary and Croatia, daughter of Louis I the Great of Hungary
  • Mary Tudor, Queen of France (1496–1533), daughter of Henry VII of England
  • Mary of Guise (1515–1560), Queen Consort of James V of Scotland and mother of Mary, Queen of Scots
  • Mary I of England (1516–1558)
  • Mary, Queen of Scots (1542–1587), mother of James I of England
  • Princess Mary of England (1605–1607), daughter of James VI and I
  • Mary, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange (1631–1660), daughter of Charles I of England
  • Mary of Modena (1658–1718), Queen Consort of King James II of England and VII of Scotland
  • Mary II of England (1662–1694), daughter of James VII and II, Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland, wife of King William III and joint ruler with him
  • Princess Mary of Great Britain (1723–1772), daughter of George II of Great Britain
  • Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh (1776–1857), daughter of George III of the United Kingdom
  • Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge (1833–1897), granddaughter of George III of the United Kingdom
  • Mary of Teck (1867–1953), Queen Consort of King George V of the United Kingdom
  • Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood (1897–1965), daughter of George V of the United Kingdom
  • Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark (born 1972), Australian-born wife of Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark

Non-royal aristocrats

  • Mary, Countess of Blois (1200–1241), daughter of Walter of Avesnes and Margaret of Blois
  • Mary of Guelders (c. 1434–1463), daughter of Arnold, Duke of Guelders
  • Mary of Burgundy (1457–1482), daughter of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy


  • Mary (slave) (died 1838), an American teenage slave executed for murder
  • Mary Abbott (artist) (1921–2019), American artist
  • Mary Abbott (golfer) (1857–1904), American golfer
  • Mary Bethune Abbott (1823–1898), wife of Sir John Abbott, the third Prime Minister of Canada
  • Mary Ogden Abbott (1894–1981), American artist, traveler and equestrian
  • Mary Adams (activist) (born 1938), tax activist who led the repeal of Maine's statewide property tax and efforts to enact a Taxpayer Bill of Rights
  • Mary Adams (actress) (1910–1973), American actress
  • Mary Adams (broadcaster) (1898–1984), administrator who helped to develop the BBC's television service in the 1950s
  • Mary Adams (codebreaker) (codebreaker, 1922–2010), Scottish interceptor for Bletchley Park during World War II
  • Mary Adams (educator) (1823–1898), Canadian women's education reformer
  • Mary Jane Adams (1840–1902), Irish poet
  • Mary Kay Adams (born 1962), American television actress
  • Mary Kawennatakie Adams (1917–1999), First Nations basketmaker
  • Mary Newbury Adams (1837–1901), American women's suffragist and education advocate
  • Mary Andross (1893–1968), Scottish chemist
  • Mary Ajami (1888–1965), Syrian writer
  • Mary Baker (painter) (1842–1856), English painter
  • Mary Ann Baker (1831–1921), American composer and singer
  • Mary E. Baker (1923–1995), African-American community activist
  • Mary Landon Baker (1901–1961), American socialite and heiress famous for her romantic life
  • Mary Lou Baker (1914–1965), member of the Florida House of Representatives and women's rights activist
  • Bonnie Baker (baseball) (Mary Geraldine Baker, 1918–2003), American baseball player
  • Mary Beard (classicist) (born 1955), English scholar of Ancient Rome
  • Mary Ritter Beard (1876–1958), American historian, author, women's suffrage activist, and women's history archivist
  • Mary Lincoln Beckwith (1898–1975), prominent descendant of Abraham Lincoln
  • Mary Kay Bergman (1961–1999), American voice actress
  • Mary E. Black (1895–1988), American-Canadian occupational therapist, teacher, master weaver and writer
  • Mary J. L. Black (1879-1939), Canadian librarian and suffragist
  • Mary Borgstrom (1916–2019), Canadian potter, ceramist, and artist
  • Mary Brian (1906–2002), American actress and movie star
  • Mary Bright (1954–2002), Scottish curtain designer
  • Mary Lee Cagle (1864–1955), married name Mary Harris, pastor
  • Mary Carey, Lady Carey (c. 1609 – c. 1680), author and poet
  • Mary L. Coloe (born 1949), biblical scholar
  • Mary Ann Cooke (1784–1868), British missionary
  • Mary Costa (born 1930), American opera singer and actress
  • Mary Lincoln Crume (1775–c. 1832), aunt of American President Abraham Lincoln
  • Moll Davis (c. 1648–1708), actress and mistress of Charles II of Great Britain
  • Mary Davis (actress), American silent film actress
  • Mary Davis (artist) (1866–1941), English artist
  • Mary E. P. Davis (1840–1924), American nursing instructor
  • Mary Davis (activist) (born 1954), Special Olympics organiser and candidate in the Irish presidential election, 2011
  • Mary Bond Davis (born 1958), American singer, actor and dancer
  • Mary Gould Davis (1882–1956), American author, librarian, storyteller and editor
  • Mary Lund Davis (1922–2008), modernist architect
  • Mary Davis, singer of the S.O.S. Band
  • Mary Dixon-Woods, social scientist
  • Mary East (c. 1716–1780), English tavern owner
  • Mary Baker Eddy (1821–1910), born Mary Baker, founder of Christian Science
  • Mary Fuller (1888–1973), American Silent Film Actress
  • Mary Fuller (sculptor) (1922–2022), American sculptor and art historian
  • Mimi Gardner Gates (born 1943), American art historian who is the recent director of the Seattle Art Museum, stepmother of Bill Gates
  • Mary Maxwell Gates (1929–1994), American businesswoman, executive, civic activist, and school teacher, mother of Bill Gates
  • Mary Gennoy (1951–2004), American activist
  • Mary Grant (politician) (1928–2016), Ghanaian politician
  • Mary Grant (sculptor) (1831–1908), British sculptor
  • Mary E. Grant (born 1953), American psychiatric nurse and politician
  • Mary Pollock Grant (1876–1957), Scottish suffragette, politician, missionary and policewoman
  • Liz Grant (Mary Elizabeth Grant, born 1930), former Australian pharmacist and politician
  • Mary Styles Harris (born 1949), geneticist
  • Mel Harris (Mary Ellen Harris, born 1956), actress
  • Mary Harris (musician), member of the music group Ambrosia
  • Mary Packer Harris (1891–1978), Scottish artist and art teacher
  • Mary Harris (cricketer), New Zealand cricketer
  • Mary Johnson Harris (born 1963), member of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Mary Winifred Harris, Clerk of the New Zealand House of Representatives
  • Mary Harris (murderer), American murderer
  • Mary Harron (b. 1953), Canadian film director and screenwriter
  • Mary Harron (actress), silent film era actress, sister of Harrons John and Robert also silent era actors
  • Mary Henderson (journalist) (1919–2004), Greek-born British journalist and host
  • Mary H. J. Henderson (1874–1938), administrator with World War I Scottish Women's Hospitals for Foreign Service
  • Mary Dorothea Heron (c. 1897–1960), first woman to be admitted to the Roll of Solicitors in Ireland
  • Mary MacLean Hindmarsh, Australian botanist
  • Mary Hinton (actress) (1896–1979), British actress
  • Mary Dana Hinton, American university administrator
  • Mary Hilliard Hinton (1869–1961), American historian, painter, and anti-suffragist
  • Mary Hobson (1926–2020), British writer, poet and translator
  • Mary Hobson (curler), American curler
  • Sister Mary Melanie Holliday (1850–1939), American Catholic nun
  • Mary Hottinger (1893–1978), Scottish translator and author
  • Mary Ann Hutton (1862–1953), Irish language scholar and writer
  • Mary Ingalls (1865–1928), older sister of author Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • Mary E. Ireland (1834–1927), American author, translator, poet
  • Mamie Lincoln Isham (1869–1938), granddaughter of Abraham Lincoln
  • Mary Jackson (Richmond Bread Riot) (c. 1829 – c. 1870), leader of Richmond Bread Riot of 1863
  • Mary Anna Jackson (1831–1915), wife of Confederate Army general Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson
  • Mary E. Jackson (1867–1923), African-American suffrage activist, YWCA leader and writer
  • Mary Percy Jackson (1904–2000), Canadian medical doctor
  • Mary Jackson (actress) (1910–2005), film and television actress
  • Mary Jackson (engineer) (1921–2005), NASA engineer
  • Mary Ann Jackson (1923–2003), child actress
  • Mary Jackson (artist) (born 1945), African-American fiber artist
  • Mary M. Jackson (fl. 1980s–2010s), American Navy vice admiral
  • Mary Jemison (1743–1833), British frontierswoman
  • Mary Jerrold (1877–1955), English actress
  • Mary Johnson (first lady) (c. 1830–1887), first lady of California
  • Mary Johnson (actress) (1896–1975), Swedish silent film performer
  • Mary Johnson (singer) (1898–1983), African American lowdown blues singer
  • Mary Johnson (cricketer) (born 1924), English cricketer
  • Mary Lea Johnson (1926–1990), American theatrical producer, entrepreneur and philanthropist
  • Mary Johnson (activist) (born 1948), American advocate for disability rights; founded Ragged Edge magazine
  • Mary Johnson (writer) (born 1958), American writer and Director of A Room of Her Own Foundation
  • Mary Johnson (politician), member of the North Dakota House of Representatives
  • Mary C. Johnson, one of the first three females to practice law in Georgia
  • Mary Jane Richardson Jones, American suffragist and activist from Chicago
  • Mary Lakeland (died 1645), English woman executed for witchcraft
  • Mary Lee (1921–2022), Scottish singer
  • Mary Johnson Bailey Lincoln (1844–1921), American science teacher
  • Mary Harlan Lincoln (1846–1937), daughter of James Harlan, wife of Robert Todd Lincoln, daughter-in-law of Abraham Lincoln
  • Mary Todd Lincoln (1818–1882), former First Lady of the United States, wife of Abraham Lincoln
  • Mary Johnson Lowe (1924–1999), American jurist
  • Mary Martin (1913–1990), American actress and singer
  • Mary Baker McQuesten (1849–1934), Canadian activist
  • Maybelle Stephens Mitchell (Mary Isabel Stephens Mitchell; 1872–1919), American suffragist
  • Mary Money (died 1905), English female murder victim
  • Mary Morton (1879–1965), British sculptor
  • Mary K. Okheena (born 1957), Inuvialuit graphic artist
  • Mary-Kate Olsen (born 1986), American fashion designer and former child actress
  • Mary Paischeff (1899–1975), Finnish ballerina
  • Mary Felicia Perera (born 1944), Sri Lankan Sinhala cinema actress
  • Mary Phagan (1899–1913), American murder victim
  • Mary Pudlat (1923–2001), Canadian Inuk artist
  • Mary Putnam (born 1988), inventor of the post-it note
  • Mary Quigley (1960–1977), American murder victim
  • Mary Quin, American businesswoman
  • Mary Rambaran-Olm, specialist in the literature and history of early medieval England
  • Mary Ramsey (born 1963), American singer-songwriter
  • Mary Ramsey (died 1601), English philanthropist
  • Mary Rice (wheelchair racer), Irish paralympic athlete
  • Mary Roberts (author) (1788–1864), author, born London
  • Mary Fanton Roberts (1864–1956), American journalist
  • Mary Helen Roberts (born 1947), American politician in the state of Washington
  • Mary Wendy Roberts (born 1944), American politician in the state of Oregon
  • Mary Louise Roberts (physiotherapist) (1886–1968), New Zealand masseuse, physiotherapist and mountaineer
  • Mary Grant Roberts (1841–1921), Australian zoo owner
  • Cokie Roberts (1943–2019), real name Mary Roberts, American journalist and author
  • Mary Roos (born 1949), German singer
  • Mary Scharlieb (1845–1930), British pioneer female physician and gynaecologist
  • Mary Anne Schwalbe (1934–2009), university administrator and refugee worker
  • Mary Jane Seacole (1805–1881), British-Jamaican nurse, healer and businesswoman
  • Mary Shelley (1797–1851), English novelist who wrote the Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus
  • Mary Siezgle, American soldier
  • Mary Silvani (1948–1982), American murder victim
  • Mary Craig Sinclair (1882–1961), American writer and the wife of Upton Sinclair
  • Mary Florence Wells Slater (1864–1941), American entomologist and schoolteacher
  • Mary Lou Spiess (1931–1992), American designer of disabled fashion
  • Margaret Truman (Mary Margaret Truman, 1924–2008), only daughter of Harry S. Truman
  • Mary Anne MacLeod Trump (1912–2000), mother of Donald Trump
  • Mary L. Trump (born 1965), psychologist and author; niece of Donald Trump
  • Mary Frances Tucker (1837–1902), American poet
  • Mary van Kleeck (1883–1972), American social scientist and socialist
  • Mary Burke Washington (1926–2014), American economist
  • Mary Ball Washington (1708–1789), mother of U.S. President George Washington
  • Mary Helen Washington, American literary scholar
  • Mary L. Washington (born 1962), Maryland legislator
  • Mary T. Washington (1906–2005), first African-American woman to be a certified public accountant in the United States
  • Mary Wollstonecraft (1759–1797), English writer and founding feminist philosopher
  • Mary Ziegler (born 1982), American legal historian

See also

  • All pages with titles beginning with Mary
  • Mary Jo
  • Marian (given name)
  • Máire
  • Marion
  • Muire
  • Molly
  • Polly
  • Saint Mary (disambiguation)



General sources

  • Rosenkrantz, Linda and Satran, Pamela Redmond (2005). Beyond Jennifer and Jason, Madison and Montana, Fourth Edition. St. Martin's Paperbacks. ISBN 0-312-94095-5.
  • Todd, Loreto (1998). Celtic Names for Children. Irish American Book Company. ISBN 0-9627855-6-3.
  • Wallace, Carol (2004). The Penguin Classic Baby Name Book. Penguin. ISBN 0-14-200470-7.
  • Wood, Jamie Martinez (2001). ¿Cómo te llamas, Baby? Berkley. ISBN 0-425-17959-1.
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Text submitted to CC-BY-SA license. Source: Mary (name) by Wikipedia (Historical)