Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Maria

Maria is generally considered the Latin, Italian and Spanish form of Mary, in honor of the Virgin Mother (which is correct); however, Maria actually predates Christianity in ancient Roman society. Technically speaking, Maria originated as the female equivalent to Marius, an Old Roman masculine name believed to mean either “masculine, virile” (from the Latin “mas”) or “sea” (from the Latin “mare”). However, once Christianity infiltrated Roman society and officially became the state religion in the 4th century, the name Maria was used as the Latinized form of the Hebrew Miriam (the root name for Mary). Miriam, in turn, is probably derived from the Egyptian element “mry” meaning “beloved”, although other etymologists believe Miriam means “rebellion” from a word of uncertain language origin. In any case, in Latin society Maria became mainly associated with Mary, the mother of Jesus (the French use Marie). Although considered too holy for use at first, the names Mary, Marie and Maria were eventually embraced at all levels of medieval European society. In fact, these three names would become the most popular female given names of all time.

All About the Baby Name – Maria



Romance is the hallmark of the Six personality. They exude nurturing, loving, and caring energy. Sixes are in love with the idea of love in its idealized form - and with their magnetic personalities, they easily draw people toward them. Like the number Two personality, they seek balance and harmony in their life and the world at large. They are conscientious and service-oriented, and a champion for the underdog. These personalities naturally attract money and are usually surrounded by lovely material objects - but their human relationships are always primary. They thrive in giving back to others rather than being motivated by their own desires. This is when they achieve great things. Sixes are natural teachers, ministers and counselors.



Interestingly, Maria is currently more popular than Mary in the United States (she surpassed her English counterpart for the first time in 1996). Ranked as the #101 most favorite baby girls name in 2012, Maria just missed the Top 100 list by a hair. That hasn’t happened since 1943! Always a popular name, Maria is especially favored among Hispanic-Americans. The name is used with the most frequency in the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Florida, New Jersey and California (states with the highest per capita population of Latinos). It’s a lovely, three-syllable rendition of Mary or Marie. You simply can’t go wrong with a name like Maria.

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Beloved (Mary)










Cultural References to the Baby Name – Maria

Literary Characters


Maria is a character in William Shakespeare’s comedy, Twelfth Night, believed to have been written around 1601/02. Maria is the Countess Olivia’s lady-in-waiting, and she is a spirited prankster in her own right. In this comedy of errors, involving the usual male-to-female-and vice-versa changeovers, Maria is part of the plot to make Olivia’s steward, Malvolio, believe the noblewoman is in love with him. Maria writes a letter to him, purporting to be from Olivia, which inspires Malvolio to enact all kinds of nonsense. This gets him (again through Maria’s intervention) thrown into a dark holding chamber. An educated, literate, prankster of a ladies’ maid deserves a happy ending, and Maria gets one – she marries Sir Toby Belch. Apart from the fate of being addressed as Madam Belch, she could have done a whole lot worse!

Maria is the love interest of the American Robert Jordan in Ernest Hemingway’s 1940 classic, For Whom The Bell Tolls, (made into a movie in 1943 with the incomparable Ingrid Bergman as Maria). The beautiful young Maria has suffered greatly in the Spanish Civil War, having lost her family, been raped, and having had her hair shorn. Youth and her own natural innocent goodness are on her side, however, and she is recovering when Jordan arrives in the guerilla camp. Their attraction is powerful and instantaneous – and immediately consummated (“Did thee feel the earth move?”). Maria instills a revived sense of hope into the cynical American, and he dares to hope for a future with her. It is not to be, of course, but Maria (Spain?) is saved again by the heroics of the man who loves her – she lives on.

Maria Bertram is a character in Jane Austen’s 1814 novel, Mansfield Park. She is one of four children of a wealthy family which takes in their beautiful but impoverished niece, Fanny Price, to their home at Mansfield Park. Maria is as bad as Fanny is good, which is saying something. She is vain, self-centered and focused on finding a suitable marriage partner. She treats Fanny like the poor relation she is, and gives her little thought beyond the mandatory teasing. Although engaged to the rich and stupid Mr. Rushworth, Maria is also entranced with the newcomer, Henry Crawford, and dallies with him. When the caddish Henry jilts her, Maria quickly (and regrettably) marries Mr. Rushworth. Sometime later, she and Henry take up with each other again, creating a great scandal and prompting Mr. R. to divorce her and Henry to abandon her. Maria reaps the wages of sin – we are told she adjourns “to another country”. The climate, emotional and otherwise, has to be better!

Marlene Deitrich was considered one of the most glamorous stars of her day. A determined perfectionist with an incredible ego, her beauty, her style, her sense of the outrageous, made her a star. In this candid, illuminating, and detailed biography full of photographs, her only daughter Maria Riva, tells the incredible, fascinating, story of the star's life and career, loves and hates, hits and misses, as only a daughter can. The New York Times says: "Gossipy... Elabroately detailed...Greatly entertaining. Riva leaves no sequin unturned."

Jesus is a character in John Steinbeck’s 1935 novel, “Tortilla Flat,” a book about a group of California paisanos during the period following World War I. The paisanos that Steinbeck describes with great humor and affection are a group of young men of Mexican-Indian-Spanish-Caucasian mixture (purely Californian). Among the ruffians of Tortilla Flat is the humanitarian of the group, Jesus Maria Corcoran. Certainly, his name was not arbitrarily selected by Steinbeck. Jesus Maria is constantly doing all that he can to help those less fortunate than himself and finding ways to put this compassion to use.

Childrens Books


We cannot find any childrens books with the first name Maria

Popular Songs


a song by ALO

They Call the Wind Maria
a song by Kingston Trio

Sarah Maria
a song by James Taylor

Sancta Maria
a song by Andrea Bocelli

O Maria
a song by Beck

My Maria
a song by Brooks & Dunn

Maria Maria
a song by Santana

Maria Magenta
a song by Donovan Leitch

Maria is a Mystery
a song by David Allan Coe

Maria Elena
a song by Ry Cooder

Maria Dolores
a song by Joan Baez

Maria (You Were the Only One)
by Michael Jackson

Ave Maria
a classical piece by J. S. Bach/Charles Gounod

Black Maria
a song by Todd Rundgren

Ave Maria No Morro
a song by Andrea Bocelli

Maria Magdalena
a song by Sandra

Ava Maria
a popular and much-recorded song

Famous People


Maria Shriver (journalist/former First Lady of California)
Maria Bello (actress)
Maria Menounos (entertainment journalist)
Maria Sharapova (tennis player)
Mia Farrow (actress, born Maria de Lourdes Villiers Farrow)

Children of Famous People


We cannot find any children of famous people with the first name Maria

Historic Figures


We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Maria