Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Marie

Marie is the French, German, Scandinavian and Czechoslovakian form of the Latin Maria. Mary is considered the English version of the same name, all of which originated from the Hebrew Miriam (Miryam). It is widely held that Miryam was borrowed from the Egyptian element “myr” meaning “beloved”. There are several other unproven theories as to the name’s etymology, including “bitter” and “rebellious” (which fits nicely with Miriam’s story in the Bible) and “wished for child” (which essentially means the same thing as “beloved” anyway). Another commonly accepted meaning for the “Maria/Mary” names comes from the Latin “stella maris” meaning “star of the sea”. It provided the imagery of the Virgin Mother as a guiding star to Christians/Gentiles. In any case, all of these Mary names ultimately hail from the ancient Miriam who was borne from the Bible, specifically the book of Exodus in the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible, as the older sister of Moses and Aaron. (For more information on Miriam’s biblical story, please see that name). In Latin and Greek, the old Hebrew name became Maria and the English obviously use Mary. Mary (Maria/Marie) is most familiar to Westerners thanks to the New Testament which features a few women named Mary – but most importantly the Virgin Mother of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene one of Christ’s favored disciples. Because of Mary’s importance among Christians, the name was considered too holy for use until later in the Middle Ages. Now we can say with confidence that the Mary family of names (in all of her various linguistic formations) is the most successful in the history of womankind. Some example of the names which grew from the seed of “beloved” Miriam? Maria, Mary, Marie, Marianne, Marion, Maia, Mara, Mia, Maike, Maja, Malia, Maura, Maureen, Molly, Marilyn, etc. And that’s just a partial list! Marie is used among English speakers (along with Mary and Maria), but it is widely considered the French, German and Scandinavian form of Mary. Marie is a very high ranking name in Belgium, Austria, Germany, Norway, Denmark and France. It is now much less common in the United States than it once was.

All About the Baby Name – Marie



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Right now in the United States, Americans prefer the Spanish Maria, the largely African-American Mariah, the English Mary, the Hawaiian Malia and the Hebrew Miriam to the French/German Marie. And its popularity pretty much follows in that order. But there was a time in history when the pretty two-syllable Marie ruled the charts. Well maybe not as much as Mary, but in the late 19th century up through the first half of the 20th century, Marie was running strong. The name’s peak popularity was right at the turn of the 20th century when Marie was a Top 10 favorite in the country. In fact, she was the 7th most common choice for baby girls for three years between 1901 and 1904. Marie stayed on the Top 100 list up through 1958. In the past 50+ years, however, Marie has had to step aside for more modern or casual forms of the Mary names (for instance Mia, Molly, Mariah and Malia). Even the old perennial favorite Mary is taking a back seat to the more fanciful three-syllable Latin/Spanish Maria. Marie’s drops on the popularity charts have become more pronounced in the past 20 years making this old favorite considerably underused today (except as a common middle name). It’s also a great compound name such as in the case of Marie-Claire or Marie-Louise. We love the name Marie. It’s just so French and elegant in its simplicity. It automatically makes us think of Marie Antoinette, the intelligent, feisty, glamorous, courageous, yet ill-fated 18th century Queen of France. Or Marie Curie, a pioneering scientist and winner of two Nobel Prizes (in physics and chemistry). Marie is a classic name now forgotten or overlooked by most Americans. That’s good news for parents still attracted to this French beauty.

Quick Facts











ma-REE (French) or MAH-ree (English)


Beloved (see more meanings below)









Cultural References to the Baby Name – Marie

Literary Characters


Marie Cardona is a character in Albert Camus’ 1942 novel, The Stranger. She is Meursault’s mistress, if such an intimate term may be used to describe anyone or anything in Meursault’s affectless life. Marie herself is full of life, young, simple and good-hearted. She works as a typist, she loves comedies and swimming, she is physically sensual and a happy sexual partner to Meursault, engaging in frequent PDAs with him. She unabashedly loves him, and she seems to be clear on his detachment; she still wants to marry him, even though he has told her he probably does not love her. Our Marie could probably muster up enough love for the both of them. Naturally, a full-bodied, fully engaged woman such as Marie would pick a partner like Meursault! When he kills the nameless Arab and goes to prison, the nicest thing we can say about him is that his sexual union with Marie is the only thing he misses. We’re rather relieved on her behalf that he is sentenced to be executed.

Marie St. Clare is the mother of the saintly Little Eva in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 anti-slavery classic, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, but that is her only association with virtue – of her own character it can only be said that she is quite the opposite of virtuous. Indeed, she is a first-rate villainess. She is seemingly void of human feelings, neglectful of her husband and daughter, and downright cruel to the slaves. She is a foolish and self-centered hypochondriac, who hardly even notices when her little daughter contracts a fatal illness. She ignores her husband’s dying wish and proceeds to sell the slaves at auction. It’s hard to find any redeeming quality in this Marie, but she does provide some much needed vinegar amidst all that sugar. And - what a wonderful name – Marie St. Clare – just beautiful!

Miss Marie is one of the three prostitutes who live in the apartment over the Breedloves in Toni Morrison’s first novel, 1972’s The Bluest Eye. Also known as the Maginot Line due to her extreme size, Miss Marie is an affectionate and open friend to young Pecola. She loves life, loves to laugh, loves to talk, loves to eat, loves to joke, loves to get the better of men and loves to set society’s rules upside down. And we can be sure that she knows that miraculously having blue eyes wouldn’t solve any problems for Pecola, a lesson the young girl will learn for herself. However hard the outcome, it is the Miss Maries of the world who ease the journey there.

Childrens Books


We cannot find any childrens books with the first name Marie

Popular Songs


Absolutely Sweet Marie
a song by Bob Dylan

a song by Johnny Hallyday

The Day I Met Marie
a song by Cliff Richard

Sweet Marie
a song by Thin Lizzy

Sugar Marie
a song by John Mellencamp

Oh Marie
a song by Sheryl Crow

Marie Marie
a song by The Blasters

Marie Leveau
a song by Bobby Bare

Marie Christine
a song by Gordon Lightfoot

Little Marie
a song by Chuck Berry

Ask Marie
a song by Sonny James

Nora Marie
a song by Tyler Hilton

Christine Marie
a song by Ecid

Our Darling Daughter You Are, Little Cecilia Marie
a song by The Prize Fighter Inferno

Famous People


Anne Marie d'Orléans (French noblewoman, Queen Consort of Sardinia)
Anne-Marie Duff (English actress)
Marie Antoinette (Queen of France)
Marie Curie (physicist/chemist)
Marie Osmond (singer/TV personality)
Marie (the name of several European royalties)

Children of Famous People


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

Historic Figures


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