Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Maya

There are multiple possible origins for the name Maya, so take a seat. For one, it may be a simple respelling of Maia, and ancient goddess of Greek mythology. She was the eldest and most beautiful of the seven daughters of Atlas and Pleione, known as "The Pleiades.” The ruler of all gods, Zeus, fell in love with her and she bore him a son, Hermes (the messenger god). In Roman mythology, Maia was regarded as the goddess of fertility and spring, hence the month of May. Some etymologists believe that Maia was ultimately derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *meg- meaning “great” while others speculate she comes from the root *ma- meaning “mother, good mother.” In Hebrew, Maya comes from “ma'ayan” which translates to “spring, brook” (as in a small stream of water). The name in Old Persian translates to “generous.” In Hindu mythology, Māyā means “illusion.” Queen Māyā is also the name of the mother of Buddha. As a Latinate form of “May”, Maya may also be considered a nickname for Mary or Margaret, meaning “beloved” and “pearl,” respectively. In any case, the name Maya is relatively modern in terms of usage in the English-speaking world – but she has a whole host of ancient etymologies from which to choose.

All About the Baby Name – Maya

Personality

OF THE GIRL NAME MAYA

The number Four personality is marked by stability and discipline. This is the personality that follows the rules and is conservative by nature.  They have an earth-bound energy that prefers to build things methodically on top of firm foundations; they don't cut corners. Fours take their time and don't like to be hurried. But the outcome of their endeavors is likely to result in some strong and useful structure, which makes them great engineers and inventors. Fours are anything but frivolous or controversial. This is a trustworthy, straight-forward personality that embodies dedication and organization. They are the backbone and anchor in their relationships, careers and communities. They are tidy, punctual, and full of integrity. Hard-work comes naturally to a Four and they are immensely reliable. This is the personality you can always count on.

Popularity

OF THE GIRL NAME MAYA

Maya made her debut on the American female naming charts for the first time in 1970 which coincided with Maya Angelou’s rise to international fame resulting from the publication of “I Know Why the Cage Bird Sings” in 1969. From that point on, the name has steadily climbed to the top of the charts. It hit America’s Top 100 list of favorite baby girl names in 2002 and seems to be hovering around position #60 (which means Maya is bestowed upon over 4,000 baby girls each year). An interesting fact is that Maya Angelou’s real name is Marguerite Johnson. She got the name “Maya” from her brother’s mispronunciation, referring to her as “mya sista.” Maya jazzes up the old-fashioned name May. And with its multiple, positive meanings, it’s no wonder American parents find it an attractive choice!

Quick Facts

ON MAYA

GENDER:

Girl

ORIGIN:

Greek

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

72

PRONUNCIATION:

MY-ah

SIMPLE MEANING:

Multiple meanings

Characteristics

OF MAYA

Dependable

Solid

Practical

Hard-working

Industrious

Studious

Conservative

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Maya

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME MAYA

Maya is the central character in Maya Angelou's 1969 critically acclaimed autobiographical novel, "I know Why the Cage Bird Sings.” The book is a coming-of-age story of Maya, a young southern black girl in the segregated American South confronting loneliness, insecurity, sexism, racism and violence – and follows her through her personal traumas and triumphs from girlhood to the age of 16 when she finds herself pregnant. Clearly precocious, bright and perceptive, Maya’s early years are wrought with loneliness, powerlessness and self-doubt. She must overcome many horrible experiences, but her innate spirit ultimately triumphs into an independent, compassionate and wise young woman, securing a position as the first black conductor of a San Francisco streetcar. She serves as a role model to all readers (white and black alike) for her strength in confronting life with dignity and honor despite her many struggles. Truly an inspirational woman!

Popular Songs

ON MAYA

Veils of Maya
a song by Cynic

Maya Love
a song by George Harrison

Maya
a song by The Incredible String Band

Famous People

NAMED MAYA

Maya Angelou (poet)
Maya Rudolph (actress/comic)

Children of Famous People

NAMED MAYA

Uma Thurman;

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME MAYA

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