Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Mercedes

Mercedes is a name we adopted from the Spanish, in reference to the Blessed Mother sometimes referred to as Maria de las Mercedes (Our Lady of Mercies). The cult of the Virgin Mary has always been huge among Spaniards and Latinos in other cultures. Mercedes is just one more epithet given to their Catholic idol (think: Our Lady of Carmel, Our Lady of Sorrows, Our Lady of Guadalupe, etc). Such names have been popular in the Hispanic culture in celebration of Mary, mother of Jesus. The word “mercedes” comes from the Latin “merces” originally denoting “wages, ransom” or in Vulgar Latin translated to “favor, pity”. In Catholic theology, Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was considered an “act of ransom” (i.e., “ransom for the sins of mankind”). In other words, He gave up His life to release mankind from his sins and to set man free so that we may all ascend to heaven in afterlife. As a result, the “act of ransom” is synonymous to the “act of mercy”. The Roman Catholic calendar celebrates Mary under this title (Our Lady of Mercies) on August 10th and September 24th. Mercedes is now occasionally used within English-speaking nations, either having been influenced by their Hispanic cultures, or else in reference to the luxury German-made automobile of the same name. Mercedes is currently most popular in Spain and the United States.

All About the Baby Name – Mercedes

Personality

OF THE GIRL NAME MERCEDES

The number Nine personality represents the completion or ending of the cycle, and a need for perfection. This is the personality that moves from "self" to a greater understanding and compassion for the human condition and the world order. They want to make the world a better place. Nines are capable of great spiritual and humanitarian achievements. They are courageous and fearless, able to fight great battles on behalf of worthy causes. These personalities will not tolerate injustice. They are compassionate people with a strong sensitivity to others. They are able to both educate and inspire. Friendships and relationships are the lifeblood to the Nine, and they place a high value on love and affection. Nines are often exceptionally gifted artistically, and they have a keen imagination and enterprising mind.

Popularity

OF THE GIRL NAME MERCEDES

Mercedes has been around in America for a lot longer than we would have guessed. In fact the name predates the German auto here in America; actually it predates the invention of the automobile. We can find Mercedes on the U.S. female naming charts as far back as the government has been tracking name data (1880). The name was only used moderately back at the turn of the 20th century and as the decades progressed it started to slip in popularity. This is generally contrary to what we see with other names of Spanish origin since the Hispanic-American population is constantly on the rise. So it seemed that Mercedes was going out of style and Spanish-speaking parents were no longer showing her any “mercy”. Then things started to turn around abruptly in the late 1980s and early 90s when Mercedes started to ascend. This was probably owing to actress Mercedes Ruehl whose career was reaching its peak popularity around this time (Ruehl is part Cuban from a Catholic family). She apparently put her unusual name on the American radar for a few years; the name reached #164 on the charts in 1991 (which is a pretty respectable position all things being equal). Since 1992 however, Mercedes has gone backwards in popularity consistently every year and is now down to levels of pretty low usage. Most people think of the highfalutin German-made automobile when they hear this name. Ironically, Mercedes really has rather humble origins.

Quick Facts

ON MERCEDES

GENDER:

Girl

ORIGIN:

Latin

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

3

RANKING POPULARITY:

860

PRONUNCIATION:

mer-SE-dhes

SIMPLE MEANING:

Mercies

Characteristics

OF MERCEDES

Multi-talented

Intuitive

Oneness

Idealistic

Philanthropy

Independent

Perfection

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Mercedes

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME MERCEDES

Mercedes is the only female character in Jack London’s most widely read book , the 1903 novella, The Call of the Wild, and, oh dear, what a sorry representation she provides for the gender. Mercedes and her husband, Charlie and her brother, Hal, are in the Klondike searching for gold, when they are given the opportunity to buy the kidnapped Buck as a sled-dog. Mercedes is a pampered, vain and selfish woman loose in the wilderness with no guide but her own greed. She, her husband and her brother mistreat the sled dogs, underfeeding them and driving them mercilessly. Mercedes even insists upon riding in the sled, which they have already over-packed. When Buck rebels at crossing the treacherous river and is rescued by John Thornton, Mercedes and her men press on, with predictably disastrous results. Mercedes’ name may be beautiful, but in this character, she symbolizes the harmful effects of civilization upon the natural order of things.

Popular Songs

ON MERCEDES

Mercedes
a song by Fonseca

Mercedes Benz
a song by Janis Joplin

Mercedes Boy
a song by Pebbles

Famous People

NAMED MERCEDES

Mercedes Ruehl (actress)
Mercédès Jellinek (daughter/namesake of the Mercedes cars)
Mercedes de Acosta (poet and socialite)
Mercedes, Princess of Asturias (Spanish royalty)
Mercedes McCambridge (radio actress)
Mercedes of Orléans (19th century Queen consort of Spain)

Children of Famous People

NAMED MERCEDES

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

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME MERCEDES

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