Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Rosemary

Rosemary is an old-fashioned English name coined from the combination of Rose and Mary. Rosemary also shares her name with the herb, from the Latin “ros” meaning “dew” and “marinus” meaning “sea”, resulting from the fact that rosemary, native to the Mediterranean region, needed very little water to survive. Rather, rosemary only needed the “dew of the sea” or the humidity carried from the Mediterranean breezes. Not only is rosemary a fragrant plant with pretty blooming flowers that dresses up any garden, but it also adds flavor to food and medicinal advantages to people. Rosemary was believed to treat health issues from gout to limb numbness to memory loss. Even Shakespeare’s Ophelia says, "There's rosemary, that's for remembrance." (Hamlet, iv. 5.). Rosemary has also been associated with love since medieval times when wedding brides often wore headpieces adorned with rosemary (as a love charm of sorts). If one tapped another with a sprig of rosemary that contained a blooming flower, it was said the couple would fall in love. Or else one could figure out who was meant to be their fateful lover by planting rosemary plants; the first to bloom would signify one’s destined soul mate. The love-connection may have something to do with the belief that Aphrodite (the Greek goddess of love) was said to have risen from the sea draped in rosemary. Religion has its own legend, too. The Blessed Mother was said to have draped her shawl over a rosemary bush turning the blooming flowers to blue (henceforth giving he shrub its name: Rose of Mary). There were all sorts of medieval legends revolving around rosemary – from the attraction of love to the repulsion of witches. From the attraction of health to the repulsion of illness. Overall rosemary is an aromatic, flavorful herb containing positive energy. As a female given name, Rosemary came into style in the 19th century when naming daughters after trees, plants and flowers became quite fashionable. Not to mention the added bonus of two distinctly different names put together: Rose + Mary. There was a point in time when Rosemary and Rosemarie were quite popular throughout the English speaking world, but not so much anymore.

All About the Baby Name – Rosemary



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.



Rosemary is such a quaintly and sweetly old-fashioned name. She’s so outdated now she’s becoming cool. This name has resided on the American female naming charts (i.e., the Top 1000 list) for well over 100 years. Rosemary was most fashionable in America during the 1930s and 40s. The highest position she every achieved on the charts was at spot #74 in 1946. From the 1950s onward, Rosemary was witness to a slow and steady decline from usage as American parents began to lose interest. Now she’s no more than a random old-lady named bestowed occasionally upon little girls. Yet how can you NOT like Rosemary or Rosemarie? These old-fashioned charmers are now so geeky-outmoded that they have managed to transcend coolness. And don’t think there’s not a “dark side” to this pretty lady. “Rosemary’s Baby” was the top-selling 1960s horror novel by Ira Levin (1967) made into a massively popular film the following year directed by Roman Polanski and starring Mia Farrow. Regardless of this pop-culture reference, Rosemary is a pleasant sounding name suitable for any aged girl or woman. Nicknames include Ro, Romy, Rosie, Rose, Mary – so many options for your little girl! The Rosemary plant signifies remembrance, which is a lasting legacy any parent would want to impart upon their children. And the name’s meaning (i.e., “dew of the sea”) imbues a sense of serenity and peacefulness.

Quick Facts













Dew of the sea










Cultural References to the Baby Name – Rosemary

Literary Characters


Rosemary Hoyt is a main character in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s final completed novel, 1934’s Tender is the Night. Rosemary is a young and beautiful Hollywood starlet on a holiday with her mother on the French Riviera. She immediately, with Mom’s encouragement, falls in love with the novel’s protagonist, Dick Diver. Eventually Dick’s resistance wears down and he returns the favor, married though he is. And his marriage comes with complications – he is a psychiatrist married to a former patient, the emotionally fragile Nicole. The young and rather naïve Rosemary is drawn into the glamorous and sophisticated circle in which the Divers move, and is caught up in the misdeeds that seem to occur around them. Rosemary is said to be modeled upon the silent film actress, Lois Moran, with whom Fitzgerald conducted an affair. Ms. Moran retired quietly from the high life in 1934; perhaps Rosemary Hoyt did, too.

Rosemary Woodhouse is the title character in the blockbuster Roman Polanski 1968 movie, Rosemary’s Baby, based on the equally popular 1966 novel by Ira Levin. Rosemary is a young, happily married, happily expectant mother-to-be who suddenly finds herself in a nightmare. As she and her aspiring actor husband, Guy, settle into their Gothic New York apartment, they become friends with a much older couple, the Castavets. Mysterious things begin to happen, as one of Rosemary’s dearest friends falls into a coma, a neighbor commits suicide, and Guy’s career begins to take off. All the while, Rosemary’s pregnancy is advancing with fearsome side-effects and complications. As portrayed in the movie by Mia Farrow, Rosemary is a rightfully frightened person whose life, as well as that of her unborn child’s, seems to hang in a terrifying and unthinkable balance.

Rosemary Pilkington is the girlfriend of the hero of the 1961 Broadway musical, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, based upon a 1952 book by Shepherd Mead. Rosemary is a pretty young secretary who sees promise in J. Pierpont Finch, the young window-washer making his way to the top with the aid of a how-to book. She is nothing if not loyal, and overlooks the wily “Ponty’s” schemes with the benign blindness of love. That warm-hearted faithfulness pays off when, in the style of fifty years ago, Rosemary gets her man at the end. She probably also quit the secretarial pool, so we hope the marriage lasted!

Childrens Books


We cannot find any childrens books with the first name Rosemary

Popular Songs


Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts
by Joan Baez

a song by Frank Loesser

Dear Rosemary
a song by the Foo Fighters

Rosemary Had an Accident
by The Devil Wears Prada

Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes
Edison Lighthouse

Why Didn't Rosemary
a song by Deep Purple

Sweet Rosemary
a song by Sandy Denny

Stealing Rosemary
a song by The Bangles

Rosemary Taste the Sky
a song by Cemetary

Rosemary Rose
a song by the Kinks

Famous People


Rosemary Clooney (singer/musician)
Rosemary Harris (actress)
Rosemary Casals (tennis player)
Rosemary DeCamp (actress)
Rosemary Kennedy (sister of JFK)
Rosemary Wells (children’s book author)

Children of Famous People


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

Historic Figures


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