The name Mary is a girl's name of Hebrew origin meaning "bitter". Mary is ranked #126 on our popularity charts and is often added to lists like Bible Names for Girls and discussed in our forums with posts like "Names on NB that make you go WOW!".
From the experts:
Mary, the quintessential New Testament name, was Number 1 for girls until the mid-twentieth century. Though still popular, Mary is used now mostly for religious or family reasons. If it's style you're after, Mary's many diminutives and derivatives such as Maire, Mamie, May, Mitzi, Molly, Maura, Marietta, and even Maria may seem more fashionable.
Mary was the most popular and enduring female Christian name in the English-speaking world (as were Maria and Marie in Spanish and French) until the 1940s. That was when in the US Mary was finally dethroned by such trendy upstarts as Linda and Karen.
There are six Marys in the Bible, including the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene, Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and Mary the mother of Mark, and there have been British royal Marys beginning in the sixteenth century. In earlier times Mary was considered too sacred to be used; it finally gained usage in England in the twelfth century, and by the sixteenth had blanketed the female population, to the point where dozens of pet forms had to be contrived to distinguish one Mary in the family from the others.
The poet Byron deemed Mary a "magic" name, and Bing Crosby proclaimed it "a grand old name." Mary has always been a good-girl name, as reflected by such mid-century icons of propriety and wholesomeness as Mary Poppins and Mary Tyler Moore. The lovely Lady Mary Crawley of Downton Abbey has restored some freshness to the name.
Among the celebs who dropped their birth name of Mary are Meryl Streep, Debbie Reynolds, and Lily Tomlin.
Lists containing Mary:
- International Variations of Mary
- Christmas Baby Names
- Classic Baby Names for Girls
- Traditional Baby Names
- Jane Austen Baby Names
- Girl Names ALWAYS in the Top 1000
- Easter Baby Names
- Bible Names for Girls
- Christmas Baby Names
- Number One Baby Names
- Girls' Names With Gravity
- Names from the 1920s
- Victorian Royal Baby Names
- Classic Baby Names
- Names Inspired by The Beatles
- Middle Names for Girls
- Girls' Names That End in Y
- Names for December Babies
- Christian Baby Names