Maïwenn

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Breton
(mah-ee-WEN)

The name is composed of the Breton elements, Maï, a diminutive form of Mary and gwenn (white; fair; holy).

As of 2010, Maïwenn was the 241st most popular female name in France.

The name is borne by French actress and director, Maïwenn Le Basco (b.1976).

In Breton, it is usually spelled Maiwenn.

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Maureen

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Irish
(MOI-reen; MAW-reen)

The name is an anglicized form of the Gaelic, Máirín, which was originally used as a diminutive form of Mary.

The name first appeared in the U.S. top 1000 in 1907, coming in as the 898th most popular female name. By 1948, she was the 88th most popular female name in the United States, perhaps due to the fame of Irish actress, Maureen O’Hara (b.1920). As of 2010, Maureen was not in the U.S. top 1000.

As of 2009, Maureen was the 497th most popular female name in France and the 478th most popular in the Netherlands, (2010).

Marie Grace

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Dutch

The name is a compound name of Marie and Grace.

Originally, the name was used by Dutch Catholics and Flemish Catholics in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in particular to one of her many epithehts Our Lady of Grace or Mary of Grace.

As of 2008, Marie Grace was the 62nd most popular female name.

An English form is Mary Grace, which is occasionally used among Irish-Americans and in Ireland.

A popular Italian form is Maria Grazia.

Mia

The name could be of several different meanings and origins, but its most popular usage is from the Northern Germanic diminutive form of Maria.

In the English-speaking world, the name was introduced via actress, Mia Farrow (b.1945) whose full name is Maria de Lourdes. The name did not even appear in the U.S. top 1000 the year Mia Farrow was born, but started to rise in popularity in the late 1990s. Currently, Mia is the 10th most popular female name in the United States, (2010) and her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 1 (Germany, 2011)
  • # 2 (German-speaking, Switzerland, 2010)
  • # 2 (Romansch-speaking, Switzerland, 2010)
  • # 3 (Faroe Islands, 2010)
  • # 4 (Isle of Man, 2009)
  • # 4 (Liechtenstein, 2010)
  • # 5 (Luxembourg, 2010)
  • # 6 (Australia, 2010)
  • # 7 (Croatia, 2010)
  • # 13 (England/Wales, 2010)
  • # 15 (Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 15 (Norway, 2010)
  • # 16 (New Zealand, 2010)
  • # 17 (Austria, 2010)
  • # 18 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 20 (Ireland, 2010)
  • # 25 (Slovenia, 2010)
  • # 27 (Canada, B.C., 2010)
  • # 37 (Chile, 2010)
  • # 38 (Bosnia & Herzegovina, 2010)
  • # 49 (Denmark, 2010)
  • # 40 (French-speaking, Switzerland, 2010)
  • # 40 (Italian-speaking, Switzerland, 2010)
  • # 206 (France, 2009)
  • # 221 (Netherlands, 2010)

In the case of its usage in Southern Slavic countries, it is most likely derived from a diminutive form of any Slavic name containing the mio element, meaning “dear.”

In English-speaking countries, it was often used as a diminutive form of Amelia, Emilia and Hermione.

In Romansch, it was originally used as a diminutive form of Anna Maria.

Coincidentally, mia is also the feminine Italian and Spanish pronoun meaning “mine”, but the name was originally never used in reference to the pronoun.

 

Mara

The name could be of several different origins and meanings depending on the bearer of the name. Generally, the name is mostly used in reference to its Biblical origins, when Naomi takes the name of Mara(h) (Ruth 1:20), (which in Hebrew means “bitter”) as a way to express her grief over losing her husband and sons. The same name also appears in the Exodus as the name of one of the locations which the Torah identifies as having been travelled through by the Israelites.

It could also be from Latvian mythology, spelled Māra, being the name of the supreme goddess who was associated with all feminine aspects of life. She is sometimes believed to be one and the same as Laima.

The name also appears in Slavic mythology as another name of the goddess Marzanna, the goddess of death and winter. Interestingly, it is also the name of the goddess of death in Hinduism. The two deities may have a distant connection.

In German the name is ultimately derived from a proto-Indo European source meaning “to harm” or “to rub away.” In folklore, mara were wraiths who pressed on the chests of sleeping victims, this is where the word nightmare is believed to have derived.

It is interesting to note that the name appears in the top 100 most popular female names in Germany, where it is currently the 55th most popular female name, (2011). It is doubtful, however, that the name is used in reference to its Germanic folklore origins, but is more likely used in reference to its Biblical connections.

The name could also be from the Syriac and modern Maltese meaning, “woman.”

In Hungarian and Croatian, it is used as a form of Marija.

Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • #79 (Croatia, 2010)
  • # 93 (Spain, 2010)
  • # 128 (Netherlands, 2010)
  • # 869 (United States, 2010)

 

Mirja

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Finnish
(MEER-yah)

The name is a Finnish form of Miriam, and has had some usage in Sweden and Germany. It has been used in Germany since at least the 1960s, most likely introduced via Mirja Larsson, a Swedish supermodel who married Gunter Sachs.

Currently, Mirja is the 252nd most popular female name in Germany, (2011).