- Mary fEnglish: originally a Middle English Anglicized form of French MARIE (SEE Marie), from Latin MARIA (SEE Maria). This is a New Testament form of MIRIAM (SEE Miriam), which St Jerome derives from elements meaning ‘drop of the sea’ (Latin stilla maris, later altered to stella maris ‘star of the sea’). Mary is the most popular and enduring of all female Christian names, being the name of the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ, who has been the subject of a cult from earliest times. Consequently, the name was extremely common among early Christians, several saints among them, and by the Middle Ages was well established in every country in Europe at every level of society. It has been enduringly popular ever since, its popularity having been almost completely undisturbed by the vagaries of fashion that affect other names. In Spain and Portugal, the cult of the Virgin is so widespread and important that vocabulary words and placenames associated with aspects of her cult have been pressed into service as female given names, even when the gender of the vocabulary word is actually masculine: see, e.g., DOLORES (SEE Dolores), MERCEDES (SEE Mercedes), PILAR (SEE Pilar), and ROSARIO (SEE Rosario). The Gaels, reluctant as always to put their saints' names to profane use, keep Muire (Irish) and Moire (Scottish) for the Virgin herself, and use late derivations of Maria (cited below) for secular naming purposes.In the New Testament, Mary is also the name of several other women: Mary Magdalene (see MADELEINE (SEE Madeleine)); Mary the sister of Martha, who sat at Jesus's feet while Martha served (Luke 10: 38–42; John 11: 1–46; 12: 1–9) and who came to be taken in Christian tradition as symbolizing the value of a contemplative life; the mother of St Mark (Colossians 4: 10); and a Roman matron mentioned by St Paul (Romans 16: 6).Cognates: In most European languages, including English: MARIA (SEE Maria). Irish Gaelic: Máire (see also MOIRA (SEE Moira), MAURA (SEE Maura)); Máiria (a learned form). Scottish Gaelic: Màiri, Màili. Welsh: Mair, Mari. French: MARIE (SEE Marie). Basque: Miren. Russian: Marya.Pet forms: English: MAY (SEE May), MOLLY (SEE Molly). Irish Gaelic: Máirín. Scottish Gaelic: Màireag. Italian: Marietta, Mariella. Spanish: Mari(qui)ta, Maruja, S. German and Swiss: Mitzi. Dutch: Marieke, Micke, Miep. Frisian: Maike. Danish: Mia. Swedish: MAJ (SEE Maj), Maja, Mia. Russian: Masha, Manya. Polish: Marika (also found in other Slavonic languages); Marusia; Marzena; Mania.
First names dictionary. 2012.
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