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Gender: F Meaning of Miriam: "wished-for child" Origin of Miriam: Hebrew Miriam's Popularity in 2013: #292

Popularity: this week.

The oldest-known form of Mary, serious, solemn Miriam has been a particular favorite of observant Jewish parents. But we can see it extending beyond that sphere into the next wave of Old Testament names post-Rachel, Rebecca, Sarah, Hannah and Leah.

In the Old Testament, Miriam appears in Exodus as the older sister of Moses and Aaron, a prophetess who led the triumphal song and dance after the crossing of the Red Sea and deliverance of the Israelites from the Egyptians. Miriam is the Old Testament form of the Hebrew Maryam.

Miriam is an artistic character in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Marble Faun, and in Henry James's The Tragic Muse, Miriam Rooth is a talented young half-Jewish actress, Miriam Leviers is a farm girl in D. H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers and Miriam is the eponymous center of a haunting Truman Capote short story.

One notable namesake is South African singer Miriam Makeba. More relaxed nicknames: Miri andMimi.

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Famous People Named Miriam

Miriam Hopkins, American actress
Miriam Margolyes, English actress
Miriam Leslie, American author
Miriam McDonald, Canadian actress
Miriam "Mira" Weinstein, mother of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and half of the namesake for his production company Miramax
Miriam Bryant, a Swedish singer and songwriter

Pop Culture References for the Name Miriam

Miriam "Miri" Linkey, from the film "Zack & Miri Make a Porno"
Miriam Pataki, Helga's mother on Hey Arnold!
Miriam Pelham, protagonist from the book Miriam's Well by Lois Ruby
Miriam Fisher, from Freak, by Marcella Pixley

Macia, Mairwen, Meriam, Meryam, Miram, Mirham, Miriain, Miriama, Miriame, Mirian, Mirjana, Mirriam, Mirrian, Miryam, Miryan, Mitzi, Mitzie, Miyana, Miyanna, Myriam

Miriam's International Variations

Maryam (Arabic) Mirjam (Finnish) Mimi (French) Mariam, Miri, Mirit (Hebrew/israeli)