Category: baby name Mamie
Jazz singer Adelaide Hall had a career that spanned 70 years, was a major figure in the Harlem Renaissance, pioneered the improvisational vocal techniques known as “scat” singing, and had great success in England. The place name Adelaide, used by Aussie actress Rachel Griffiths for her daughter, is a big Nameberry fave, now at Number 13; Number 321 nationally.
Are you looking for a name for your May baby? How about the idea of choosing one that incorporates the pretty sound of the month into her –or his– name? One way would be to take the vintage smoosh route, with something like Annamae or Ellamae or Maybeth, but we think an unembellished choice would be better.
May and Mae—Yes, they sound identical, and share a sweet faded yet fresh flowery feel, but there are some slight—almost indefinable—differences in tone aMay started as one of the innumerable pet forms of Mary and Margaret, as well as a springtime month name along with April and June. She’s represented in literature by May Bartram in Henry James’s The Beast in the Jungle and May Welland in Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence. Actresses Emily Morton and Madeline Stowe named their daughters May, and Eric Clapton and Jodie Sweetin used it in middle place for theirs.
May, as any Catholic schoolchild can tell you, is the official month of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God. Which might make Mary an appropriate name for a girl born this month, except after a 400 year run, Mary is more than ready for semi-retirement.
The good news is that you can hold onto Mary’s symbolic value by choosing one of her fresh, appealing variations. And there are literally dozens of them, formal and breezily nicknameish, ultrafemme and down-to-earth. Some of the options:
MADONNA – There’s only one Madonna – and it’s not the plaster one in the blue alcove at church. The pop star has all but taken over this formerly holy name and rebranded it with a modern in-your-face sexuality. Do you dare use it for your child? Do you want to? Maybe not yet, but with names like Elvis and Scarlett gaining widespread popularity a generation or two after the fame of their original bearers, we all might end up having grandchildren named Madonna.
MAE and MAY – A mere handful of years ago, Mae was a quintessential old-lady name, barely baby-appropriate, but today it feels as sweetly simple as a warm day in the sun. Can be a short form for any of the Mary variations and also makes a good middle name.
MAMIE – Mamie is sassier than either Mae or Maisie, though definitely in the same family. An old-fashioned nickname that’s enjoying another day in the sun, Mamie was the name of President Eisenhower’s wife and is also the nickname of Meryl Streep’s actress daughter – both mother and daughter are properly named Mary Louise.
MANON – This French diminutive of Marie is very popular in its own right there and would make a distinctive and unusual choice here, but one with some genuine underpinnings. Parents considering Manon should see the French film, Manon of the Spring.