- this week

Gender: Female Pronunciation: MAY Meaning of Mae: "bitter or pearl" Origin of Mae: Diminutive of Mary or Margaret Mae's Popularity in 2017: #654

The name Mae is a girl's name of English origin meaning "bitter or pearl". Mae is ranked #654 on our popularity charts and is often added to lists like Vintage Baby Names for Girls and discussed in our forums with posts like "Heaven/Hell/Purgatory -- All Girls Edition!".

From the experts:

Mae, a sweet and springlike old-fashioned name, hadn't been on the national charts in forty years, but finally made it back in 2010. Mae is one of the prettiest middle name options (Eric Clapton has an Ella Mae, Greg Kinnear an Audrey Mae, Ian Ziering a Penna Mae). The May spelling makes it more of a month name, while Mae makes it an antique nickname name. Both can stand on their own--as seen by Kathryn Hahn's choice of Mae as her daughter's first name.

Mae, a Top 100 name through 1920, was big in early film history--there were leading actresses named Mae Clarke, Mae Marsh, Mae Busch and Mae Murray. Towering over them (figuratively) was Mae West, who changed the name from sweet to sexy. This image continued with Madonna's character in A League of Their Own, known as 'All the way Mae.'

Mae Jemisen was the first African-American woman to travel in space. Currently, Mae Whitman is a rising young actress seen recently on Parenthood and Arrested Development.

It may be worth noting that Mãe is the Portuguese word for mother, so if you've got Brazilian or Portuguese relatives, it's probably best to stick to May or Mei.

Find other names based on Mae using our baby name generator.

Famous People Named Mae

Mary Jane "Mae" West, American actress
Mae Carol Jemison, first African-American woman astronaut
Mae Clarke (born Violet Mary Klotz), American actress
Mae Questel, American actress, voice of cartoon character Betty Boop
Mae Margaret Whitman, American actress
(Johnnie) Mae Young, American professional wrestler
Mae Mei Lapres, Canadian model
Anna Mae Bullock, birth name of American singer Tina Turner
(Annie) Mae Busch, Australian actress
Mae Murray (born Marie Adrienne Koenig), American actress
Mary Wayne "Mae" Marsh, American actress
Mae Moore, Canadian singer-songwriter
Vanessa-Mae Vanakorn Nicholson, British violinist
Mae Akins Roth (b. 2005), daughter of actors Matt Roth and Laurie Metcalf
Mae Sandler (b. 2007), daughter of actors Kathryn Hahn and Ethan Sandler
Mae Madeleine Wellesley (b. 2010), daughter of Arthur Wellesley, Marquess of Douro and model Jemma Kidd
Mae Elizabeth Waterman (b. 2010), daughter of reality TV personality Jen Schefft ("The Bachelorette") and Joe Waterman
Mae Webb (b. 2014), daughter of actress Kate Ritchie and Stuart Webb

Pop Culture References for the name Mae

Mae Mobley, character in Kathryn Stockett's "The Help"
Mae Braddock, character in movie "Cinderella Man"
Mae "Maeby" Funke, character on TV's "Arrested Development"
Mae Caldwell, character in movie "Secondhand Lions"
Mae, character in "Where'd You Go, Bernadette"
Mae, American rock band
Lady Mae Loxley, character in Mr. Selfridge
Lula Mae Barnes, Holly Golightly's real name in "Breakfast at Tiffany's"
Mae, minor character in the video game "Gravity Rush"
Mae Sherman, sister of Nikki Sherman in the Main Street books by Anne M Martin
Mae (Margaret) Borowski, main character in the video game "Night In The Woods"
Mae Nasser, a character in the Ziva Payvan series written by EJ Fisch