May Names: Mabel, Mavis & Mae
Today being the first day of the merry month of May, why not consider a name that starts with that upbeat, springlike syllable for your baby born this month? Here are the most likely May baby names suspects.
MABEL –When Bruce Willis, who, with then-wife Demi Moore, was one of the original creative baby namers with older daughters Rumer, Scout and Tallulah, recently named his baby girl Mabel Ray, he brought this vintage Victorian charmer further into the modern world orbit. It had already been used by Chad Lowe, Nenah Cherry and Dermot Mulroney, as well as for the sitcom baby on Mad About You. Mabel—originally a short form of Amabel—could well join other ascending sassy showgirl names like Ruby and Sadie. Maybelle is rarely heard outside Nashville.
MACY—Macy entered the popularity list in 1990—almost a decade after it had been noticed on the soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful—and has been well used ever since, a much more modern sounding replacement for the dated Tracy and Stacy, and more solid than the lacy Lacey. Apart from the department store chain, the most noted bearer of the name, singer Macy Gray, was born Natalie McIntyre; Carmela Soprano/Nurse Jackie Edie Falco named her daughter Macy.
MAE & MAY—Though they sound like identical twin names, Mae and May—both of which are coming back strong as middle names—give off somewhat different vibes. Mae is a bit sassy, à la Mae West, while May is sweeter and more sentimental and springlike. A few celebs have begun putting these names back in first place—Emily Morton and Madeline Stowe have daughters named May, while Kathryn Hahn has a little Mae, and several others have used them as middles.
MAEVE—This lovely Irish name of a legendary ancient queen packs a lot of power and resonance into its single syllable, which is why more and more American parents with and without Irish roots are starting to embrace it. Maeve entered the US list in 1997, and has now climbed up to 536th place. Two celebs who have chose Maeve are Chris O’Donnell and Kathryn Erbe.
MAIDA—Maida is a name that has been lost to time, possibly because of the ‘maid’ association, but in the World War I era, it had a brief moment of glory and could be found as the heroine in several books for young maidens of the day. The one bearer modern parents might be familiar with is dessert chef Maida Heatter, and Brits would know the London district of Maida Vale.
MAISIE—Maisie hasn’t hit the Top 1000, but we see it as a surefire follow-up to its cousin Daisy—less floral, and with more moxie. Maisie started as a short form of Margaret, but has long stood on its own, in life and in literature—as in Henry James’s What Maisie Knew, Kipling’s The Light That Failed, and as a half-blood character in Harry Potter. A children’s book series spells it Maisy, and it’s also seen as Maizie.
MAMIE—This name has finally pushed back its Mamie Eisenhower bangs and is ready to join Maisie as a friendly May update. Meryl Streep’s actress daughter Mamie Gummer was Mary Willa at birth. Other bearers include blues singer Mamie Smith and sexy actress Mamie Van Doren (born Joan). And on the other side of the coin, Mamie Pocock was a most respectable, independent-minded young lady in Henry James’s The Ambassadors.
MAPLE—This unisex tree name hopscotched over to the female side when the Jason Batemans christened their baby girl Maple Sylvie a couple of months ago. As we’ve pointed out, its similarity to Mable makes it feel more girl, less tree.
MASON—Mason is a huge hit—now ranked at an amazing Number 12—and who knows? –in a couple of weeks it might be even higher. Part of this may be due to parents keeping up with the Kardashians’ toddler Mason Disick or being inspired by the cute vampire Masons on Vampire Diaries and/or The Wizard of Waverly Place. It’s still a solid occupational choice, following in the footsteps of predecessor Jason.
MAVIS—Mavis has something of a British World War II feel, but was actually a Top 300 name in the US in the Roaring 20s, and with the renewed interest in names ending in ‘s,’ it could start to be reevaluated. Mavis was the name of Charlize Theron’s not very likable character in Young Adult, and it’s associated with singer Mavis Staples, writer Mavis Gallant and feminist Mavis Leno. Mavis is also bird-related, as another word for the song thrush.
What’s your favorite Maytime name?
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on May 1st, 2012 at 5:37 am
There’s a minor – but significant – character in The Hunger Games series called Maysilee. It’s a bit too cobbled together for my tastes, but I find it fascinating.
on May 1st, 2012 at 6:29 am
I love Mae/May, but to be honest my favourite May name is probably Maud(e) right now
on May 1st, 2012 at 7:03 am
Today’s my birthday! My parents, on finding out that May-Day would be my birthday scrambled the letters and got Amy. It’s a connection almost no one notices, but I like it.
on May 1st, 2012 at 8:01 am
Maya!….my daughter is Maya Isabel
on May 1st, 2012 at 8:35 am
My daughter’s name Maia! Not prounced with “may” but with “my”…still a pretty May name though!
on May 1st, 2012 at 8:38 am
I don’t remember how it was spelled but my brother’s first girlfriend was named Maelin or maybe spelled Malin. Pronounced may-lynn. I think it was French.
on May 1st, 2012 at 10:24 am
Blessed Beltane/ Happy May Day every one!
Very nice post ^_^
on May 1st, 2012 at 10:54 am
So many “May” names to love in this blog: Mae, Maeve, Maisie, Mamie, Maple and Mavis are standouts! Alas, Macy is just a department store name for me and Mason is too trendy and popular. Great post!
Alexia Mae Said
on May 1st, 2012 at 11:28 am
Mae 🙂 I also love Mahlon.
on May 1st, 2012 at 1:10 pm
My middle name is Mae and I love it. Maeby is the nickname of a Mae on Arrested Development. I took care of a little Maison, which I think is ridiculous. They pronounced it like Mason. I love Esme and Mabel (also Amabel).
on May 1st, 2012 at 5:49 pm
The character on Vampire Diaries was actually a werewolf not a vampire
on May 1st, 2012 at 6:53 pm
also Maidie (like Maid with an ee sound)
on May 2nd, 2012 at 3:22 am
I also adore the name Maeby from Arrested Development! But too bad everyone will hear “Maybe” which is not at all the impression you want a name to give…..
My favorite “may” name is Mehana (may-HA-na), a hawaiian name that means warmth.
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