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Stylish Variations of Mary

What can we say? There's still something about Mary -- even after a 400 year run -- that's made it a solid option for countless folks who adore its symbolic value. But don't be afraid to jazz things up a little. Here are some timely, fresh-faced variations of this traditional name.
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MaisieHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish diminutive of Margaret
  • Meaning:

    "pearl"
  • Description:

    Maisie, a hundred-year-old favorite, is in perfect tune with today. Spelled Maisy in a popular children's book series, Maisie is rising in tandem with cousin Daisy. While Maisie might be short for Margaret, Mary, or even a name like Melissa or Marissa, it stands perfectly well on its own.

MiriamHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew or Egyptian
  • Meaning:

    "drop of the sea, bitter, or beloved"
  • Description:

    The oldest-known form of Mary, serious and 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. Miriam is currently the Number 1 girls' name in Israel.

MarenHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "sea"
  • Description:

    Maren is one of the many twenty-first-century takes on Mary--but we find the more classic Marin spelling preferable. When spelled Maren, the pronunciation seems more clearly to resemble Mary, with the emphasis on the first syllable. Marin, the spelling also used for the beautiful coastal county north of San Francisco, is often pronounced with the emphasis on the second syllable, as in Marie.

MarisolHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish, contracted form of Maria de la Soledad
  • Meaning:

    "Mary of Solitude"
  • Description:

    Marisol is a favorite Spanish name for girls, and an excellent candidate to cross the culture line, a la Soledad and Paz.

MariaHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew or Egyptian
  • Meaning:

    "drop of the sea, bitter, or beloved"
  • Description:

    As a highly popular girls’ name in all Spanish-speaking countries, this saintly Latin variation of Mary retains a timeless beauty. Through the centuries, Maria remains one of the most widely-used girl names starting with M.
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MinnieHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Minerva
  • Meaning:

    "of the mind, intellect"
  • Description:

    Minnie was wildly popular at the turn of the last century—it was the fifth or sixth most popular name throughout the 1880s—but is completely obscure today. Blame Mickey's girlfriend. Regardless, it's possible that the up and coming trend toward old-fashioned nickname-names—think Maisie, Mamie, Millie—may give Minnie (all on its own, not as a short form of anything) a new moment in the sun. Minnie Driver (born Amelia) has given it some modern celeb cred.

PollyHeart

  • Origin:

    English variation of Molly
  • Description:

    An alternative to the no-longer-fresh Molly, the initial 'P' gives Polly a peppier sound, combining the cozy virtues of an old-timey name with the bounce of a barmaid.

ManonHeart

  • Origin:

    French, diminutive of Marie
  • Meaning:

    "bitter"
  • Description:

    Manon is an endearing French pet name for Marie or Marianne; it has the international yet straightforward feel that makes it a viable import. Manon of the Spring was a gorgeous French film, Manon Lescaut a 1731 novel by Abbe Prevost, set in France and Louisiana, that was controversial in its day. It formed the basis of operas by Puccini and Massenet, and several films and TV series.

MayHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Margaret and Mary; month name
  • Description:

    May is a sweet old-fashioned name that hasn't been on the national charts in several decades, but is definitely sounding fresh and springlike. Parents are beginning to see it once more as one of the prettiest middle name options. May was as high on the list as Number 57 in the 1880s; it's now 228 on Nameberry.

MarianHeart

  • Origin:

    French medieval variation of Marie
  • Meaning:

    "drop of the sea, bitter, or beloved"
  • Description:

    Marian's (and sister spelling Marion's) image has gone through a sea change of late, recalling less middle-aged matron and more Robin Hood's romantic Maid Marian. Some influences: the SJ Parker-M. Broderick twin daughter Marion and the glamorous French actress Marion Cotillard.
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PilarHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish
  • Meaning:

    "pillar"
  • Description:

    The fact that this Spanish classic, which honors the Virgin Mary, does not end in the conventional letter 'a' gives it a special sense of strength, elegance, and style, making it a worthy choice.

MamieHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Mary or Margaret
  • Description:

    Mamie is back. Having finally shorn her Mamie Eisenhower bangs, this insouciant and adorable nickname name is perfect if you want a zestier way to honor a beloved aunt Mary. Meryl Streep's actress daughter, properly named Mary Willa, is called Mamie Gummer. You might think of Mamie as a sister of the stylish Maisie.

MarineHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "from the sea"
  • Description:

    Marine is an extremely popular and fashionable name in France that's virtually unknown here — and is ready to set sail. Marine feels more contemporary than Marina and less hippie-esque than Oceane, another popular name for girls in France.

MariettaHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian diminutive of Maria
  • Meaning:

    "drop of the sea, bitter, or beloved"
  • Description:

    Marietta would make for a classy and uncommon long form for cool nickname Etta.

MadonnaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "my lady"
  • Description:

    There's only one. Okay, two.
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MariskaHeart

  • Origin:

    Hungarian diminutive of Maria
  • Meaning:

    "drop of the sea, bitter, or beloved"
  • Description:

    Actress Hargitay made us notice this one, it makes a robust, energetic Slavic impression.

SocorraHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish
  • Meaning:

    "one who helps"
  • Description:

    Popular Spanish choice that refers to the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Perpetual Help -- or Perpetuo Socorro.

MauryaHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish variation of Maura or Mary
  • Meaning:

    "bitter"
  • Description:

    Unusual Mary variety with literary underpinnings, most famously as a character in J.M. Synge's Riders to the Sea. You may have to do constant explaining of the spelling and pronunciation, but if you're looking for a distinctive and attractive form of Mary, you've found it.