Unique Names Starting With M
Meaning:"follower of Marduk"
Description:Mordecai, although it has a noble heritage, has never caught on in this country, because of its rather weighty image.
Origin:Flower name, from English
Description:Marigold, once found almost exclusively in English novels and aristocratic nurseries, is beginning to be talked about and considered here. It has a sweet, sunny, quirky feel. The marigold was the symbol of the Virgin Mary.
Origin:Diminutive of Montague, Montgomery
Description:Monty, a name with a World War II feel, is rarely used on its own. But we're hearing rumblings of a comeback and think that Monty, whatever it's short for, is an adorable vintage nickname name of the future.
Description:Mika is a Japanese girls' name that translates easily to English. As a male name, it's a short form of Mikael, the Scandinavian and Finnish form of Michael. Both are spelled and pronounced the same.
Description:A strong, attractive surname name with a mix of possible origins: either from the Welsh first name Meuric,which is a form of Maurice, and contains Germanic elements meaning fame and power, or from a Scottish Gaelic word meaning a fork in a river or a road, which led to the name of several places named Merrick in Scotland. The Supreme Court saga of Justice Merrick Garland almost certainly caused the bump in popularity that propelled Merrick to its US Top 1000 debut in 2016.
Despite its ancient history, Merrick these days sounds more modern than the somewhat tired Derek.
Meaning:"of the mind, intellect"
Description:Minerva is the long-neglected name of the Roman goddess of wisdom and invention, the arts and martial strength, one of the mythology names for girls that might appeal to adventurous feminist parents.
Origin:Scottish diminutive of Margaret
Description:The Maisie spelling may be more widely used, but Maisy is perfectly proper and also makes the British Top 100. And as Maisy, she feels like a closer relative to Daisy, another Margaret diminutive.
Origin:Latin, from a Roman family name related to Mars, the god of war
Description:Marius, frequently heard in Germany and France, is a slightly fusty yet accessible name that has (Les Mis) to Anne Rice. With the rise in interest in such Latin names as Maximus and Atticus, Marius might start attracting more attention. Mario, the Italian, Spanish and Portuguese version of Marius, is much more widely used.
Origin:American variation of Machiavelli, Italian
Meaning:"bad nail; king of light"
Description:Makaveli was an alias of Tupac Shakur — his posthumous album, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, was released under the pseudonym. The album was released in 1996, following his death, and the next year Makaveli debuted on the baby name charts after being given to 11 baby boys.
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.
Description:This image of this distinguished Anglo-Scottish surname, drawn from the French place name of the ancient castle of Saint Foi de Montgomery, is rapidly shifting from fusty and formal to cool. And dashing short form Monty (or Monte) nudges it to cute.
Meaning:"of the sea"
Description:Retro short form of Marina, now dated to the era of the Hitchcock movie that made it famous. In the UK, it's one of the hottest vintage names of the moment, perhaps inspired by British singer Lily Allen, who gave it to her second daughter in 2013. It's also a character name on the hit TV show Girls.
Meaning:"descendant of Moses"
Description:This evocative green nature name, heard much more frequently as a surname, is associated with playwright Moss Hart (born Robert), who co-wrote (with George S. Kaufman) such enduring Broadway comedies as The Man Who Came to Dinner and You Can't Take it With You.
Meaning:"strong in work"
Description:Combining the mild and the innocent, this sweet and feminine name is worthy of a comeback, in the mode of Madeline and Cecilia. Its original, also attractive form is Melisende, which came from Germany to France and was borne by a daughter of Charlemagne.
Origin:Irish version of Malachi, Hebrew
This spelling, which came to the attention of readers of the best-selling Angela's Ashes as the name of author Frank McCourt's father and brother, the latter of whom wrote a bestseller of his own, lends the biblical name a more expansive, almost boisterous image. Malachy is one of the Irish baby names that manages to strike the golden mean between familiarity and distinctiveness.
Origin:Variation of Matilda
Description:Maude, also spelled Maud, is a lacy, mauve-tinted name that was wildly popular a hundred years ago, but has been rarely heard in the past fifty. Some stylish parents are starting to choose it again, especially as a middle.
Maud's early popularity was influenced by the Tennyson poem that included the oft-quoted line, "Come into the garden, Maude." Then, in the 1970's, along came the sitcom Maude, featuring the vociferous and opinionated character Maude Finlay, putting a very different spin on the name. But enough decades have now passed for the name to have settled back into its soft, sweet pastel image.
Meaning:"gracious gifts, benefits"
Description:Mercedes is one of the few names attached to luxury living that we can wholeheartedly recommend, it being a legitimate Spanish appellation stemming from one of the epithets given to the Virgin Mary--Santa Maria de las Mercedes, or Our Lady of the Mercies. The car, by the way was named after the eleven-year-old daughter of the Daimler company's French distributor in 1901.
Origin:Variation of Marlow, English
Description:While Marlowe (and Marlow and Marlo) are surname names that are not intrinsically or traditionally gendered and so in theory work equally well for boys and girls, only about 5 percent of the babies given these attractive names are male.
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.
Description:Though it sounds like a variation of the Irish Maeve, Maeva actually hails from Tahiti, and is currently enjoying a wave of popularity in France, where it ranks in the Top 100, possibly via popular French folk singer and actress Maeva Meline.
Origin:English tree name from Latin
Meaning:"piece of cloth"
Description:If Apple and Juniper, Oak and Pine can be baby names, why not Maple? Why not indeed. We've heard Maple starting to be used quietly, but with its lush sound and attractive image, we predict its use as a first name will grow — and its choice by the Jason Batemans — who combined it with the sweet middle name Sylvie — will only accelerate that growth.
Description:The original oddball celebrity baby name, via Frank Zappa's daughter Moon Unit, who claims she's always liked it.
Origin:Word name or Hebrew
Meaning:"one who understands"
Description:Comedian Tracy Morgan added this one to the lexicon when he chose it for his daughter. In English, a maven can be defined as an expert or connoisseur. Maven feels more nameworthy than some other word choices given its similarity to the Irish Maeve or the trendy spiritual choice Haven.
Description:Marcella has been in mothballs for so long it's starting to feel stylish again. Depicted as the world's most beautiful woman in Don Quixote (where it's spelled Marcela), this long neglected name seemed dated for decades but just might be ready for restoration. Another so-old-it's-new-again relative: Marcellina. Saint Marcella was a Roman matron of strength and intellect who organized a religious sisterhood at her mansion, which St. Jerome guided in religion and learning.
Origin:Female version of Morgan, Welsh
Description:Since Morgan is used as--or more--frequently for girls as for boys, this feminization has fallen by the wayside. It drew some brief attention via the pop singer Morgana King.
The similar Morgiana appears in Tales from the Thousand and One Nights.
Origin:Roman mythology god of war
Description:The name of the Roman god of war began to sound less intimidating when Erykah Badu gave it to her daughter, and musicians Thomas and Bruno Mars (the latter born Peter Hernandez) have given it a modern edge. Mars actually could make a pleasant, planetary middle name for either sex.
Description:Other kids might see a teasible connection to mortician or mortuary. Mortimer is an English family name used a few generations ago as an Anglicization of Moses; it was Walt Disney's original choice for the name of his mouse, until his wife talked him out of it.
Origin:Welsh, Breton, Scandinavian, Hungarian, Estonian, and Basque variation of Maria or Mary
Meaning:"drop of the sea, bitter, or beloved"
Description:Mari enjoyed some mid-century popularity as a nicknameish version of Mary, but now deserves a second look as a multicultural classic. Mari is the name of the Basque goddess of fertility and weather and is also, for unrelated reasons, popular in Norway. The biggest problem with the potentially-lovely Mari will be getting people to say it the way you want. While some Europeans pronounce it as Marie, that will only confuse things more. Better to make it its own individual name by pronouncing it MAH-ree. As one commenter pointed out, in Estonian the name is not a Mary variation but means "berry" – all the more reason for us to like it!
Description:Miro comes from the Slavic root word mir meaning "peace, world". Sometimes Miro is used as a diminutive of longer names like Miroslav or Vladimir, but it can also be given as a name in its own right. Miro has a wonderful meaning and fits right in with trendy names Arlo and Milo, as well as being an artistic honor name for Spanish painter and sculptor Joan Miró.
Description:An old English surname name that sounds just like the invented Marlo. Though the final w places it among the more buttoned-up androgynous baby names, all spellings of the name, which also include Marlowe, are gaining in popularity for girls.
Description:Marlow is a suave, unusual surname-name that was chosen by Celine designer Phoebe Philo for her older son. Caveat: it sounds just like the feminine Marlo and, with the addition of a final 'e', has begun to be used for girls.
Origin:Irish, variation of Mary
Meaning:"bitter; beloved; drop of the sea"
Description:Well-established Irish and Scottish name that has never really caught on across the pond. Remembered by an older generation as the beautiful red-haired ballerina in the film The Red Shoes, Moira Shearer.
Origin:Welsh variation of Maximus, Latin
Description:Macsen may sound like a modern invention, cousin to Jackson and Maxon, but it's a longtime Welsh variation of Maximus with evocative roots in legend. Macsen Wledig is another name for the Roman emperor Magnus Maximus, was played an important role in Welsh history and was further immortalized in a poem celebrating his dream about his lover Elen. Macsen also appears in Arthurian legend.
Origin:French spelling variation of Margo
Description:Yes, it's pronounced with a long o sound at the end, just like Margo and Margot. This spelling was popularized by supermodel, actress, and tragic Hemingway granddaughter Margaux, whose name spelling came courtesy of a bottle of French wine. (The original spelling of her name was Margot; she changed it when she heard her parents were drinking a bottle of Chateau Margaux the night she was conceived.) Margo itself is a diminutive of Margaret, which means "pearl" or, in its French version, "daisy." Margaret or Marguerite would be more stylish variations now.
Description:Meera Bai, also spelled Mirabai, was a great female Hindu mystical poet whose works are popular throughout India. She was a fifteenth-sixteenth century Indian princess who devoted her life to writing paeans of devotion to the god Krishna.
The story of Meera was the basis of an eponymous Indian historical drama television series in 2009. It's also gotten a boost from HBO's Game of Thrones, in which Meera Reed is a tough, wise character who cares for the disabled seer Bran Stark once he flees Winterfell.
Origin:French occupational name
Description:Mercer is an attractive possibility which is an occupational name that doesn't sound like one. Mercer and its cool, sophisticated short form Merce project a super creative image via their artistic namesakes.
Johnny Mercer was a talented and charming songwriter-singer who wrote the lyrics for more than 1,500 songs, including Moon River. Jazz great Duke Ellington named his son Mercer, and he in turn became a respected musician in his own right. Stone Temple Pilot's Scott Weiland used Mercer as the middle name of his son Noah.
Description:The mythological Morrigan was the ancient goddess of war, often symbolized by a crow. Besides being a name, this is also used as a proper noun preceded by an article: the Morrigan, defined as a monster in female form. The meaning of Morrigan has been related to both terror and greatness. While some relate the name to Morgan of the Arthurian legends, Morrigan and Morgan are actually unrelated.
Origin:Latin, of the sea"
Description:Marin is a lovely county north of San Francisco, and a lovely baby name on the rise, one which sounds more refreshing than the more familiar Marina.
Meaning:"settlement with a mill"
Description:Once an upper-class British surname conjuring up the epic poetry of John Milton, it then descended to the antics of "Uncle Miltie" Berle, and now has left the stage completely.
Meaning:"Roman messenger god"
Description:Adventurous parents are starting to look back to names of ancient gods like Mercury, Zeus, and Apollo. This one is also a planet and a metallic element, and has a friendly nickname, Merc. The Roman god Mercury, which derives from the Latin words for trade or wages, is the patron of tradesmen and travelers and the fastest-moving planet in the solar system. Mercury is the planet associated with the sign of Virgo, so this is one of the prime names for Virgo babies.
Origin:Scottish variation of Margery, diminutive of Margaret
Description:Scottish Marjorie and her English twin Margery were early twentieth century favorites that date back to medieval times, when it was popular among the royals. They were at their height in the 1920s, when they were seen as more lively versions of the old standard. Marjorie was always the preferred spelling, in the Top 25 from 1920 to 1927.
Origin:Diminutive of Montgomery, Norman
Description:Monte, pronounced with two syllables as brother Monty, is an old-fashioned nickname-name that's reclaiming a certain amount of dash and charm. It was recently chosen by actor Guy Pearce--which may signal a comeback.
Description:Mirabel is one of those names that's not on the Top 1000 but ought to be — and undoubtedly will be soon. There's a real resurgence of 'bel' names like Isabel and Annabel, and Mirabel, a more unusual and elegant example, which has a wonderful Latin meaning, is also the name of a delicate French plum spelled Mirabelle.
Meaning:"waves of the sea"
Description:Morwenna is an ancient Cornish name now being revived in Wales. It's been heard in the British series Doc Martin and Poldark.
Origin:Diminutive of Mary, Miriam, and others
Description:Sweet, nicknamey name belonging to the tragic heroines of both La Bohème and Rent. Mimi might feel too slight for many parents to use on the birth certificate, but as a short form, it's one of the cutest of the cute baby names
Meaning:"one who has achieved a high place of honor"
Description:You'll probably be hearing more of this name thanks to the newest Pixar film, featuring Princess Merida, the first Pixar princess--a feisty, athletic, independent medieval Scottish girl with wild red hair. Her name, however, is not Scottish, but a Spanish place name found in both Spain and Mexico's Yucatan peninsula.
Description:Pretty name that may pose pronunciation problems -- it's meer-AY -- but is well worth the effort.
Description:When scientists do research on the effects of an unpopular name, we're afraid that Mildred is one of the examples they cite, often in tandem with Bertha and Gertrude. But with cute nickname Millie on the rise, anything's possible.
Meaning:"of the sea"
Description:Maris is an unusual and appealing name that has never appeared in the U.S. Top 1000, overshadowed by its twentieth century elaboration, Marisa/Marissa. It derives from the phrase "Stella Maris," star of the sea, one of the many epithets of the Virgin Mary, and became familiar via the unseen (but unliked) character of sitcom Frasier's ex-sister-in-law.
Origin:French, diminutive of Marie
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.