Girl Baby Name


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Quick Facts on Madeline

  • Gender:
  • Girl
  • Origin:
  • English, French
  • Number of syllables:
  • 3
  • Ranking popularity:
  • 90
MAD-ә-lynn or MAD-ә-line
Simple meaning:
Mary Magdalene, Of Magdala (tower)

Characteristics of Madeline

  • Multi-talented
  • Intuitive
  • Oneness
  • Idealistic
  • Philanthropy
  • Independent
  • Perfection

Etymology & Historical Origin - Madeline

Madeline is the traditional English spelling of the French female personal name Madeleine. In medieval France, Madeleine developed as another form of Magdalene, a name given to “Mary of Magdala” in order to distinguish her from the other Marys in the New Testament (i.e., the Virgin Mother and/or Mary, the sister of Martha). Mary Magdalene was from “Magdala,” a small village on the Sea of Galilee, from the Aramaic “Maghdela” meaning “tower.” In Luke 8:2, Mary of Magdala was one of the women called out as having been “healed of evil spirits and infirmities;” she later became an important part of Christ’s ministry and was one who had witnessed His resurrection. Nowhere in the Bible are we told that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute, although later Church tradition held that to be true (to marginalize her importance as one of Jesus’s disciples). In any case, the French brought Madeleine to England after the Conquest of 1066 where it was adopted as “Maudelen” in Middle English, later evolving into Madeline. Another interesting factoid? The English vocabulary word “maudlin” meaning “tearful” was born from this name (in reference to Mary Magdalene’s depiction in art, often weeping as she repents for her sins). Given the importance of Mary Magdalene’s role in the New Testament, it’s no wonder the name has persisted among Westerners. Parents pay homage to this woman by naming their daughters Magdalena (Spanish); Magdalene, Marlene, Magda (German); Madeleine (French); Madeline (English) and several new respellings like Madelyn (largely considered American). Today Madeline is most popular in Canada, followed by the United States and England.

Popularity of the Name Madeline

Madeline has held to the U.S. popularity charts as a familiar baby girl’s name consistently for over 100 years. Its lowest point of usage was between the 1960s and 1980s, but she came roaring back to success in the mid-1990s when she achieved Top 100 status for the first time ever in 1994 (she even made it to the Top 50 in 1998). Since that time, Madeline has managed to stay put on the Top 100 list of most favorite baby girl names (although Madelyn is now the preferred spelling in the U.S.). With the many spelling variations in circulation today, the name is actually quite a bit more popular than first meets the eye. The nickname “Maddie” is also now shared by the many “Madisons” out there, so it’s running the risk of feeling slightly over-used. It’s still a classic name that has a “cute” essence (thanks to the popular children’s book character), and yet, gracefully ages into adulthood.
Popularity of the Girl Name Madeline
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Madeline

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Madeline

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Madeline

    Madeline (Madeline) Madeline is the delightful, much-loved little Parisian girl of the series of seven books by Ludwig Bemelmans, the first of which was published in 1939, and is continued on today by his grandson, John Bemelmans Marciano. Madeline lives with eleven other girls in an old, vine-covered house with Miss Clavel, and they all go out walking in two exact straight lines. Madeline is the smallest, the most courageous, and perhaps the most mischievous. In her never-ending quest for adventure, Madeline may bend the rules a little, but she is always well-intentioned and respectful.

    Madeline Usher (The Fall of the House of Usher) Madeline Usher is the twin sister of Roderick, in The Fall of the House of Usher, 1839, by Edgar Allen Poe. It is a dark, Gothic tale with typical themes of mystery, death and revenge. Roderick, who is slowly going mad, persuades the narrator of the tale, an old friend, that his sister is dead and has him help with entombing her. She, of course, is not dead but catatonic and comes to in the tomb, from which she escapes, driven by her own madness. Naturally, Roderick pays dearly for his crime.

  • Popular Songs on Madeline

    Popular Songs on Madeline

    Madeline - a song by Bob Schneider

    Madeline - a song by Hanson

    Madeline - a song by The Clarks

    Madeline - a song by Yo La Tengo

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Madeline

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Madeline

    Madeline (Ludwig Bemelmans) - Set in picturesque Paris, this tale of a brave little girl's trip to the hospital is as appealing today as it was in 1940. The combination of spirited heroine, timelessly appealing art, cheerful humor, and rhythmic text makes "Madeline" a perennial favorite with children of all ages. There are many sequels to the original Madeline, too. Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Madeline Says Merci (John Bemelmans Marciano) - Learning some pleases and thank yous is virtually painless when that beloved redheaded Parisian, Madeline, is doing the teaching. John Bemelmans Marciano, grandson of Madeline creator Ludwig Bemelmans, pens a politeness how-to book, based on the characters and setting of the original Madeline. Recommended for ages 4-7.

  • Famous People Named Madeline

    Famous People Named Madeline

    Famous People Named Madeline - Madeline Kahn (actress)

  • Children of Famous People Named Madeline

    Children of Famous People Named Madeline

    Famous People who Named their Daughter Madeline - Anita Barone (actress); Doug Savant (actor); Jay Demarcus (country musician); Lea Thompson (actress); Mel Harris (actress)

  • Historic Figures

    Madeline - Girl Baby Name - Historic Figures

    Saint Mary Magdalene (1st Century BC – 1st Century AD) - Mary Magdalene has the distinction of being the second-most well-known woman in the New Testament, after, of course, Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. She is honored as a saint by many Christian denominations. Because of the proliferation of the use of the name “Mary” in the New Testament, Mary Magdalene got the probably erroneous reputation early on of being a “bad” girl. This portrayal was furthered by early church fathers and emphasized by religious art over the centuries. There is, in fact, no evidence to associate her with the woman Mary who was the acknowledged sinner, but the confusion took hold and actually seems to have imbued her with a certain sympathetic identity. Who needs another saint, anyway? In the Gospels, Mary Magdalene is credited with three pretty big events: she witnesses the crucifixion of Jesus, his burial, and then the empty tomb from which Jesus rose after three days. These are solemn occasions, and they are unconnected to the stories of the woman from whom seven demons were exorcised, the woman who anointed the feet of Jesus, or the woman who dried her own tears with her sensuous long red hair. Contemporary Gnostic accounts go so far as to depict her as Jesus’ most beloved apostle who is called upon to spread his word, thus sparking an outrage of jealousy from the Apostles, particularly Peter. Who knows where legend ends and lies begin? Whatever her own truth, Mary Magdalene lives on today in a special aura, and we welcome the solicitude of one who was, perhaps, just like the rest of us – flawed and yet - ever striving.

Personality of the Girl Name Madeline

The number Nine personality represents the completion or ending of the cycle, and a need for perfection. This is the personality that moves from "self" to a greater understanding and compassion for the human condition and the world order. They want to make the world a better place. Nines are capable of great spiritual and humanitarian achievements. They are courageous and fearless, able to fight great battles on behalf of worthy causes. These personalities will not tolerate injustice. They are compassionate people with a strong sensitivity to others. They are able to both educate and inspire. Friendships and relationships are the lifeblood to the Nine, and they place a high value on love and affection. Nines are often exceptionally gifted artistically, and they have a keen imagination and enterprising mind.

Variations of the Baby Name - Madeline

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