Girl Baby Name

Martha

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Quick Facts on Martha

  • Gender:
  • Girl
  • Origin:
  • English
  • Number of syllables:
  • 2
  • Ranking popularity:
  • 803
Pronunciation:
MAHR-thə
Simple meaning:
Lady, mistress

Characteristics of Martha

  • Mystical
  • Wise
  • Eccentric
  • Intuitive
  • Imaginative
  • Philosophical
  • Solitary

Etymology & Historical Origin - Martha

Martha is a Biblical name originating from the ancient Aramaic language (Martâ) meaning “lady, mistress”. She was borne from the Bible, in the New Testament, as the sister of Mary of Bethany and their deathly ill brother Lazarus. John 11:1-44 retells the story of Martha and Mary sending for Jesus: “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.” When Lazarus died, Jesus resurrected him from the dead – and those Jews in witness began to follow Jesus as the Messiah. In Luke 10:38, Jesus visits the house of Martha and Mary. Mary sits at Jesus’ feet, while Martha is “distracted with much serving.” Martha complains to Jesus about how she’s doing all the work while Mary just sits and listens. As a result, Martha is often associated with hard domestic work rather than the contemplative life. We must admit – Mary of Bethany’s job sounds better to us! In any case, the name was resurrected by Protestants in England during the 16th century Reformation. Martha’s role in the Bible would have been attractive to the more religiously strict Puritans. Remarkably, the name Martha is still a Top 100 favorite in England. Martha Washington, the first First Lady of the United States, helped popularize this name in America (although it has since gone out of style).

Popularity of the Name Martha

Martha is a name that has done quite well throughout American history; that is, until recently. The U.S. government has only been tracking naming trends since 1880, but we know for sure that Martha was a commonly used female name at the time of colonization. Back at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, Martha was a favorite female name – generally averaging around #25 in terms of popularity. The name didn’t fall off the Top 100 list of most commonly used girl names in America until 1966. The name’s usage continued its gradual decline up through the 1990s, at which time she pretty much went into free-fall on the charts. And boy, did she drop like rocks. Martha is not one of those charming "old lady" names that parents are accepting today. Parents are down with Emma, Ruby and even Hazel. But Martha? No thank you. This once stylish and now out-dated name has become an original and charming choice for baby girls. Martha is dignified and classic. She’s ancient and sweetly old-fashioned. We love the Biblical reference and how it rings true for self-made billionaire Martha Stewart – the ultimate “mistress” of “domestic work”. Martha from Bethany would have admired Martha from New Jersey! We also love the reference to the 1968 Beatles song “Martha My Dear” purportedly written about Paul McCartney’s Old English sheepdog, Martha. We like the nicknames Mattie, Marty, or Marta – but did you know that Patty actually developed as a 17th century diminutive of Martha? We applaud the non-conformist parents willing to go with such an out-dated name as Martha – she is truly a “lady”-like and classy name.
Popularity of the Girl Name Martha
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Martha

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Martha

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Martha

    Martha (Biblical Story) Martha is one of the famous sister duo of the Bible, Martha and Mary, whom Jesus visits, according to the Gospels. They live with their brother, Lazarus, who, incidentally, Jesus has raised from the dead. So already they have a pretty close thing going. Martha is always contrasted with Mary as being the more domestic of the two, bustling about the home, making ready the meals, etc., while Mary gets to hang around and listen to Jesus. Our Martha objects to this, asking the Lord if He does not care that she has to do all the work while her sister gets to sit. And you know what Jesus says to her? “Martha, Martha…Mary has chosen what is better….”. So, there. It’s in the Bible, spoken by Jesus Christ Himself. But nowhere is it mentioned whether or not Lazarus pitched in and helped out in the kitchen – so are we to assume Martha meekly turned back to her chores, or did she nudge Mary to move over so she could sit down too? And if so, who cooked the dinner anyway?

    Martha (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) Martha is the protagonist of Edward Albee’s 1962 Broadway play, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, most famously portrayed by Elizabeth Taylor opposite her then-husband, Richard Burton, in Mike Nichols’ 1966 film of the same name. Martha, the daughter of a university president, and her associate-professor husband, George, host a new young professor and his wife (Nick and Honey) for one long, drunken, abusive brawl of an evening, in which friendships are tested, secrets are told, vows are broken and life spills messily out all over the place. Martha contemptuously taunts and emasculates George in front of the young couple, pointing out his shortcomings and comparing him unfavorably to her father. Underlying the action at all times is the reference to George and Martha’s son, whom they both discuss at one time or another. After it is clear that Martha has attempted to seduce Nick, George gets his own revenge. He picks flowers from the yard and brings them to Martha, telling her they are for their dead son. He has broken the rules. He has killed off the son who never was. He has let the big bad wolf into their lives and Martha’s illusions are destroyed. So, it would seem, is her life, for it is not at all certain that she can live without those illusions.

    Martha Brewster (Arsenic and Old Lace) Martha Brewster is one of the delightfully dotty maiden aunts of Cary Grant’s character, Mortimer Brewster, in Frank Capra’s 1944 classic film, Arsenic and Old Lace, itself based on Joseph Kesselring’s Broadway play of the same name. She was played by Jean Adair in both the play and the movie. Martha and her sister raised Mortimer and still provide a home for Mortimer’s brother, Teddy, who believes he is Theodore Roosevelt. In addition, they routinely commit the charitable deed of killing off lonely old men with a mixture of arsenic and elderberry wine, so as to put them out of their misery. The bodies are buried in the basement by a cooperative Teddy, who believes he is burying yellow fever victims and dredging for the Panama Canal. Mortimer, who has just gotten married, discovers this state of affairs, and madness and mayhem break loose as he tries to cover up for the old ladies and to have his brother committed to an asylum. All’s well that ends well, as the sisters cheerfully agree to leave behind their life of crime and to accompany Teddy to HappyDale Sanitarium. Martha and her sister deliver one parting gift to Mortimer, however. They tell him that he is not actually their nephew, having been their brother’s cook’s child – so Mortimer can go off into married life knowing that he will not be carrying on one family tradition after all.

    Martha Sowerby (The Secret Garden) Martha Sowerby is the good-natured maidservant in Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel, The Secret Garden, first published in 1911, which has been adapted into a number of movies, stage plays, television productions and animated features. Martha is a healthy girl from a large family in the village, in stark contrast to the pale and sickly orphan, Mary Lenox, who arrives at her uncle’s Yorkshire manor from India. Martha’s down-to-earth kindliness has an effect on young Mary, as the maidservant urges her to eat and enjoy the fresh country air, introducing Mary to her own young brother, Dickon, for a companion. Martha also tells Mary about the secret garden that has gone untended since the mistress’ death years earlier. Martha’s natural goodness and strong sense of self help to foster Mary’s own transformation from a stiff and lonely child into a healthy, questioning seeker of life itself. In her own way, Martha is as contributing a force to Mary’s growth as is the secret garden itself.

  • Popular Songs on Martha

    Popular Songs on Martha

    For Martha - a song by the Smashing Pumpkins

    Little Martha - a song by The Allman Brothers Band

    Little Martha - a song by Bad Company

    Martha - a song by Meat Loaf

    Martha - a song by Jefferson Airplane

    Martha - a song by Tom Waits

    Martha - a song by Tim Buckley

    Martha - is an opera composed by Friedrich von Flotow

    Martha My Dear - a song by The Beatles

    Martha Say - a song by John Mellencamp

    Message to Martha - a song by Adam Faith

    Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine - a song by Country Joe and the Fish

    The Martha White Song - a song by Rhonda Vincent

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Martha

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Martha

    George and Martha: The Complete Stories of Two Best Friends (James Marshall) - Like all best friends, George and Martha do everything together—go to the movies, play at the beach, and just hang around not doing much of anything. George and Martha teach each other (and adoring readers) that even in a close friendship, privacy is important, practical jokes can sometimes backfire, and among other things, pouring split pea soup into your loafers to spare the chef’s feelings is not the best-laid plan. A man with a talent for friendship, James Marshall defined its very essence in his stories about the world’s two best friends. In this volume, all thirty-five episodes are brought together to celebrate friendship and two of the most lovable characters ever created. Each of these brief tales is filled with humor, and James Marshall’s drawings are guaranteed to spark feelings of empathy, delight, and self-recognition. This collector’s edition includes an introduction by Maurice Sendak as well as appreciations by some of the top authors and illustrators working in children’s publishing today. It is a true testament to James Marshall as an author, as an artist, and as a person that his work and his life inspired such a diverse and immensely talented group. Noted children’s book historian Anita Silvey provides an afterword. Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Good Night Martha's Vineyard (Megan Weeks Adams) - Many of North America’s most beloved regions are artfully celebrated in these board books designed to soothe children before bedtime while instilling an early appreciation for the continent’s natural and cultural wonders. Each book stars a multicultural group of people visiting the featured area’s attractions. Rhythmic language guides children through the passage of both a single day and the four seasons while saluting the iconic aspects of each place. Recommended for ages 2-5.

    Jonathan and Martha (Petr Horacek) - Jonathan and Martha are two lonely worms that live on opposite sides of a tree. One day, a big juicy pear lands on the ground between them. Jonathan nibbles from the left, and Martha from the right - and soon they are caught in a tangle. Using his signature style of eye-catching illustration and collage and simple narrative, Horacek weave together a story that captures the essence of friendship. It is a classic story that teaches children and adults about the importance of sharing. Recommended for ages 3-6.

    Martha (Gennady Spirin) - This is Gennady Spirin's own dear story about the day his son Ilya found a crow with a broken wing, and brought it home. The veterinarian told the boy that it would never fly again. "Put it to sleep!" he urged the parents. But the wild crow-Martha, they called her-was full of surprises. She most certainly made their home, her home, and one day she did fly! Would there be one more surprise? When she flew away that fall, would she return again? With Gennady Spirin's beautiful and delicate watercolor illustrations and the sweet memory of Martha's year as his guide, Martha takes flight once again. Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Martha Doesn't Say Sorry! (Samantha Berger) - Adorably clad in her pink dress and matching headband, Martha is ready to do just about anything-except say those three little words: I am sorry. But when this sweet but stubborn otter learns that niceties like cookies, piggyback rides, and hugs are for people who apologize our mischievous heroine learns the ultimately rewarding feeling that comes with saying she's sorry. Parents and kids alike will embrace the hilarious watercolor illustrations and the irreverent humor throughout in this pitch-perfect picture book that offers the gentlest of lessons. Recommended for ages 3-6.

    Martha Doesn't Share! (Samantha Berger) - Martha has a new favorite word. And that word is MINE! Martha has officially mastered apologizing. Unfortunately, she still has a lot to work on when it comes to sharing. And while she doesn't learn to love it, she does discover that having her toys to herself means having to play with them all by herself, too. Not so fun! This hilarious follow-up to Martha Doesn't Say Sorry! shows readers that sharing isn't all that bad when you take it one (small) toy at a time--like Martha does. It gets easier every day. Well, almost every day. Recommended for ages 3-6.

    Martha Graham: A Dancer's Life (Russell Freedman) - Martha Graham, the American dancer, teacher, and choreographer, revolutionized the world of modern dance. She possessed a great gift for revealing emotion through dance, expressing beliefs and telling stories in an utterly new way. Newbery Medalist Russell Freedman documents Martha Graham's life from her birth in 1894 to her final dance performance at the age of seventy-five and continued career as a choreographer until her death in 1991. Graham's own recollections as well as those of her dancers, students, friends, and lovers reveal Graham's unwavering dedication, her extraordinary sense of artistry, and the fierce intensity that left an impression on all who saw her perform. Original research based on interviews and a remarkable collection of photographs not widely reproduced give this biography a rare and unparalleled depth. Recommended for ages 8-14.

    Martha Moth Makes Socks (Cambria Evans) - It’s Martha Moth’s birthday, and her friends are coming over for dinner. She makes a quick trip to the store, where she picks up: 1 polka-dot scarf, 2 itchy socks, 1 shrunken sweater, and 2 kinds of scrumptious yarn. Now Martha’s ready to get cooking! She’s just going to taste everything first to make sure it’s as good as it looks... Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Martha Speaks Series (Susan Meddaugh) - Martha Speaks is a fictional series of many early chapter books written by Susan Meddaugh featuring the title character Martha. A ten-year-old girl named Helen Finney, who fed her dog Martha some alphabet soup and something very mysterious occurred. The soup went to Martha's brain, instead of her stomach. When the letters got into her throat, they lost their way, so they traveled to her brain instead. This gave Martha the ability to speak. Recommended for ages 6-9.

    Martha Washington: America's First Lady (Jean Brown Wagoner) - A biography stressing the childhood of America's first First Lady. Recommended for ages 8-12.

    Martha, No! (Edward Hardy) - Martha Felicity Molly-Anne May has a habit of losing her nannies. She’s so naughty that even Mary Poppins wouldn’t know what to do! Can the newest nanny, Miss Harrington-Chive, keep track of the little angel during their day out on the town? Or will Martha’s behavior have the nanny screaming “Martha, no!” until her voice goes hoarse? And if Martha loses this nanny, what’s her mommy to do? Recommended for ages 2-5.

    Mary and Martha's Dinner Guest (Arch Books and Swanee Ballman) - Share Gods Word with children through lively poems and colorful illustrations that jump off the page! For more than 25 years, the best-selling Arch Book Bible story series has captivated children ages 5-9. Each book presents a complete Bible story in a fun-to-read way children can understand and remember. This book is the story of Luke 10:38-42. Recommended for ages 5-9.

    When Martha's Away (Bruce Ingman) - When you go off to school, you think I just sleep all day. WELL, BOY, HAVE I GOT NEWS FOR YOU! Martha may think her cat, Lionel, merely naps while she is at school, but she is quite mistaken. Lionel has a jam-packed schedule. He busies himself during the day by catching up on current affairs, weightlifting, cooking, painting, and — most important — socializing. This award-winning tale of a cat’s private life is presented with humor and panache by the talented Bruce Ingman. Recommended for ages 3-6.

  • Famous People Named Martha

    Famous People Named Martha

    Famous People Named Martha - Martha Washington (U.S. First Lady); Martha Jefferson (U.S. First Lady); Martha Stewart (businesswoman and TV personality); Martha Graham ("The Mother of Modern Dance”); Martha Plimpton (actress); Martha Jane Canary (aka Calamity Jane); Martha “Martie” Maguire (musician/Dixie Chick); Martha of Sweden (royalty); Princess Märtha-Louise of Norway (royalty); Martha Davis (singer)

  • Children of Famous People Named Martha

    Children of Famous People Named Martha

    Famous People Who Named Their Daughter Martha - Thomas Jefferson (U.S. President); Andrew Johnson (U.S. President); Keith Carradine (actor/songwriter); Estelle Parsons (actress)

  • Historic Figures

    Martha - Girl Baby Name - Historic Figures

    Martha Washington (2 Jun 1731 – 22 May 22) - Martha Dandridge Custis Washington was the first First Lady of the land, as wife to George Washington, the first president of the United States. Born in 1731 to a Virginia planter, she married John Custis, a wealthy plantation owner, and bore him four children, two of whom lived to young adulthood. Widowed at 25, she married Washington in 1759, when she was 27, bringing considerable riches to the union. They did not have any children of their own, but together raised the two surviving Custis children, as well as two of her son John Custis’ own children after his death in the War. In addition, they financially supported their own extended families on both sides. George Washington became the legal manager of the Custis estate upon their marriage, but evidence shows that Martha was very active in the day-to-day operation of same. During the Revolutionary War, Martha traveled with Washington to the winter encampments for eight years, providing him emotional and moral support. She was opposed to his accepting the presidency and did not attend the inaugural proceedings; however, during his tenure she brought her best to her role as hostess for the nation, well aware that she was setting a template for future first ladies. Martha’s money was responsible for the great expansion that took place at Mount Vernon, George Washington’s estate on the Potomac, and they lived there in apparent comfort and harmony both before and after the presidential years. He died in 1799 and she followed in 1802. Posthumously, Martha Washington became the first American woman to be depicted on a U.S. postage stamp, thrice, in 1902, 1923 and 1938. Additionally, she is the only woman whose image has appeared on the face of a U.S. currency note, the $1 Silver Certificate of 1886, 1891 and 1896. This seems a fitting tribute to a woman who helped preside over the birth of a new nation.

Personality of the Girl Name Martha

The number Seven personality is deeply mystical and highly in tune with their spirituality. They operate on a different wavelength than the average joe. Spending time alone comes easily to Sevens, as it gives them time to contemplate philosophical, religious and spiritual ideas in an effort to find "real truth".  Sevens are wise, but often exude mystery as if they are tapped into something the rest of us don't understand. They love the outdoors and are fed by nature. Sevens are constantly seeking to understand human nature, our place in the universe, and the mystery of life in general. This makes them quite artistic and poetic, but they are also keen observers with high intellect - so they are equally scientific-minded. Sevens are charitable and care deeply about the human condition.

Variations of the Baby Name - Martha

  • No Variations Found.
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