Girl Baby Name


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Quick Facts on Matilda

  • Gender:
  • Girl
  • Origin:
  • English, German
  • Number of syllables:
  • 3
  • Ranking popularity:
  • 645
Simple meaning:
Mighty battler, Strength in battle

Characteristics of Matilda

  • Humanitarian
  • Community-minded
  • Family-oriented
  • Loving
  • Affectionate
  • Compassionate
  • Sensitive

Etymology & Historical Origin - Matilda

Matilda is the medieval Latinized form of an Old German female personal name Mahthildis (Olde English: Mæðhilde), from the Germanic elements “maht” meaning “might” and “hild” meaning “battle”. Therefore, the name essentially means “mighty battler” or “strength in battle”. Saint Matilda was the 10th century wife of Henry the Fowler, King of the Germans, noted for her devotion to prayer and generous almsgiving. The name was made popular in her honor mainly around the regions of Saxony and Bavaria. The name was eventually popularized in England by the Norman-French following the Norman Conquest of 1066. Matilda of Flanders was the wife of William the Conqueror and, after his conquest of England, she became Queen Consort of England. Matilda was also a baby-making machine, delivering nine children to William, including two future kings of England (William II and Henry I). The English adopted the name but in the more colloquial form of Maud. Maud fell out of favor by the 15th century but was later revived (along with the Latinized Matilda) in the 19th century. Today the name Matilda is extremely popular in Australia (ranked on the Top 20 of most favorite girl names Down Under). Practically a national anthem in Australia, “Waltzing Matilda” is an old folksong about traveling by foot with all of one’s possessions, slung over one’s back in a Matilda (a “swagman's bundle”). Therefore, the name gives us a romantic gypsy-like impression. Matilda is also quite popular for girls in England, Sweden and Chile. Pretty diverse group of users, we’d say!

Popularity of the Name Matilda

Although trendy in Australia and England right now, Americans apparently haven’t gotten the Matilda memo yet. But let’s back up a bit. The name was actually close to being a Top 100 favorite in America during the late 1800s. As we entered the 20th century over 100 years ago, Matilda remained a moderately high favorite, but as the decades advanced, the name went into a slow and steady decline. By 1965 Matilda retreated into the shadows when the name dropped off the charts altogether. Her hiatus from usage would last an astonishing 40+ years until her homecoming in 2008. We’re pretty certain Heath Ledger’s untimely death in 2008 had something to do with the resurgence of this name (he and actress Michelle Williams have a daughter named Matilda Rose). Regardless of Matilda’s reentry onto the charts, this is a name highly underused and still relatively rare in America despite the popular usage among our English-speaking friends in Australia and England. Matilda is delightfully old-fashioned, chalk full of medieval royal importance and loaded with “mighty” strength and charm. As a Germanic name, Matilda has a strong and confident sound without surrendering her femininity. She’s not at all flowery and girly, but she is charming, charismatic and delightfully impish. Possible nicknames include: Maude, Millie, Mattie, Tillie and Tilda.
Popularity of the Girl Name Matilda
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Matilda

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Matilda

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Matilda

    Matilda (Matilda, who told lies and was burnt to death) Matilda is the subject of one of Hilaire Belloc’s verses in his 1907 parodic children’s book, Cautionary Tales for Children: Designed for the Admonition of Children between the ages of eight and fourteen years. Matilda’s sin is outlined in her tale, that being “Matilda, who told lies and was burnt to death”, a most heartening “admonition” for youngsters, and one which surely must have delighted them. Matilda is a take on the boy who cried wolf – she delights in calling up the neighborhood fire departments and declaring the house to be on fire – when all the engines come roaring to the rescue and her lie is found out, Matilda’s aunt has to pay the firemen for their troubles. Some days later, Matilda’s aunt goes to the theater, leaving the naughty child behind, of course, and this time a fire really does break out. In spite of all her screams and pleas, no one believes her this time…”And therefore, when her Aunt returned, Matilda, and the House, were burned”. That’ll show you little firebugs between the ages of eight and fourteen!

    Matilda (The Divine Comedy) Matilda is one of Dante Aligheri’s guides in his 14th century epic, The Divine Comedy. After passing through the horrors of the Inferno and then the seven terraces of Purgatory, Dante arrives at the allegorical Earthly Paradise, representing the innocence of mankind before the Fall. Against this gorgeous and lush backdrop, the beautiful Matilda appears, singing and gathering flowers in a meadow. She explains to Dante the purpose of the two streams running through this paradise, one whose waters erase all memory of sins committed, the other which enhances all memory of good deeds. After hosting a procession of hundreds of mystic symbols of Heaven and the Church, Matilda re-introduces him to his beloved Beatrice, who will be his guide in the upper regions of Paradise. This is the finest gift that Matilda can have given him; humbly Dante places himself in her care and guardianship.

    Matilda Wormwood (Matilda) Matilda Wormwood is the title heroine in Roald Dahl’s 1988 children’s novel, Matilda (also adapted into film, radio and a musical). Matilda is an extremely precocious eight year old girl of high intelligence and low lineage. Wealthy though her family is, they have no respect for her innate gifts, and belittle her constantly. Matilda does not take this sitting down, however – she rises to the challenge by concocting ever riskier tricks to play on them. In addition to her I.Q., Matilda is also blessed with the power of telekinesis, which comes in handy when she helps her beloved teacher, Miss Honey, win back her home and inheritance. The problematic elders are handily taken care of when Matilda’s parents are fleeing from the law after her father’s irregular business dealings have been discovered – this provides her the opportunity to go live with Miss Honey, and all’s well that ends well. Sounds like every child’s dream.

  • Popular Songs on Matilda

    Popular Songs on Matilda

    And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda - by The Pogues

    Matilda - a song by Harry Belafonte

    Matilda Mother - a song by Pink Floyd

    Sweet Matilda - by Clint Eastwood & General Saint

    Waltzing Matilda - an old Australian folksong

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Matilda

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Matilda

    Amazing Matilda: A Monarch's Tale (Bette A. Stevens) - This inspirational tale of a Monarch butterfly and her meadowland friends is the second children's book written and illustrated by Bette A. Stevens. Amazing Matilda becomes discouraged when she is unable to fly during the early stages of her metamorphosis. But, this amazing Monarch never gives up on her dream. Encouraged by her meadowland friends, Matilda learns that if she tries long enough and hard enough, she can do anything that she really wants to do. Amazing Matilda will inspire readers and listeners alike, not only to follow their own dreams, but to encourage others to do the same! Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Aunt Matilda's Almost-Boring Party (Jane Morris Udovic) - At an elegant party, a little boy's dreamy imagination takes flight - and so do the custard pies. A little boy is a bored and sleepy guest at his Aunt Matilda's charity ball, until...a tiny dog darts across the dance floor, a gentleman's toupee loses its grip, and a lemon custard pie sails through the crowd. Before long, pies are flying through the air at this elegant affair. Jane Morris Udovic's engaging story in rhyme and David Udovic's vibrant, comic paintings show how a young boy's dreamy imagination turns a stuffy party into a boisterously good time. Recommended for ages 3-7.

    Collected Tales of Nurse Matilda (Christianna Brand) - "Once upon a time there was a huge family of children; and they were terribly, terribly naughty." So begins "Nurse Matilda", the first of three books about the no-nonsense nanny who uses magic to rein in the mischievous children in her charge - and changes their lives forever. Recommended for ages young adult.

    Dancing Matilda (Sarah Hager) - Meet Dancing Matilda, a gleefully energetic character who lives life in her own spunky style. This rhyming story follows Matilda through her dancing day with a rhythm so infectious, readers will want to get up and dance themselves In the vein of Olivia and Eloise, Matilda is a strong and joyful heroine who will dance straight into the hearts of young readers Ages 3-7.

    Matilda & Maxwell Good Night (Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman) - Matilda and Maxwell's Good Night is a stand-alone, delightful bedtime story. The characters are funny and believable, the story charming, and the illustrations are simply wonderful. In this compelling tale, Matilda has a secret that she finally confesses to her best friend, Maxwell. She is too afraid to sleep alone in her room at night. Maxwell has a confession for her, too-he used to have the same problem! Then, thanks to "What's the Rule?" he was able to overcome his nighttime fears, and stay in his own bed all night. Recommended for ages 3-6.

    Matilda (Roald Dahl) - For most kids, The Trunchbull is pure terror, but for Matilda, she's a sitting duck. Who put superglue in Dad's hat? Was it really a ghost that made Mom tear out of the house? Matilda is a genius with idiot parents—and she's having a great time driving them crazy. But at school things are different. At school there's Miss Trunchbull, two hundred menacing pounds of kid-hating headmistress. Get rid of The Trunchbull and Matilda would be a hero. But that would take a superhuman genius, wouldn't it? Recommended for ages 7-10.

    Matilda Bone (Karen Cushman) - Orphaned Matilda is not at all pleased when she arrives at Blood and Bone Alley to become an assistant to Red Peg the Bonesetter. She is a religious, well-educated girl who can’t picture herself doing dirty chores or helping sickly patients. Each day is very different from her former quiet life. Matilda’s not used to being around so many people who are coming and going, laughing and eating. Not one of them seems interested in prayer or study. Self-centered Matilda thinks no one understands her. But Peg does, and gives her time to get used to this new way of life and teaches her through kindness and friendship. Matilda is as surprised as anyone when she begins seeing the world around her in a different way. Recommended for ages 10-14.

    Matilda Mae: The Dog Who Needed a Name (Sara McGaughy) - Meet Matilda Mae, a sweet beagle puppy who needed some help finding her "forever home." Her siblings were adopted quickly because of their outgoing personalities and adherence to the standard of what a beagle "should" look like. Matilda Mae's shyness and quirky appearance caused her to be left behind and eventually surrendered to an animal shelter. Luckily for Matilda Mae, her new friends at the shelter found a loving family to take her home. This book includes 19 lovingly drawn, full-color illustrations. This book educates readers about the issue of homeless pets and animal adoption in a thoughtful and age-appropriate manner. The author will donate a portion of her proceeds from the sale of this book to animal shelters. Recommended for ages 7-10.

    Matilda Private Eye: The Case of the Missing Socks (Lisa McClafferty) - Matilda is a wee Lassie—well, actually Scottish terrier—who lives in the Kingdom of Simonville in a huge castle under the rule of the Great White Terrier of the West Highlands, King Simon. Now, ever since King Simon lost his entrusted advisor, Lord Frederick of Cairns, he has been a little unsure of himself and gets spooked by the many mysteries in the kingdom and in life itself. That’s where Matilda comes in; she was brought in to investigate these mysteries and hopefully solve a few and in the process to let King Simon and all who read her stories know that: “All is well.” Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Matilda The Moocher (Diana Cain Bluthenthal) - Matilda thinks nothing of dropping by her neighbor Libby's house to ride her bike or borrow her socks, but Libby thinks that Matilda is taking advantage of her. Recommended for ages 5-8.

    Matilda Who Told Such Dreadful Stories (Hilaire Belloc) - An incorrigible liar finds that when she needs help the most no one will believe what she has to say. Recommended for ages 6-9.

    Matilda's Cat (Emily Gravett) - Climbing trees, playing with wool ...Matilda is sure her cat will love these things, but he doesn't seem very enthusiastic. Undaunted, she thinks up new ways to amuse her reluctant playmate. Tea parties? Dressing up? Or what about a nice bike ride? As the beleaguered cat goes from nonplussed to terrified, Matilda gets more and more frustrated. After all, what use is a pet if it doesn't want to play? An insightful, fond and funny look at the relationship between a little girl and her cat, this is sure to strike a chord with anyone who's ever been a devoted pet owner. Recommended for ages 5-8.

    Matilda's Humdinger (Lynn Downey) - Matilda's a waitress at Burt's Diner on Fifth and Main. And she's plumb near the worst waitress the diner's ever seen. Her mind's never on the job -- it's always busy dreaming up stories. But Burt doesn't care, because there's nothing the townsfolk like better than to pile into his diner and listen to Matilda tell one of her humdingers. Then one day, a city slicker by the name of Ralph Q. Yuckley strolls in with a big old list of health codes Matilda's been violating, from failure to wear a hairnet to sitting on the counters! Poor Matilda has no choice but to learn to be the perfect waitress--and soon she has no time for storytelling. But just you wait, Mr. Yuckley, because one of Miz Matilda's humdingers might just save the day...Recommended for ages 5-8.

    My Friend, Matilda (Ben Keckler) - A new word for our culture emerged as Matilda, a golden retriever, faithfully stood by her master, Chris, during his journey through grief and his courageous struggle with a brain tumor. The word is pet ship. In this 2006 IPPY Award winning book we define it in this way: Pet-ship (pet`ship), n. 1. the state of being between a person and their pet. 2. feelings of understanding between a person and their pet. Two ancient feelings are addressed for our culture as Matilda and Chris tell their story. The feelings are unconditional love and sadness. Pets can teach us so many things if we just open our hearts to their language. Recommended for ages 8-11.

    Princess Matilda (Ava Montanari) - Clever, whimsical illustrations accompany this charming tale of a little girl named Matilda with a big imagination. She's a beautiful princess, an angry witch, a free butterfly, a jungle dweller, and a clown all in one! Beginning readers will love this story and identify with Matilda's make-believe worlds, and adults will enjoy reading alone. Ideal for children ages 3-8.

    Squawking Matilda (Lisa Horstman) - Matilda is a chicken with attitude: proud, dignified, and scrappy. Aunt Susan sends her to Mae, who loves to take on special projects. But nothing is quick or easy with Matilda. Mae never had to work so hard before! Soon new projects grab her attention, and Matilda is neglected. When Aunt Susan plans a visit, Mae has to find out what it takes to care for a special chicken like Matilda. Author and illustrator Lisa Horstman uses a unique style of digitally combining hand-crafted puppets with painted backdrops. Recommended for ages 5-8.

  • Famous People Named Matilda

    Famous People Named Matilda

    Famous People Named Matilda - Katherine Mathilda "Tilda" Swinton (actress)

  • Children of Famous People Named Matilda

    Children of Famous People Named Matilda

    Famous People Who Named Their Daughter Matilda - Heath Ledger (actor); Michelle Williams (actress)

  • Historic Figures

    Matilda - Girl Baby Name - Historic Figures

    Empress Matilda (12th Century) - Typically left off the long list of English monarchs, Matilda is considered by some as the first female monarch in English history. Here’s how it all went down. Matilda (or Maud) was the daughter of King Henry I of England. Her 17 year old brother, William, was heir to the throne but died in a maritime disaster while sailing from Normandy to England. Unwilling to hand the throne to his now sole heir Matilda, Henry I went about trying to sire more babies with his second wide (Matilda’s mother had since died). In the meantime, Matilda has been betrothed to the Holy Roman Emperor (Henry V); this marriage gave her the title “Empress” Matilda. Her father King Henry I now hoped his daughter would produce a son to keep the family lineage going, but she and the Emperor had no children after 11 years of marriage. After the Emperor died, Matilda remarried the Count of Anjou and with him she [phew] had three sons (one of which would later become King Henry II of England). Now Henry I was satisfied in passing the throne to his daughter knowing a son would soon follow keeping the family dynasty alive and well. She was a mere woman after all, so the King had to persuade the barons to accept her succession. They all promised, of course. Waiting quietly in the shadows, however, was Matilda’s cousin Stephen who swooped in at the moment of Henry’s death and usurped the throne from Matilda who was in Normandy birthing her third son at the time. The double-crossing barons supported Stephen and quickly crowned him King of England. So from this perspective, Matilda was never a crowned monarch of England but she was the rightful successor to her father. Karma is a bitch, though. Stephen’s reign was referred to as “nineteen long winters” and the ongoing rivalry between cousins for the throne created turmoil, unrest and civil wars throughout England, sheer anarchy. Clearly, this Matilda was a courageous “mighty battler” who refused to give up. After years of battles, a war torn Matilda finally gave the reigns over to her oldest son to fight his own battles for the throne; after which a war torn King Stephen agreed to pass the reigns to Henry rather than his own son William, as long as he could see his reign to the end (this agreement was known as the Treaty of Westminster). Matilda lived long enough to see her son become Henry II, King of England – the very royal position which she – because of her double-x chromosomes – had been unjustly denied.

    Matilda of Flanders (11th Century) - Matilda was born into nobility as the daughter of the Count of Flanders, one of the original fiefdoms of France. On her mother’s side, Matilda was the granddaughter of the King of the Franks, Robert II of France. Her cousin Duke William II of Normandy took a liking to the fresh young beauty, but she rebuffed his marriage proposal which had been delivered by messenger; Matilda believed marrying William would be marrying down. You see, William was a bastard, the child of his father, the then Duke of Normandy, and his mistress. According to legend, the outraged William rode his horse from Normandy to Bruges in order to confront the arrogant girl himself. It was said he found her on her way to church, grabbed her by her braids, threw her off her horse and then rode away. Others say this even took place in her father’s house where William, again grabbing the insolent girl by the braids, threw her to the ground and then left. Apparently this made quite an impression on Matilda, for she suddenly found herself in love! Despite her father’s objections, not to mention the opposition of the Church (on the grounds of consanguinity because the pair were cousins), Matilda and William were finally married in 1051. Once married, Matilda added Duchess of Normandy to her titles. By all accounts, the union was a happy one. Certainly it was a success in the bedroom, as the couple produced nine children together. Once her husband successfully conquered England, Matilda then became Queen Consort of England (although she preferred to stay in Normandy).

Personality of the Girl Name Matilda

Romance is the hallmark of the Six personality. They exude nurturing, loving, and caring energy. Sixes are in love with the idea of love in its idealized form - and with their magnetic personalities, they easily draw people toward them. Like the number Two personality, they seek balance and harmony in their life and the world at large. They are conscientious and service-oriented, and a champion for the underdog. These personalities naturally attract money and are usually surrounded by lovely material objects - but their human relationships are always primary. They thrive in giving back to others rather than being motivated by their own desires. This is when they achieve great things. Sixes are natural teachers, ministers and counselors.

Variations of the Baby Name - Matilda

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