Girl Baby Name


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Quick Facts on Maya

  • Gender:
  • Girl
  • Origin:
  • Greek, Latin
  • Number of syllables:
  • 2
  • Ranking popularity:
  • 72
Simple meaning:
Multiple meanings

Characteristics of Maya

  • Dependable
  • Solid
  • Practical
  • Hard-working
  • Industrious
  • Studious
  • Conservative

Etymology & Historical Origin - Maya

There are multiple possible origins for the name Maya, so take a seat. For one, it may be a simple respelling of Maia, and ancient goddess of Greek mythology. She was the eldest and most beautiful of the seven daughters of Atlas and Pleione, known as "The Pleiades.” The ruler of all gods, Zeus, fell in love with her and she bore him a son, Hermes (the messenger god). In Roman mythology, Maia was regarded as the goddess of fertility and spring, hence the month of May. Some etymologists believe that Maia was ultimately derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *meg- meaning “great” while others speculate she comes from the root *ma- meaning “mother, good mother.” In Hebrew, Maya comes from “ma'ayan” which translates to “spring, brook” (as in a small stream of water). The name in Old Persian translates to “generous.” In Hindu mythology, Māyā means “illusion.” Queen Māyā is also the name of the mother of Buddha. As a Latinate form of “May”, Maya may also be considered a nickname for Mary or Margaret, meaning “beloved” and “pearl,” respectively. In any case, the name Maya is relatively modern in terms of usage in the English-speaking world – but she has a whole host of ancient etymologies from which to choose.

Popularity of the Name Maya

Maya made her debut on the American female naming charts for the first time in 1970 which coincided with Maya Angelou’s rise to international fame resulting from the publication of “I Know Why the Cage Bird Sings” in 1969. From that point on, the name has steadily climbed to the top of the charts. It hit America’s Top 100 list of favorite baby girl names in 2002 and seems to be hovering around position #60 (which means Maya is bestowed upon over 4,000 baby girls each year). An interesting fact is that Maya Angelou’s real name is Marguerite Johnson. She got the name “Maya” from her brother’s mispronunciation, referring to her as “mya sista.” Maya jazzes up the old-fashioned name May. And with its multiple, positive meanings, it’s no wonder American parents find it an attractive choice!
Popularity of the Girl Name Maya
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Maya

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Maya

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Maya

    Maya (I Know Why the Cage Bird Sings) Maya is the central character in Maya Angelou's 1969 critically acclaimed autobiographical novel, "I know Why the Cage Bird Sings.” The book is a coming-of-age story of Maya, a young southern black girl in the segregated American South confronting loneliness, insecurity, sexism, racism and violence – and follows her through her personal traumas and triumphs from girlhood to the age of 16 when she finds herself pregnant. Clearly precocious, bright and perceptive, Maya’s early years are wrought with loneliness, powerlessness and self-doubt. She must overcome many horrible experiences, but her innate spirit ultimately triumphs into an independent, compassionate and wise young woman, securing a position as the first black conductor of a San Francisco streetcar. She serves as a role model to all readers (white and black alike) for her strength in confronting life with dignity and honor despite her many struggles. Truly an inspirational woman!

  • Popular Songs on Maya

    Popular Songs on Maya

    Maya - a song by Ferron

    Maya - a song by The Incredible String Band

    Maya Love - a song by George Harrison

    Veils of Maya - a song by Cynic

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Maya

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Maya

    Maya Angelou: Journey of the Heart (Jayne Pettit) - The best parts of this biography are those about Angelou's childhood and youth that draw on the classic I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1970), the first and greatest of her five autobiographies. Pettit makes that stirring story accessible to middle-grade readers, while retaining a strong sense of Angelou's personal voice. Recommended for ages 9-12.

    Maya the Harp Fairy (Daisy Meadows) - Jack Frost and his goblins have stolen the Music Fairies' magic instruments. Music everywhere is out of tune! Now the goblins plan to play the instruments in a TV talent contest. If Rachel and Kirsty don't act fast, everyone could find out about Fairyland! There's a wedding in Wetherbury, but the day could be ruined if Rachel and Kirsty can't find Maya's magic harp. They'll have to pull some strings to get it back! Find the magic instrument in each book and help keep Fairyland in perfect harmony! Recommended ages 4-8.

    Maya's Children: The Story of La Llorona (Rudolfo A. Anaya) - A celebrated Chicano writer offers his version of the Latin American legend of La Llorona, "the crying woman." In ancient Mexico, a daughter of the sun god is born to human parents. She is named Maya and is destined to live forever. That angers Senor Tiempo, the god of time, who jealously vows to find a way to ensure that Maya's immortality will not be passed on to her children. In an author's note, Anaya explains that he has tempered the violence of the original tale and made Maya a sympathetic character rather than one designed to frighten children. Instead, Senor Tiempo becomes "the bad guy," and a traditional tale becomes a lesson to "teach youngsters about mortality." Recommended for ages 4-8.

    My Friend Maya Loves to Dance (Cheryl Willis Hudson) - A young narrator tells readers about her friend Maya, who absolutely loves to dance. In this rhyming picture book, Maya attends a lively dance class. She can’t get enough of dance: the costumes, the grand entrances, the pirouettes, the music, the final bow, and the magic of recitals. She even loves the hard work of practice. But why doesn’t her friend dance, too? recommended for ages 4-8.

    Poetry for Young People: Maya Angelou (Dr. Edwin Graves Wilson, Editor) - Maya Angelou needs no introduction. She is a true American icon—and now she is the first living poet included in Sterling’s celebrated Poetry for Young People series. Recommended ages 9-12.

  • Famous People Named Maya

    Famous People Named Maya

    Famous People Named Maya - Maya Angelou (poet); Maya Rudolph (actress/comic)

  • Children of Famous People Named Maya

    Children of Famous People Named Maya

    Famous People who Named their Daughter Maya - Catherine Oxenberg (actress); Ethan Hawke (actor); Pablo Picasso (artist); Uma Thurman (actress)

Personality of the Girl Name Maya

The number Four personality is marked by stability and discipline. This is the personality that follows the rules and is conservative by nature.  They have an earth-bound energy that prefers to build things methodically on top of firm foundations; they don't cut corners. Fours take their time and don't like to be hurried. But the outcome of their endeavors is likely to result in some strong and useful structure, which makes them great engineers and inventors. Fours are anything but frivolous or controversial. This is a trustworthy, straight-forward personality that embodies dedication and organization. They are the backbone and anchor in their relationships, careers and communities. They are tidy, punctual, and full of integrity. Hard-work comes naturally to a Four and they are immensely reliable. This is the personality you can always count on.

Variations of the Baby Name - Maya

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