Madison Name Meaning

baby girl

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What Does Madison Mean?

The name Madison was originally an English surname, derived from a non-standard spelling of Mathieson. Madison means “son of Matthew” or “Matthew’s son”. Strength in battle is another meaning of the name Madison, from the Old High German maht (strength) and hiltja (battle).

Many prominent Americans had the last name Madison. Especially notable was James Madison, a coauthor of the U.S. Constitution and the Federalist Papers, and the fourth president of the United States. Later, Madison would be used as a given name as well.

  • Origin: Madison emerged as a common first name for girls in the mid-1980s. The 1984 movie “Splash,” featuring a mermaid named Madison as its main character, is usually credited for the name’s rise in popularity.
  • Gender: Madison can be used for either both boys or girls.
  • Pronunciation: MAD-i-son

Although baby names are often separated by gender, Verywell Family believes that sex need not play any role in your name selection process. It’s important to select the name that you feel best suits your new baby.

How Popular Is the Name Madison?

Prior to the 1980s, Madison was used as a name for boys, but it was never extremely popular as a boy name. Its highest ranking was at No. 514 in the year 1903, and from 1953 to 1986 it was not among the top 1000 names for boys in America at all.

In the 1984 film “Splash,” actress Daryl Hannah plays a mermaid whose birth name cannot be pronounced by humans. When she hears the name read from the sign for Madison Avenue in New York City, she chooses to use it as her name.

In the movie, the notion of a woman named Madison is portrayed as a joke. But what happened next was no joke: in 1985, the next year after the film’s release, Madison was among the top 1000 names for girls in the U.S. Within a decade, it was in the top 100. By 1997, it had broken into the top 10.

Madison was the No. 2 name for girls in America from 2001 to 2002, outranked only by the name Emily. It would stay in the top 10 for more than a decade, dropping to No. 11 in 2015. Madison is still a popular name for girls, with the latest statistics ranking it at No. 23.

Similar Names

Sometimes alternate spellings are used, such as Maddison, Maddisyn, Madysin, Madyson, etc. The name is also frequently shortened to Mad, Mads, Madi, Maddie, or Maddy. Maddie/Maddy can also be a nickname for Madeleine/Madelyn/Madeline.

Other Totally 80s Girl Names:

  • Amanda
  • Ashley
  • Heather
  • Jennifer
  • Jessica
  • Kimberly
  • Nicole
  • Stephanie

More Girl Names Starting with M:

  • Mackenzie
  • Mariah
  • Marilyn
  • Maya
  • Melanie
  • Melissa
  • Michelle
  • Mina

Suggested Sibling Names

One of the following names may go well with Madison:

  • Amelia
  • Charlotte
  • Evelyn
  • Ezra
  • Matthew
  • Noah
  • Oliver
  • Olivia

Famous People Named Madison

There have been many prominent people given the name Madison.

Famous Female Madisons

  • Madison Bailey, American actress known for starring in the Netflix series “Outer Banks”
  • Madison Beer, American singer and songwriter
  • Madison Brengle, American tennis player
  • Madison “Madi” Browne, Australian international netball player
  • Madison Davenport, American actress known for her role in “From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series”
  • Madison De La Garza, American actress known for her role in the TV series “Desperate Housewives”
  • Madison Hubbell, American ice dancer
  • Madison Iseman, American actress
  • Madison Keys, American tennis player
  • Madison Kocian, Olympic gymnast
  • Madison Lintz, American actress known for roles in the TV series “The Walking Dead” and “Bosch”
  • Madison McLaughlin, American actress known for her role on the TV series “Arrow”
  • Madison Nguyen, American politician and former vice mayor of San Jose City, California
  • Madison Pettis, American actress known for her role in the TV series “Cory in the House”
  • Madison “Maddie” Ziegler, American dancer who appeared on “Dance Moms” and starred in music videos by Sia

More Baby Names

Still searching for the perfect baby name? Check out these related baby name lists for even more options:

1 Source
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Social Security Administration. Popularity of Name Madison.

By Wendy Wisner
Wendy Wisner is a lactation consultant and writer covering maternal/child health, parenting, general health and wellness, and mental health. She has worked with breastfeeding parents for over a decade, and is a mom to two boys.