Madison Name Meaning

baby girl

 Westend61 / Getty Images

What Does Madison Mean?

The name Madison was originally an English surname, derived from a non-standard spelling of Mathieson (“son of Matthew” or “Matthew’s son”).

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. Although the famous Madisons are categorized by male and female, the name can be used any way you see fit, as sex does not have to be a part of your name selection process.

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 known for her role in the TV series “Still the King”
  • Madison Keys, American tennis player
  • Madison Kocian, American 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 known for appearing on “Dance Moms” and in music videos by Sia

Famous Male Madisons

  • Madison Smartt Bell, American novelist known for his trilogy of novels about the Haitian Revolution
  • Madison Bumgarner, Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Madison Cooper (1894–1956), American businessman and author of the novel “Sironia, Texas”
  • Madison Hedgecock, American football player
  • Madison Hemings (1805–1877), son of enslaved woman Sally Hemings by her enslaver Thomas Jefferson
  • Madison Hughes, American rugby player
  • Madison S. Perry (1814–1865), American politician, the fourth governor of Florida

More Baby Names

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

Loading shell for quizzesApp1 vue props component in Globe.
Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
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. Popular Baby Names. Updated 2021.

Additional Reading