Maeve Name Meaning

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Maeve is a traditional Irish name that is steadily rising in popularity. The name comes from the Old Irish name Medb, which may mean “the intoxicating one” or “she who rules.” The name appears in Irish mythology, too, as the name of the Queen of Connacht and the name of the queen of the fairies.

  • Origin: The name Maeve is derived from Medb, the name of a queen in Irish mythology who was considered by some to be a goddess. The name may be related to the Proto-Celtic root “medu-” meaning “mead” (an alcoholic drink). This suggests that the name could mean “intoxicating.”
  • Gender: Maeve is traditionally a feminine name.
  • Pronunciation: MAVE (rhymes with “cave”)

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

How Popular Is the Name Maeve?

Until the 1990s, the name Maeve was rare in the U.S. Maeve first appeared among the top 1000 girl names in 1997, debuting at No. 955. Since that time, it has steadily risen in popularity, reaching the top 500 in 2013, and the top 300 in 2019. The latest statistics show that Maeve is the No. 173 name for girls in America, an all-time high.

Although the name Maeve is typically used as a girl name, it can be used any way you see fit, as sex does not have to be a part of your name selection process.

Similar Names

Alternate spellings are sometimes seen, such as Mave, Maive, and Mayve. The name Mae/May is a different name but can also be used as a nickname for Maeve.

If you are looking for a masculine equivalent, consider another M name like Mason, Maverick, or Miles, or a traditional Irish name such as Aidan, Callum, or Ronan.

More names starting with M:

  • Mabel
  • Madeleine
  • Madison
  • Margaret
  • Margot
  • Mariah
  • Mariana
  • Marissa
  • Maya
  • Meadow
  • Melissa
  • Meredith
  • Mia
  • Miranda
  • Molly
  • Myla

More Irish names:

  • Aisling
  • Brianna
  • Bridget
  • Caitlin
  • Cassidy
  • Deirdre
  • Eileen
  • Erin
  • Fiona
  • Keira
  • Kerry
  • Quinn
  • Riley
  • Shannon
  • Siobhan
  • Teagan

Suggested Sibling Names

  • Bailey
  • Barrett
  • Brody
  • Callie
  • Dean
  • Elliot
  • Finn
  • Harmony
  • Hayden
  • Juliette
  • June
  • Juniper
  • Lucia
  • Sloane
  • Timothy
  • Tristan

Famous People Named Maeve

These are some of the most notable women with the name Maeve:

  • Maeve Binchy, an Irish novelist, playwright, and journalist
  • Maeve Fort, an English diplomat who served as the United Kingdom's High Commissioner in South Africa
  • Maeve Harris, an abstract painter whose work was featured in “The Celebrity Apprentice”
  • Maeve Hillery, an Irish anesthetist who was married to President Patrick Hillery of Ireland
  • Maeve Ingoldsby, an Irish playwright and satirist who contributed to the radio show “Only Slaggin’”
  • Maeve Jinkings, a Brazilian actress known for her role in the Brazilian telenovela “A Regra do Jogo”
  • Maeve Kennedy McKean, an American attorney who served as a Senior Advisor for Human Rights under President Obama, and was a granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy
  • Maeve Kinkead, an American actress and writer, known for her roles in the TV soap operas “Another World” and “Guiding Light”
  • Maeve Kyle, an Irish Olympic hockey player
  • Meave Leakey, an English paleontologist known for her team’s discovery of a 3.5 million-year-old human skull in Kenya
  • Maeve McGuire, an American actress known for her role in the soap opera “The Edge of Night”
  • Maeve McLaughlin, an Irish politician who served in the Northern Ireland Assembly
  • Maeve O'Boyle, a Scottish singer-songwriter who was the first woman from Scotland to perform at the White House
  • Maeve O'Donovan, an Irish singer who was a finalist on the competition show “You're a Star”
  • Maeve Quinlan, a former professional tennis player and actress, known for her role in “The Bold and the Beautiful”
  • Maeve Sherlock, an English baroness who is a member of the British House of Lords

Several fictional characters named Maeve have been associated with magic, drawing from the Queen Mebd/Maeve of Irish mythology. Fictional Maeves have included a Celtic sorceress in the Canadian TV series “The Adventures of Sinbad,” a magic-powered superhero in the comic book series “The Boys,” and a queen of the fae (fairies) in the “Throne of Glass” book series by Sarah J. Maas.

More Baby Names

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

2 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. Irslinger B. Medb "the intoxicating one"? (Re-)constructing the past through etymology. Ulidia 4: Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on the Ulster Cycle of Tales. Dublin: Four Courts Press; 2017. 38–94.

  2. Social Security Administration. Popular Baby Names. 2021.

Additional Reading

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.