Maria Name Meaning

baby girl waking up

South_agency / Getty Images

What Does Maria Mean? 

Maria is a historically feminine name of Latin origin. It can be translated to either mean “of the sea,” “bitter,” “beloved,” or “rebellious.” In some cultures, it’s also considered to be a variation for the name Mary. Maria is also a feminine variation for the Roman name Marius. Maria is used as a masculine middle name in countries like Poland, Italy, and Germany. Maria is particularly popular in Spanish-speaking countries. In English-speaking countries, the variation, Mary is more popular. 

  • Origin: Maria is of Latin origin 
  • Gender: Historically, Maria has been given as a first name to girls and sometimes as a middle name to boys, but it can be given to babies of any gender.
  • Pronunciation: Marh-ree-ah

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 Maria? 

Maria is a fairly popular name in the United States. It started to rise in popularity in the 1940s, peaking in 1975, with 7,531 babies named Maria that year. Thereafter, the name's popularity declined. As of 2020, only 2,460 babies were given the name. Its decline in popularity is great news for any parent who doesn’t want to give their baby a very common name. According to 2020 data from the Social Security Administration, Maria is the 109th most popular name for girls in the United States.

Name Variations 

Maria has several variations in cultures and languages across the world. Some of the most common include

  • Maarja (Estonian)
  • Maleah (English)
  • Mari (Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Estonian)
  • Mariah (English)
  • Mariam (Biblical Greek)
  • Marie (German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish) 
  • Mariya (Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Russian)
  • Marja (Dutch)
  • Marje (Estonian)
  • Marjo (Dutch) 
  • Marju (Estonian)
  • Mary (English)
  • Marya (Russian)

If you are considering one of these variations as an alternative to Maria, it’s important to research their history and meaning to ensure it doesn’t mean something you might find unpleasant. 

Similar Names

If you like the name Maria but can’t decide if it’s for your baby yet, here’s a list of similar names of Latin origin you could also consider.

  • Amanda 
  • Angelica 
  • Ava
  • Cecilia 
  • Daniella 
  • Donna
  • Emilia 
  • Georgia
  • Gloria 
  • Joy
  • Luna
  • Madonna 
  • Marina 
  • Mary
  • Nora
  • Priscilla 
  • Regina 
  • Serena 
  • Valentina 
  • Veronica
  • Victoria
  • Vivian 

Suggested Sibling Names 

Here’s a list of names that compliment Maria:

  • Adrianna 
  • Anthony 
  • Augustine 
  • Carmen
  • Celeste 
  • Dominic 
  • Emma
  • Felix
  • Francesca 
  • Joseph 
  • Julia 
  • Justin
  • Madelaine 
  • Marcus 
  • Silas
  • Stella
  • Paul
  • Quentin
  • Remus
  • Sabrina
  • Victor 
  • Vincent  

Famous People Named Maria    

If you are curious about who else would share the name if you decide to name your baby, here’s a list of famous people who have been named Maria over the years. 

  • Maria Bello, American actress, and writer 
  • Maria Brink, American singer, and songwriter 
  • Maria Bueno, Brazilian professional tennis player 
  • Maria Eve, American poet 
  • Maria Kanellis, American professional wrestler 
  • Maria Kochetkova, Russian ballet dancer 
  • Maria "Meryl" Streep, American actress 
  • Maria Montessori, Italian physician and educator who pioneered Montessori schools 
  • Maria Salinas, American broadcast journalist 
  • Maria Sharapova, Russian professional tennis player 
  • Maria Shriver, American writer, journalist, and activist, who was also the former First Lady of California
  • Maria von Trapp, Austrian born American singer whose story influenced the popular musical “Sound of Music”

Fictional Marias

Maria has also featured in several works of fiction and literary pieces. A few of the most popular include 

  • Maria, a lead female character in the musical “West Side Story”
  • Maria Jackson, a character in the British children’s program “The Sarah Jane Adventures”  
  • Maria Renard, a character in the video game and TV series “Castlevania” 
  • Maria Robotnik, a character in the video game series “Sonic the Hedgehog” 
  • Maria von Trapp, one of the lead characters in the musical “The Sound of Music”

More Baby Names

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

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. Popularity of the name Maria. Updated 2020