Maya Name Meaning

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The name Maya has been linked to several origins and as a result, has several meanings. It’s most commonly linked to Indian origins, where it means “dream” or “illusion” in Sanskrit, which is the sacred language of Hinduism. It is also considered an alternative name for Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, love, beauty, and joy. 

In Greek, Maya means “good mother,” the Greek variation of the name is also sometimes spelled Maia. In Greek mythology, Maya was the mother of the Greek god Hermes, son of Zeus. She was also the eldest of the Pleiades, who were the seven daughters of the titan Atlas. The Romans also lay claim to the origin of the name Maya. They believe that Maya was the earth’s mother and goddess of spring. She was named after the month of May. 

In Hebrew, Maya is thought to mean “water,” derived from the word “Mayim” of the same meaning. It could also mean “from God.” The name Maya is also sometimes given in honor of the Maya people of southern Mexico and some parts of Central America.

In most cultures, Maya is used by parents to name their female children but it’s a beautiful name linked to a wealth of culture and history that can be used for any gender. Maya is also a common surname in some cultures.

  • Origin: Maya has been linked to several origins. The most common origins are Indian, Greek, Spanish, and Hebrew.
  • Gender: Maya has been used primarily as a female name in most cultures.
  • Pronunciation: My-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 Maya? 

The name Maya hasn’t always been popular in the United States. The name experienced a temporary surge in popularity in the early 1980s before dipping again. It started to experience another surge in popularity in the 1990s and has remained rather popular since then.

According to 2020 data from the Social Security Administration, Maya is currently the 61st most popular name for girls in the United States. In the last decade, it has remained consistently in the top 100 most popular names for girls. The peak of its popularity was in 2006 when over 5,000 babies were given the name.

The rise of the popularity of the name Maya can be linked to the fame of renowned African-American poet and author Maya Angelou. Interestingly, Maya Angelou wasn’t born with the name Maya. Her birth name was Marguerite Johnson. Maya was formed as a result of her brother’s inability to pronounce her name. Instead, he called her "mya sister."

Name Variations 

Maya has several name variations you might want to consider when thinking of the name for your baby. Some of them include: 

  • Maia (Greek)
  • Maiya (Japanese)
  • Maj (Swedish, Danish)
  • Maja (Danish, Croatian, German, Norweigan)
  • Meya (Scandinavian) 
  • Miah (Spanish) 
  • Miya (Japanese)

Similar Names

If you love the sound of the name Maya and are looking for other similar-sounding names, here’s a list to consider:

  • Kaya
  • Mackenzie
  • Madison
  • Maha
  • Manon
  • Maria
  • May
  • Mia
  • Mila 
  • Mimi
  • Minnie
  • Miya 
  • Moana 
  • Muna 
  • Myra 

Famous People Named Maya    

When you hear the name Maya, you likely think of Maya Angelou who was one of the greatest poets and writers of our time. Here’s a list of some other inspiring people who your baby will share a name with:

  • Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam, British rapper and singer 
  • Maya Berovic, Bosnian pop star 
  • Maya Hawke, American actress, and model 
  • Maya Lin, American designer, sculptor, and architect 
  • Maya Rudolph, American actress and a member of the "Saturday Night Live" cast 
  • Maya Soetoro-Ng, half-sister of former President Barack Obama 
  • Maya Wiley, American lawyer and civil rights activist 

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. Maya surname.

  2. Social Security Administration. Popularity of name.

By Toketemu Ohwovoriole
Toketemu has been multimedia storyteller for the last four years. Her expertise focuses primarily on mental wellness and women’s health topics.