Be on the Lookout for Merida in 2012

meridaHere’s one to put on your calendars.

In June of 2012 — exactly a year from now — Pixar is planning to release its 13th feature film, Brave. The movie is a fairy tale set in Scotland. The protagonist, a red-haired girl named Merida, is both a princess and an archer.

As far as I know, Merida is not a traditional Scottish name. Mairead, Murron, Morag…these are Scottish. I have no idea how Pixar came up with Merida, though. (Maybe they were vacationing in Mexico at the time?)

Anyway, the film looks cute. I have no doubt it will do well at the box office. And what happens then? First, a surge in the number of kids who want to take archery lessons. Second, and more importantly, bazillions of baby girls named Merida.

But that’s a long way off. Until then, let’s look at some of the U.S. data on this very rare name:

  • Best year? 1949, when 13 baby girls were named Merida.
  • Second-best year? 1957, when 12 baby girls were named Merida.
  • Most recent appearance on the SSA’s baby name list? 2002, with 5 baby girls named Merida.

Do you like the name Merida? Do you think it’s the sort of name that could really take off in the U.S.?


31 thoughts on “Be on the Lookout for Merida in 2012

  1. As someone who would love to use Meridian (and Magellan) as a name, I wish I could like Merida more.

  2. When the trailer hit the internet, I looked up the origin of Spanish city’s name. Mérida is the feminine of the Latin ?meritus, meaning (“veteran”). So it seems very fitting for a courageous fighter and skilled archer.

  3. And here I liked the idea that my name was unique.

    Merida comes from the phrase “Emerita Augusta”, referring to Roman soldiers that had done great deeds for their country. The name has come to assume the meaning “one who has achieved a high place of honor”. It’s been used as a name for men and women, although these days it’s generally a female name.

  4. It’s similar to the Gaelic name Meridel, which means “mirthful, joyous” (from what I’ve seen in the spectacular trailers this appears to fit the character). The English equivalent of Meridel is Meredith, which when pronounced in the Scottish dialect does sound a bit like ‘Merida’; perhaps that’s how they came up with it. Over all I think it’s beautiful name for a fantasy character but I don’t see it hit the ‘Top 50 Girls Names’ anytime soon.

  5. Merida has been a name passed through my family for several generations. My grandma is named Merida, and so is my aunt. My middle name is Merida. However, we have always pronounced it Mar-ee-duh. I like the name, but people always think it is Maria. I think that it will go up in popularity and recognition after the movie comes out.

  6. I’ve lived for 62 years with my name Merida (Mah-ree-da) which very few people have been able to pronounce so they call me anything close to it. If I had a preference I would rather my mother had named me something not so exotic as to be a topic of conversation every time I met someone…there’s so much more to talk about. But to think that now it may finally be a popular name is appealing, however I wouldn’t want to have it be my name again. Life would be easier if I didn’t have to begin a conversation by correcting people in the pronunciation.

  7. let me tell you that my last name is Mérida! (i’m from south america so we spell it with tittle) I didn’t know it could be a name too. I thought it was because of the spanish and mexican cities but all the explanations i have just read about roman and latin dialectics sound great haha

  8. At first I did not like my name, but after my mother passed away I come too appreciate my name, of corse, I like the way it sounds in spanish; much prettyer sound. My mother tried to find us names that were all different, My sisters name is ZUCHEL. I also agree with the other Merida, that our name we share is a topic of conversation; It would be cool to have a page for all Meridas to compare personalitys.

  9. My name is merida. I am 30 years old for a long time I hated the name because no one could ever get it right, now I love it because it is different. I do not know anyone else with the name. I think marita may be a lazy way to say merida by the way.
    I was excited to see that my name would be in a movie,but disappointed to know how many people would now be naming their children merida because they saw the movie.

  10. My name is Mérida. I am so excited to have found others with the same name. It’s funny because I worked at Disneyland for almost 10 years and my name will be used in a movie. I wish I can say I was the reason for it.haha They needed an original name…how cool that Merida is getting to be known. and yes like many other comments it has been a hard name to pronounce for many of my friends. Glad I’m not alone :0)

  11. My mother’s name was Merida. She was born in 1919 and always loved the fact that her name was not so common. I miss her very much, but when I heard her name in the Pixar movie trailers I cried. I thought…how cool is that. My mother would have loved to know that her name is going to be immortalized in a movie and this Merida is just as spunky and beautiful as my Merida was.

  12. @Arlene – I’m so sorry about your mom. Thank you for telling us about her. I’m glad the fact that her name will be used for the character makes you happy. :)

  13. I recently visited Disneyland with my husband, and was so excited to see posters for The Brave around the park. I had not heard of the film prior to our visit in May. I thought that finally the Celtic tale of Margaret the Brave would make my name popular again. I was disappointed that Disney productions did not use the name from what I think is the original tale for The Brave. The name meanings of mirth, joyous, and honor from previous postings make sense to use in this story. Maybe in another movie my name will be associated with a Disney princess.

  14. @Margaret — I can see why you’d guess she was named Margaret, given the setting and the wild red hair. (Check out the illustrations in Brave Margaret the book.) I wonder if Pixar modeled Merida after Margaret…?

  15. I’m of mostly European (English, Scotch, Welsh, Dutch) ancestry with no Spanish influence (to my knowledge), and Merida has been a family name among the males on my father’s side for 5 generations. It’s my middle name, as well as my father’s and grandfather’s, and it was the first name of my great-grandfather and great great-grandfather. We pronounce it Meh-ruh-duh, as it is in the movie. I’ve made several unsuccessful attempts to trace it back to its origin in my family. I’ve got mixed feelings about it being the name of a lead character in a movie; if I have a daughter in the near future I’d considered naming her Merida. On one hand the movie character would help make the name more recognizable (while hopefully not too popular), but on the other I don’t want people’s immediate reaction her entire life to be “oh, you’re named after the little girl in that movie.”

  16. I love it and think it will become very popular. My sister’s middle name is Marida. It’s my mom’s two mothers – her real mom who died when she was 2 years old and her aunt who raised her. Their names were Mary and Ida. Marida. I think it’s beautiful. As is Merida.

  17. Unfortunately, this name will skyrocket in the next year or so. How many teenage girls do you know named Jasmine? Pah-leez, I am a birth certificate registrar and people are actually naming their daughters “Adele” right now. Merida is a beautiful name, I actually looked it up after seeing the movie this afternoon. This is how I ended up on this site. I will not be naming any children Merida, because it will be “killed” like a #1 top 40 song in the next couple years in the birth certificate office. Just like Grace, Addison, Aiden, Jaden, Caden, Bella, Sophia, etc….Coming from someone with a top 5 baby name of the late 1970’s please come up with something more original…I hate having the same name as every fifth woman in her thirties.

  18. Looks like Brave had a strong opening weekend.

    Also, just found out that Merida has three younger brothers — red-headed triplets named Harris, Hubert, and Hamish.

  19. I can certainly identify with the Meridas’, I never met a Nerida until I was in my twenties. I also disliked my name when I was young, but now apprieciate that I have a name that is not well known. I don’t mind that people mispronounce my name, it’s a great conversation starter, and I get to congratulate people when they get it right. :)
    I was so thrilled to see the movie Brave had the charater Princess Merida, so close to my name, then I noticed her hair was a mop of unruly curls, just like me (mine are dark brown though, not red). So I made her picture my profile picture on Facebook, then I saw the movie and her personality when she was a young girl was like me as a young girl, but that’s where the similarities end.
    I hope the name does lift in popularity, but not so much that it becomes common.

  20. Merida has been a name for men in my mom’s family of Scottish background for years but never for a woman; pronounced “mair [rhymes with hair and accented] uh duh”; nickname “meridee” with same accent and pronounciation of first two syllables.

  21. I’m 52 years old and always disliked my name. It was just too hard to pronounce for many. Teachers always botched it up and I was too shy to correct them. Whenever anyone pronounced it the way my father did, I was overjoyed. As I grew, I thought of changing my name to my nickname. I had even decided that my nickname would ultimately go on my tombstone. My entire family call me May. My mother chose that as my nickname and it stuck. It was much easier to pronounce and easier to tell most people that was my name. In my professional life, I’d used Merida, but no where else. Six years ago my aging father developed Alzheimer’s. As his mind deteriorated and he couldn’t remember much, he would ask for his little girl, Merida. I would be standing in front of him and he would tell me stories about her and how much he loved her. He would often cry and tell me he’s lost her and never saw her again. That was devastating to me, because there I was, Merida, standing in front of him. My father passed away last December. I decided to honor his choice in my name and wear it proudly. I was surprized to hear that Disney’s newest princess is Merida whose young conflicts and spirit were not unlike mine. Funny how life is. As a child I was questioned and teased about my name. Now my granddaughter has a Disney Princess doll named Merida.

  22. Wow I never knew so many people had my name
    I am 34 yrs old and named after my mother and although people
    Always get my name wrong I truely love my name
    And would never change it for nothing.

  23. My name is Merida and it has been for 53 years. When I found out that the new Disney Princes name was Merida, I felt as special as I have felt ever since I was a young girl because no one had my name. I also have been working for WDW for 15 years, so now everybody tells me “Oh your name is like the Brave Princes, and I say no, her name is like mine, I was here before (haha). Well thank you Douglas for your explanation on the origina of my name. I does make sense. I inherited my name from my Grandma, she has passed but I’m honored to carry her name… I hope that not a lot of girls end up with this name. I’m loosing exclusivity. Hahaha. :-)

  24. So many other women named Merida! It’s awesome! If it makes any of your ladies feel better, I inherited my name…FROM MY GRANDFATHER. Poor guy went by his middle name.

    I never thought I’d have a Disney Princess with my name…then again, I am suspicious of my friends at Pixar. My hair is bright red and unruly…I most definitely not an archer though!!!

  25. This is so weird for me to see so many people with “my” name! I always thought it was unique, and now finding it to be pretty common, but no so much as a last name but a first one. There are 4 cities in the world named Merida. That used to be the only time I ever heard my name. I love my name and it is pretty cool to hear e everyone’s. stories. It appears to be an older name (I am 61 years old) . Hopefully not everyone will like this name for their children, then I will have to change my name to Smith, for god sake! Love all you Merida’s ! We should all arrange a party ? I live in Bloomington, In ( go Hoosiers ! ). Oh yeah and Colts too.

  26. I completely expected there to be a huge rise is the name Merida when the movie Brave came out. I kept it on my list of baby names since 2012. It’s been 5 years and it never took off so my baby girl was born in February and we wanted to give her something unique- Merida Margaret. I hope she loves it!

  27. I expected something bigger (and more sustained) as well. Usage shot up from 19 baby girls to 109 baby girls from 2012 to 2013, but since then the numbers have been dropping slowly. Congrats on your baby girl! Merida Margaret is an adorable combo. :)

  28. I named my oldest Merida Esther Mae in 2013. I have yet to meet another in New Zealand, which surprises me as the movie is popular . She fits the name beautifully. My curly haired drama queen.

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