If you were having a son, and you had to name him either Medgar or Marius, which would it be?
I thought Marius at first, but because it sounds like both “Mary” and “marry us”, I had to choose Medgar, knowing nothing about the name. I did notice “Edgar” in it, which — as I recall — was considered stylish in the early 19th C.: checked SSA records and see that Edgar was a top 100 name through 1925, peaking at 51 in 1881. But where did Medgar come from and is it related to Edgar? Behindthename.com: “Medgar not found. I recalled the name Medgar Evans, the African American civil rights activist. A quick search for “baby name Medgar” produced limited results: mostlly mentions of Medgar Evans; speculation, like mine, that Medgar is related to Edgar; and the unsubstantiated assertion that the name is German. I think Medgar would be an acceptable name for the son of American parents wanting a ‘different’ name. Medgar is so unused that it didn’t even make SSA’s Beyond the Top 1000 list for 2011.
Marius is totally my style. One of my children’s classmates has a brother Marius (the family is French), and it’s cute on him. Our last name is too close to Evans to make Medgar usable for us.
C in DC: How does the French family pronounce Marius? I heard it as Mary-us in Les Miz, but if it were pronounced Mar (rhymes with bar) – ee — us, I’d choose it over Medgar too. Marius has a clear history; Medgar seems to have little to none.
Behind the name.com:
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USAGE: Ancient Roman, German, Dutch, Norwegian, Danish, French, Romanian
PRONOUNCED: MER-ee-?s (English), MAR-ee-?s (English), MAH-ree-uws (German) [key]
Meaning & History
Roman family name which was derived either from MARS, the name of the Roman god of War, or else from the Latin root mas, maris meaning “male”. Gaius Marius was a famous Roman consul of the 2nd century BC. Since the start of the Christian era, it has occasionally been used as a masculine form of MARIA.
Patricia, here’s more on how Medgar got his name:
Medgar was named for his great-grandfather Medgar Wright, who was half Indian and reputed to be an incorrigible slave. The derivation of the name Medgar is unknown, though it was possibly a variation of Edgar.
So it was a family name, but no one knows how the original bearer came to be named “Medgar.”
Thanks for making me look this up — I’m going to go add it to the original post! :)
Source: Morris, Willie. The Ghosts of Medgar Evers: A Tale of Race, Murder, Mississippi, and Hollywood. New York: Random House, 1998.
Medgar is indissolubly linked to Medgar Evans… For that reason I wouldn’t choose it unless there was a reason to bring him to mind.
Marius is much more general and nice-sounding to boot. I love the name (knew someone who was called that, died youngish). In Dutch it’s pronounced MAA-ree-uhs.
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