How popular is the baby name Mara in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Mara and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Mara.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Mara

Number of Babies Named Mara

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Mara

Arrr! Baby Names for Talk Like a Pirate Day

pirate baby

Avast! Did you know that today is Talk Like a Pirate Day?

“Arrr” itself doesn’t make a great name — even for pirates — but here’s the next best thing: over 120 names that feature the “ar”-sound.

Araminta
Arcadia
Arden
Aretha
Aria
Arianna
Arlene
Arlette
Artemis
Barbara
Barbie
Carla
Carlene
Carley
Carmel
Carmella
Carmen
Charlene
Charlotte
Charmaine
Darcy
Daria
Darla
Darlene
Gardenia
Harbor
Harlow
Harmony
Hildegarde
Karla
Katarina
Larisa
Mara
Marcella
Marcia
Margaret
Margot, Margaux
Maria
Mariah
Mariana
Marie
Marina
Mariska
Marissa
Marjorie
Marla
Marlena
Marlene
Marley
Marnie
Marta
Martha
Marva
Martina
Narcissa
Parthenia
Pilar
Rosario
Scarlett
Skylar
Starla
Arcadio
Archer
Archibald
Archie
Ari
Arlo
Arnold
Arsenio
Arthur
Balthazar
Barnaby
Barton
Bernard (…Bernarr?)
Carl
Carlisle
Carlton
Carson
Carter
Carver
Charles
Clark
Dario
Darius
Darwin
Edgar
Edward
Finbar
Garfield
Gerard
Gunnar
Hardy
Harley
Harper
Harvey
Howard
Karl
Lars
Larson
Lazarus
Leonard
Marcel
Marcellus
Mario
Marius
Marc, Mark
Marcus, Markus
Marlow
Marshall
Martin
Marvin
Nazario
Oscar
Parker
Richard
Stewart, Stuart
Ward
Warner
Warren
Warrick
Willard
Yardley

Which of the “ar”-names above do you like best? Did I miss any good ones?

(Image from Pixabay)

Additions, 9/20:


100+ Baby Names for 100 Years of the NPS

national park service 100th birthday (zion poster, 1938)The U.S. National Park Service has a birthday coming up!

When the NPS was created on August 25, 1916, there were only 35 national parks and monuments. (The world’s first, Yellowstone, had been established in 1872.)

Nowadays the agency oversees 411 units. These units are located in the 50 states and beyond, and include national monuments (82), national historic sites (78), national parks (59), national historical parks (50), national memorials (30), national battlefields (11), national seashores (10), national lakeshores (4), national scenic trails (3), and more.

Let’s celebrate the upcoming centenary with over 100 baby names that pay tribute to the national parks specifically:

  • Acadia for Acadia National Park.
  • Angel or Angela for Grand Canyon National Park’s Angel’s Window.
  • Arrow for the NPS emblem, the arrowhead.
  • Archer for Arches National Park.
  • Barbara for Channel Islands National Park’s Santa Barbara Island.
  • Bathsheba for Hot Springs National Park’s Bathhouse Row.
  • Bay for any of the parks featuring a bay, such as Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve, Biscayne National Park, etc.
  • Benda or Bendrick for Big Bend National Park.
  • Bona for Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve’s Mt. Bona.
  • Bristol for Great Basin National Park’s bristlecone pines.
  • Bryce or Brycen for Bryce Canyon National Park.
  • Cadden or Caddie for Acadia National Park’s Cadillac Mountain.
  • Cade for Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s Cades Cove.
  • Canyon for any of the parks featuring a canyon, such as Grand Canyon National Park, Canyonlands National Park, etc.
  • Capitola for Capitol Reef National Park or for Yosemite National Park’s El Capitan.
  • Carl or Carla for Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
  • Caven for Mammoth Cave National Park.
  • Cedar for Congaree National Park’s Cedar Creek.
  • Cinder for Lassen Volcanic National Park’s Cinder Cone.
  • Clark for Lake Clark National Park & Preserve.
  • Clifford or Clifton for Mesa Verde National Park’s Cliff Palace.
  • Cruz for Channel Islands National Park’s Santa Cruz Island.
  • Delica for Arches National Park’s Delicate Arch.
  • Denali for Denali National Park & Preserve.
  • Denison for Katmai National Park & Preserve’s Mt. Denison.
  • Domenica or Domenico for Yosemite National Park’s Half Dome.
  • Douglas for Katmai National Park & Preserve’s Mt. Douglas.
  • Elias for Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve.
  • Elliott for Biscayne National Park’s Elliott Key.
  • Ever or Everly for Everglades National Park.
  • Faith for Yellowstone National Park’s Old Faithful geyser.
  • Forest for Petrified Forest National Park.
  • Garland for Garland County, Arkansas, where Hot Springs National Park is located.
  • Gates for Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve.
  • Guadalupe for Guadalupe Mountains National Park.
  • Gunnison for Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.
    • The park was established in 1999, and Gunnison debuted on the baby name charts the very same year. Did one event cause the other?
  • Harding for Kenai Fjords National Park’s Harding Icefield.
  • Hassel for Virgin Islands National Park’s Hassel Island.
  • Jackson for Jackson Hole, where much of Grand Teton National Park is located.
  • Jarvis for Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve’s Mt. Jarvis.
  • Jefferson for Dry Tortugas National Park’s Fort Jefferson.
  • John for Virgin Islands National Park’s St. John Island.
  • Joshua for Joshua Tree National Park.
  • Kenai for Kenai Fjords National Park.
    • The derivation of Kenai is unknown, but it could come from either Dena’ina Athabascan (“big flat” or “two big flats and river cut-back” or “trees and brush in a swampy marsh”), Russian (“flat barren land”), or Iniut (“black bear”).
  • Kingston or Kingsley for Kings Canyon National Park.
  • Lake for any of the parks featuring lakes, such as Crater Lake National Park, Voyageurs National Park, Lake Clark National Park & Preserve, etc.
  • Lamar for Yellowstone National Park’s Lamar Buffalo Ranch.
  • Lata for the National Park of American Samoa’s Lata Mountain.
  • Lehman for Great Basin National Park’s Lehman Caves.
  • Lewis for Glacier National Park’s Lewis Range.
  • Livingston for Glacier National Park’s Livingston Range.
  • Manning for Saguaro National Park’s Manning Cabin.
  • Mara for Joshua Tree National Park’s Oasis of Mara.
    • In the Serrano language, Mara means “the place of little springs and much grass.”
  • Martin for Katmai National Park & Preserve’s Mt. Martin.
  • Maui, where Haleakalā National Park is located.
  • Mauna for Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park’s Mauna Loa.
  • Miguel for Channel Islands National Park’s San Miguel Island.
  • Norris for Yellowstone National Park’s Norris Geyser Basin.
  • North for North Cascades National Park.
  • Olympia for Olympic National Park.
  • Parker, Parkyr, Parks, Park, or Parke as a tribute to all national parks.
  • Pele as a symbol of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.
  • Prairie for any of the parks featuring a prairie, such as Badlands National Park, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, etc.
  • Pratt for Guadalupe Mountains National Park’s Pratt Cabin.
  • Rainier for Mount Rainier National Park.
  • Ranger as a tribute to all national parks and park rangers.
  • Reef for Capitol Reef National Park.
  • Rhodes for Biscayne National Park’s Old Rhodes Key.
  • Rocky for Rocky Mountain National Park.
  • Roosevelt for Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
  • Rosa for Channel Islands National Park’s Santa Rosa Island.
  • Royale or Royal for Isle Royale National Park.
  • Sandy for Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve.
  • Sanford for Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve’s Mt. Sanford.
  • Sequoia for Sequoia National Park.
  • Shenandoah for Shenandoah National Park.
  • Sherman for Sequoia National Park’s General Sherman Tree.
  • Sky or Skye for any of the parks featuring a night sky program, such as Big Bend National Park, Great Basin National Park, etc.
  • Talus for Pinnacles National Park’s talus caves.
  • Theodore for Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
  • Valley for any of the parks featuring a valley, such as Cuyahoga Valley, Death Valley, Kobuk Valley, etc.
  • Verda or Verdell for Mesa Verde National Park.
  • Virginia for Virgin Islands National Park.
  • Windy for Wind Cave National Park.
  • Wolfe for Arches National Park’s Wolfe Ranch.
  • Woodrow or Wilson for Woodrow Wilson, who signed the act that created the NPS.
  • Woodson or Woody for Redwood National and State Parks.
  • Yosemite for Yosemite National Park.
  • Zion for Zion National Park.

For all you national park lovers out there: What other park-inspired names can you come up with?

Sources: List of national parks of the United States – Wikipedia, History (U.S. National Park Service), NPS Site Designations (pdf), Kenai Fjords National Park Profile 2015 (pdf)

Image: Adapted from Zion National Park, Ranger Naturalist Service – LOC

Names Needed for Twin Baby Girls

A reader named Grace would like some help naming her twin girls, due in a couple of months. She and her husband John already have three boys, Jackson, Samuel and Lucas.

So far, their favorite girl names are Juliet, Isla, Susannah and Norah. But they’re also considering a family name:

We would love to honor my mother, Denise Marie, but we despise both names. I would love some ideas on how to use that without actually using those names.

For the middle spots, they’re aiming for virtue names. They already have Honor picked out, and “[i]f there is another virtue name you would suggest so they both had one that would be great!”

Their last name is similar to Cawston.


On the current favorites…
I like all of the current favorites. The pairing I like best, though, is Juliet and Susannah. I just think they sound good together. I also like how they can both be shortened, just like the boys’ names — Jack, Sam, Luke, Jules & Sue (or Julie & Susie).

On incorporating Denise Marie…
One way to incorporate Denise Marie would be to find a name that features the sounds of both Denise and Marie (especially those D- and M-sounds). Names with these sounds include Madeline, Demetria, Dominique/Domenica, Damaris, Adamina, Amadea and Idamae.

Another approach would be to use initials — either the initials “D. M.” for one twin or a D-name for twin #1 and an M-name for twin #2. Some possibilities (beyond the names above) include Dahlia, Daisy, Damiana, Daphne, Dara, Delphine, Diana, Dina, Dora, Dorothy and Drusilla for D-names and Mara, Marian, Marlene, Martina, Mina, Mirabelle, Miranda, Miriam, Molly, Monica and Mona for M-names.

On virtuous middles…
My first thought was Mercy, because it sounds a lot like Marie. Other virtue names that might make nice middles are Amity, Charity, Clementine/Clemency, Hope, Joy, Patience, Peace/Pax, Temperance and Verity.


Now it’s your turn! Which of Juliet, Isla, Susannah and Norah do you like best for twins? What names can you come up with to honor Denise Marie? Which virtue names do you like best for middle names?

Baby Name Needed for Sister of Diogo and Cruz

A reader named Debra would like some help naming baby número três:

We are just not finding THE name. I’m American, husband is Portuguese and we live in the states. We have two boys; Diogo and Cruz. I am due any day with #3 a GIRL. We definitely want a Portuguese name.

Our criteria…the name needs to be relatively easy for Americans to pronounce. Don’t want a name in the top 100 in the states. I prefer names that aren’t automatically shortened to nn – Debra to Debbie, Kimberly to Kim. I don’t usually care for names that end with the “e” sound, ex. Zoe. The name should be beautiful and sophisticated, more than cute.

I really like Sofia and Isabel, but they are just too popular in the U.S. right now. Other names we like are Beatriz (too hard to properly pronounce in US?), and Mara.

Please help us. I’d love to have a name before she is born! I’m 38 weeks today!

I think Mara would be a great choice, based on the criteria. Here are some other names that might also work:

Ana
Aurora
Carla
Clara
Flávia
Gloria
Lídia
Luísa
Magda
Marina
Marta
Monica
Paula
Rosa
Sílvia (good alternative to Sofia?)
Teresa

Do you like any of the above for the baby sister of Diogo and Cruz? What other (preferably Portuguese) names would you suggest to Debra?

Baby Name Needed – Girl Name for Twin Sister

A reader named Ayelet is expecting twins. She and her husband won’t be finding out the babies’ genders ahead of time, so they’d like to be prepared with two boy names and two girl names.

So far they’ve got August and Dominic for the boy names and Celia for one of the girl names. Once they select a second girl name they’ll be all set.

They’d like something that isn’t common (i.e. outside of the top 500). They’re considering Aliyah, Angelie, Aurelia, Eva, Isla, Juliet and Valentina, but Aliena is the current favorite:

The name we love is Aliena. She is a character in Ken Follett’s novel “The Pillars of the Earth,” which is set in twelfth-century England. But we can’t get past the “alien” in the name. I have an Alienor in my family tree, so I thought about going the Eleanor route, but I don’t like that spelling; I think I’m in love with that “Ali” sequence.

The baby’s surname will start and end with the letter n, like Nelson.

First, about Aliena. It’s a pretty name, but I’d also be worried about that “alien” association. I don’t know if I’d risk it as a first name, but it might work well as a middle.

The only alternative I can come up with is Eliana, which is an (unrelated) anagram of Aliena. But it’s ranked 193rd and climbing, so it might be a bit too popular.

Here are some other possibilities. None of these are currently in the top 500, and the ones with asterisks have a-l-i sequences.

Adina
Antonia
Amity
Adele/Adeline
Anneliese
Beatrice
Catalina*
Callista
Coralie*
Corinna
Davina
Estella
Elsa
Eloise
Esme
Flavia
Ginevra
Gwendolyn
Helena
Irina
Isadora
Judith/Judy
Leona
Lavinia
Marina
Martina
Mara
Olive
Oriana
Odette
Paulina
Regina
Rosalie*
Rosaline*
Theresa
Vera
Viola
Verity
Venetia
Zinnia

Finally, there’s the option of simply feminizing one of the boy names. August could become Augusta or Augustina; Dominic could become Dominique or Dominica.

Which of the above girl names do you like best with August, Dominic and/or Celia? What other girl names would you suggest to Ayelet?

Baby Name Needed – Name for Luke and Zeke’s Sibling

A reader named Bethany has two boys, Luke and Zeke (full name Ezekiel, but he always goes by Zeke). She’s expecting a baby in August, and she’d like some help coming up with boy and girl names. Here are the names she’s currently considering:

Boy names: Hudson, Zane, Abe, Jed

  • “Our favorite right now is Hudson for a boy, mostly because my husband’s name is Richard (“son of Richard”) and also because of the great old Christian man, Hudson Taylor. Our only concern is: Will this soon become a girls name?”
  • “We have also toyed around with Zane, but fear “inZane” jokes–and also, is it too similar to Zeke? Luke, Zeke, and Zane?”
  • “Is Abe just too much? Luke, Zeke, and Abe? Does it roll off the tongue weird?”
  • “And Jed–too hill-billy? Luke, Zeke, and Jed?”
  • A boy name doesn’t need to end with a k-sound, “yet we don’t want the third boy (if it’s a boy) to feel like the weirdo if he has too different of a name.”
  • They want “a manly third name if it’s a boy.” Nothing that could be mistaken for a girl’s name.

Girl Names: Emmie, Ellie

  • “For girls, we love Emmie and Ellie, but how common are those? Emma and Emily are list toppers, but how many Emmies are there?”

Bethany also mentions: “We are Christians, and although we don’t care if the name is straight from the Bible, it would be nice if it did have a good strong meaning.”

Here are some thoughts I had about the current favorites:

Hudson – I think Hudson is a great choice. It’s a good name, it’s masculine (I don’t think it’ll become a girl name anytime soon), the definition is perfect, and the association with Hudson Taylor is both meaningful and inspiring. It works on many levels.

Zane – My feeling is that it’s too close to Zeke.

Abe – Would it be nickname for Abraham? If so, I like this one. I don’t think “Luke, Zeke, and Abe” sounds weird at all.

Jed – It does sound slightly hillbilly to me, but not as full-on hillbilly as names like Jethro and Cletus.

Emmie – It’s not common as a given name–it hasn’t ranked in decades–but it’s used as a nickname for both Emily and Emma. So it hasn’t dropped off the radar entirely.

Ellie – I like Ellie, but I think it could be a lot more meaningful if it were a nickname for Elizabeth (more on this below).

Here are some other ideas, plus potential nicknames and associations:

Boy names Girl names
Asher
Boaz (Bo)
Eric (Eric Liddell)
Gideon
Isaac (Ike)
Jacob (Jake)
Jude
Lazarus
Malachi
Matthias
Micah (Mike)
Michael (Mike)
Moses (Mo)
Seth
Samson (Sam)
Simeon
Abigail (Abbie)
Amy (Amy Carmichael)
Elizabeth (Ellie, Liz, Betty, etc.)
Cornelia (Corrie; Corrie ten Boom)
Charlotte (Lottie; Lottie Moon)
Chloe
Grace/Gracie
Ida (Ida Scudder)
Judith (Judy)
Lillian (Lillie; Lillian Trasher)
Mara
Phoebe
Rebecca (Becky)
Sarah (Sadie)
Sela
Tabitha (Tabby)

I think my favorite is Elizabeth. It’s biblical, it has an element in common with Bethany (reminding me of the Hudson/Richard connection), and it allows for not only the nickname Ellie but a number of other nicknames as well. (Liz might sound cute with Luke and Zeke; Betty could be used in tribute to Betty Greene.)

Of all the names above, which do you like best with Luke and Zeke? What other boy and girl names would you recommend to Bethany?

UPDATE – The baby is here! To learn the gender and the name, scroll down to the last comment.

Baby Name Needed – Name for Hayden’s Little Brother or Sister

A reader named Angela is expecting her second baby (gender unknown). She sent me a lot of helpful information, so I’ve broken it down into main points:

  • The baby’s middle name will be Patrick (if a boy) or Josephine (if a girl).
  • The baby’s surname will start with P.
  • She and her husband like the name Abigail, but it may soon be taken by friends.
  • They also like the name Caleb, but the initials CPP sound like “see pee pee.” They want to avoid names and initials that invite teasing.
  • Ideally, the first name will be something that can be shortened to a nickname.
  • Angela likes “literature or movie referenced names.”
  • Angela’s husband likes “uncomplicated English or Christian names (he’s Adam…his brothers are Benjamin and Noah).”

Their first son is named Hayden Adam.

Here are the names I came up with, along with a few literature/film references. Ladies first:

Audrey (Hepburn)
Bethany
Charlotte (Gilman; Bronte)
Chloe
Denise
Dorothy (Gale)
Elizabeth (Bennet)
Jillian
Judith
Kaitlyn
Katherine
Leah
Lillian
Louisa (Alcott)
Lucy (Montgomery)
Lydia
Mara
Marianne
Mary
Maya (Angelou)
Michelle
Miriam
Molly
Naomi
Natalie
Rachel
Rebecca
Samantha
Sarah
Shirley (Anne; Temple)

And now the gents:

Beckett (Samuel)
Bennet (Elizabeth)
Daniel (Defoe)
David (Salinger)
Edward (Forster)
Eliot (T.S.; George)
Emmett
Everett
Gabriel (Márquez)
Jacob
Jonathan
James (Henry; Joyce)
Jerome (Salinger)
Joseph (Conrad)
Leo (Tolstoy)
Lucas
Martin
Matthew
Maxwell
Micah
Michael
Miller (Arthur)
Nathan
Raymond (Carver)
Samuel
Sawyer (Tom)
Simon
Sinclair (Upton; Lewis)
William (Faulkner; Golding)
Zachary

Do you like any of the above? What other names would you suggest to Angela?