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

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?

Baby Name Needed – Girl Name that Goes with Abel

A reader named Bonny writes:

We are already decided on a boys’ name, but just can’t come up with a good girl’s name. Our firstborn is Abel Zachary. We want a girls’ name that doesn’t clash with Abel. So far we like these girls’ names: Evangelina, Arabella, Amethyst, Isabelle, Olivia, River, Violet. We want something uncommon, but not overly weird. We are stumped and just can’t decide on a girl’s name we really love that fits well with Abel.

I like most of the names on Bonny’s shortlist, but I don’t think many of them fit well with Abel.

To me, Abel is simple, unassuming, obviously biblical, and slightly rural/old-fashioned.

Amethyst and River strike me as being exotic and modern (though I’m sure Amethyst was used occasionally during the Victorian era). Both are gender-neutral names, while Abel is definitively masculine. And I’m slightly concerned that an unusual noun-name could make people think of Abel as able the adjective…you never know.

I like Evangelina, Isabelle, Arabelle and Olivia a little more with Abel, but to me they still sound too formal, too cosmopolitan. I’m not fond of the way Isabelle and Arabelle nearly rhyme with Abel. Finally, Olivia and Isabelle can no longer be described as “uncommon” since becoming trendy during the 1990s.

I do think Violet and Abel make a nice pair, though. Other names that I think fit well with Abel include:

Adina
Cara
Clara
Daria
Dinah
Edna
Eliza
Esther
Helah (the “e” is long)
Helen
Hester
Irene/Irena
Judith
Leona
Mara
Martha
Miriam
Pauline
Ruth
Selah (another long “e”)
Tabitha
Tamar/Tamara
Tirzah
Zillah

Which of the names above do you like best with Abel? What other names would you suggest to Bonny?

Update – The baby is here! Scroll down to see what name Bonny chose…

Baby Name Needed – First Name to Fit with Phelan

A reader named Kelley is looking for a female name to go with the surname Phelan (FEE-lan). So far, she likes Eleanor, and her boyfriend likes Megan.

This is a very open-ended question, but here’s my take:

I find it interesting that Kelley’s boyfriend likes Megan, because I actually have the opposite view. I think a first name that has both the same rhythm and the same n-ending as Phelan would sound a bit odd, so I’d cross Megan and similar names (e.g. Erin, Helen, Lauren, Susan, Jordan) off my list.

I do like Eleanor with Phelan, on the other hand. They share some consonant and vowel sounds, but each has a distinct rhythm, so (to me) they are similar without being “matchy.” A nice balance, I think.

Other names I might throw out there? Let’s see…

Alicia
Amelia
Brianna
Bridget
Celeste
Cynthia
Daniela
Elisa
Julianna
Lucy
Lydia
Margaret
Mara
Maya
Muriel
Natalie
Natasha
Nicole
Nora
Rowena
Theresa
Valerie

Sticking with the “Eleanor” pattern, most of the above are have sounds in common with Phelan, but rhythms all their own.

What other names would you suggest to Kelley?

Update – The baby has arrived! Scroll down to the last comment to see what names they chose…

Baby Name Needed – Name for Kai’s Little Sister

A reader named Anna would like a few baby name suggestions:

I’m expecting my second child, a girl, in April, and she’ll be half-English and half-Japanese. We already have a son named Kai, and we are trying to find a name that, like Kai’s, sounds good in both languages.

So far, they’ve come up with Sara, Ema, Naomi and Maya.

My first thought was to look for Japanese names that resemble familiar English names. Here’s what I found:

  • Ami, which looks like a variant of Amy.
  • Emi, which looks like a nickname for Emily or Emma.
  • Erika, which happens to match Erika.
  • Hana, which looks like a streamlined version of Hannah.
  • Kimi, which looks like it’s based on Kim.
  • Mari, Mariko, Marika and similar names containing Mari-, which is close to Mary.
  • Marina, which starts with Mari- and also happens to match Marina.
  • Megumi, which could be shortened to Meg.
  • Miki, which looks like a feminized version of Mickey.
  • Noa, which looks like the male name Noah…though there is a female in the Bible with the H-less version.
  • Suzu, Suzume, Suzuna, and other Su- names that could be shortened to Sue or Susie.

English names that are stylistically similar to Japanese names might also work well. Names like Mara, Nora, Dara, Dora, Tara, Tori and Una fit the pattern, for instance.

What other names can you come up with for Anna?