How popular is the baby name Miriam in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Miriam and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Miriam.
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According to data released in December of 2016 by Statistics Austria, the most popular baby names in the country in 2015 were Anna (and variants) and Lukas (and variants).
Here are Austria’s top 10 girl name-groups and top 10 boy name-groups of 2015:
1. Anna (21 variants, including Ann, Hannah, Yahna)
2. Sophie (12 variants, including Sophia)
3. Maria (36 variants, including Merry, Moira, Miriam)
4. Emilia (14 variants)
5. Elena (40 variants, including Elaine, Helen, Ilijana)
6. Emma (1 variant)
7. Lena (8 variants)
8. Sarah (9 variants)
9. Mia (2 variants)
10. Laura (1 variant)
1. Lukas (11 variants, including Luc)
2. David (12 variants)
3. Jakob (20 variants, including Giacomo, Jaime, Tiago)
4. Elias (31 variants, including Ilian)
5. Maximilian (9 variants)
6. Alexander (32 variants, including Alejandro, Alistair, Iskender)
7. Jonas (12 variants)
8. Paul (7 variants, including Pablo)
9. Tobias (3 variants)
10. Leon (7 variants, including Levon)
The #1 name-groups were the same in 2014. There are no new entries on either top 10 list.
Last year’s top Hebrew names were Noa and Noam, according to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. (Later this year, the CBS will release all 3 sets of baby name rankings: Jewish, Muslim and Christian).
On January 28, 1996, a Muslim baby was born in Jordan.
The controversial baby name he was given? Yitzhak Rabin.
His parents chose the name “in honor of the historic Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty signed in 1994 by [Israel’s Prime Minister Yitzhak] Rabin and Jordan’s King Hussein.”
The name was initially rejected by Jordan’s state registrar on the grounds that Jewish names were illegal. But Yitzhak’s parents, Rajai and Miriam, fought to keep the name and won.
The couple was relentlessly harassed about Yitzhak’s name — by strangers, neighbors, even relatives. Rajai lost his job. Miriam and the baby “were forced to move from place to place like fugitives, even spending nights in bus depots and a safehouse with an uncle in Amman.”
No longer safe in Jordan, the family relocated to Israel in 1998 with the help of Leah Rabin (Yitzhak’s widow).
They had a hard time adjusting, but “the most tragic situation befell Miriam’s brother back in Jordan, who, according to Miriam, was murdered by a group of thugs as revenge for his nephew’s name.”
Miriam took Yitzhak to Jordan with the intention of attending her brother’s funeral, but, in her telling, a melee ensued at the border crossing, where a small group of protesters awaited them. She put Yitzhak, still a toddler, back on the bus to Israel, bruised and bleeding. It was the last time he would set foot on the soil of his native country.
Ever since, the family has lived in exile. The Israeli government has promised to make the family permanent residents, but that hasn’t happened yet, so there’s a chance they could one day be sent back to Jordan.
Yitzhak, now 18, considers himself an Israeli. He speaks only Hebrew, plans to convert to Judaism, and hopes to enlist in the Israeli army one day.
Despite everything, Miriam strongly defends her son’s name:
“Why should I have regrets?” Miriam fired back without hesitation. “Yitzhak [Isaac] was a prophet for both Jews and Muslims. And Rabin? [Most] Jordanians want peace. So why should I regret it?”
Try to imagine being in Miriam’s shoes back in the late 1990s. Would you have changed your young son’s name, to protect your family? Or would you have kept the name, despite the dangers?
“Jordanian allowed to name son after Yitzhak Rabin.” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 25 Mar. 1996: 5A.
“Rabin lives – in Jordan.” Jerusalem Post 18 Feb. 1996.
The Jewish names above were listed in my source article, but the Muslim and Christian names below (beyond the #1 names) I had to translate from Hebrew using various online tools/dictionaries, so they might not be perfect.
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Maureen O’Connor, former San Diego mayor (1986-1992), was charged with money laundering in federal court earlier this month.
I don’t know much about the situation, but I was intrigued to learn that Maureen had 12 siblings, including a twin sister with a very similar name — Mavourneen.
(The other siblings are Patrick, Michael, Dennis, Sharon, Dianne, Colleen, Sheila, Timothy, Karen, Thomas and Shawn.)
The names Maureen and Mavourneen [pronounced muh-VOOR-neen] are both Irish, but they have different etymologies:
Maureen is an anglicized form of Máirín, which is a pet form of Máire, which — like the English name Mary — is based on the French name Marie, which comes from the Latin name Maria. In Ancient Rome, Maria was originally a feminine form of Marius, but it was later popularized as a version of the Hebrew name Miriam. The meaning of Miriam is unknown, though hypothesized definitions abound: “beloved,” “rebellious,” “strong sea,” “bitter sea,” “drop of the sea,” etc.
Mavourneen is an anglicized form of the Irish phrase mo mhúirnín, meaning “my darling.” It began as a term of endearment, but morphed into a given name probably when the song “Kathleen Mavourneen” (1837) became popular in the mid-1800s. (A number of the 19th-century Mavourneens I’ve tracked down were named “Kathleen Mavourneen.” Many of the 20th century Mavourneens too, actually.)
In terms of popularity, Maureen was one of the top 100 baby names in the U.S. from 1947 until 1954. Mavourneen, on the other hand, has never cracked the U.S. top 1,000.
And now the main question: What do you think of the names Maureen and Mavourneen for twins? Cute? Too close? Somewhere in between?