Where did the baby name Maeby come from?

The character Maeby Fünke from the TV series "Arrested Development" (2003-2006).
Maeby Fünke from “Arrested Development

The curious name Maeby began appearing in the U.S. baby name data in the early 2000s:

  • 2008: 7 baby girls named Maeby
  • 2007: unlisted
  • 2006: 6 baby girls named Maeby [debut]
  • 2005: unlisted
  • 2004: unlisted

It debuted the last year Arrested Development was on the air, which is notable because the sitcom featured a teenage character named Maeby Fünke (played by actress Alia Shawkat).

According to Wikipedia

Creator Mitchell Hurwitz named the character after his daughters Maisy and Phoebe. Hurwitz acknowledged the peculiar result of this blending, saying “It just seemed like crazy extra fun to think of weird names. I don’t want us to become too self-conscious about it but, yes, we do have some strange names.” Incidentally, she is often described as George Michael’s “Cousin Maeby,” a play on words making reference to the fact that they may not be related.

Maeby’s teenage counterpart/cousin on the show, George Michael Bluth, didn’t have the same impact on baby names; the compound name Georgemichael hasn’t been in the data since pop singer George Michael was popular back in the ’90s.

What about you — would you name your baby Maeby?

12 thoughts on “Where did the baby name Maeby come from?

  1. my second daughter is Maeve Beatrix and we often call her Mae-Bea, but that’s different. I don’t think I’d name someone that.

  2. The name Surely was on the SSA’s list in both 2005 (5 girls) and 2006 (5 girls).

    I know that Maeby’s “alter ego” Surely was sometimes featured on the show, but I’ve never seen those particular episodes, so I don’t know anything about them (i.e. how much Surely really figured in the plot, or when these episodes aired originally).

  3. The Surely thing was a running gag throughout the whole series. It was supposed to be Maeby’s sick identical twin trying to raise money to fight her fake illness. Maeby would then keep all of the money.

    Thanks for the info!

  4. I know this was posted on a long time ago, but just wanted to add something. My daughter was one of the 8 little girls named Maeby in 2010, and the name fits her perfectly. Everyone thought I was crazy when I picked it, but now they couldn’t imagine it being anything else! Now the real challenge is trying to choose an interesting second name if we have another girl!

  5. That’s awesome! Where do you live (state)? We live in Maryland. Wouldn’t it be great if our girls crossed paths someday!

  6. I’d never choose the name Maeby because of the saying “Mama’s baby, papa’s maybe” (or in a more classical way: “pater semper incerte”). No way.

  7. Never thought of that because I’ve never heard that saying before, even after having my daughter.

  8. We had a Maeby in 2023! These comments are comforting because I just get funny looks left and right…. My big old Mexican family is in disbelief. I’ve even been contemplating changing it to Mae but I LOVE Maeby. It goes with all our names. Her sister is a Meadow!

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