Where did the baby name Mayim come from in 1993?

The character Blossom (played by Mayim Bialik) from the TV series "Blossom" (1991-1995).
Mayim Bialik (as Blossom)

The rare name Mayim first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 1993:

  • 1995: unlisted
  • 1994: unlisted
  • 1993: 8 baby girls named Mayim [debut]
  • 1992: unlisted
  • 1991: unlisted

Where did it come from?

Young actress Mayim Bialik (pronounced MY-im bee-AH-lik).

She played the part of smart, spunky teenager Blossom Russo on the TV series Blossom (1991-1995).

Blossom was the only girl in the house: She lived with her father, a divorced session musician, and her two older brothers, Tony and Joey. She also spent a lot of time with her fast-talking best friend, Six LeMeure.

The plot lines mostly revolve around [Blossom’s] battles with school authorities, her trials of romance, the temptations of marijuana, alcohol and sex, wrecking her father’s car or having to sneak back into the house after staying out all night.

The sitcom wasn’t successful right away. By the third season (1992-1993), though, Blossom had blossomed into a hit. So it’s not surprising that the name Mayim didn’t debut in the data until midway through the show’s run.

Mayim Bialik’s first name is a Hebrew vocabulary word defined by some sources as “waters” (plural), though the actress herself prefers to define it as “water” (singular):

I was named for water. Mayim means water in Hebrew and it has followed me my entire life as a personal metaphor. Water is the element closest to my heart. 

The word mayim is not typically used as a given name among Hebrew speakers. So how did Bialik come to have it?

Turns out it was bestowed in honor of her grandmother, Maryam, who was known as “Bubbe Mayim” within the family. (Bubbe means “grandmother” in Yiddish.)

What are your thoughts on the name Mayim?

P.S. The name Blossom also saw a modest increase in usage in the early 1990s, particularly 1991.


2 thoughts on “Where did the baby name Mayim come from in 1993?

  1. I was in high school when Blossom was on tv, and it’s really a testament to how much things have changed for television that pretty much everyone I knew watched it, but nobody liked it very much. (To be fair, high school was probably a little old for the tone of the show.) Mayim herself was great in the role, though — very precocious and winsome. I have always assumed that Mayim was a real Hebrew name, so it’s interesting to find out that it’s a common noun. I think it’s pretty. I like her surname, too.

  2. Haha I love your observation about TV during that era. As a kid/teen, I sat through so many shows that were simply the least-bad thing that was on at the time. Sitcoms were the worst. (Full House may have been the worst of the worst, imo.)

    Though I didn’t watch Blossom regularly — I saw maybe a dozen or so episodes total — I do remember being impressed with Mayim.

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