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Miriam is one of the most cherished baby names for girls. Highly esteemed since the days of Exodus, this name appears frequently in popular culture today. Miriam was the name of the matriarch in Ben-Hur, and Miriam “Midge” Maisel titular protagonist of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Keep reading to learn more about this name.

Meaning of the name Miriam:

Hebrew: Drop of the sea, bitter
Egyptian: Beloved, wished-for child
Latin: Star of the sea

Origin of the name Miriam:

Miriam is the Hebrew form of the name Mary used in the Old Testament. It derived from the given name Mīrayām, and it is one of the most ancient forms of the name Mary. Miriam has several possible etymologies. It may derive from the Egyptian element myr (meaning “beloved” or “wished-for child”). Miriam may also derive from the Hebrew roots mar (meaning “drop”) and yam (meaning “sea”). Some etymologists also believe that Miriam originates from the Hebrew word marah (meaning “bitter”).

The Hebrew name Miriam translated into Arabic as Maryam. Latin translations of the New Testament used the names Mary and Marie based on the phrase stella maris (meaning “star of the sea”). However, the Old Testament translations retained the spelling of Miriam to distinguish this biblical figure from the women in the New Testament.

Symbolism of the name Miriam:

Miriam is the Hebrew version of the name Mary. In the Old Testament, Miriam is the sister of Moses and one of seven major prophetesses of Israel. According to the Book of Exodus, Jochebed entrusted Miriam to watch over the infant Moses before Pharaoh's daughter rescued the baby. Miriam also led the Israelites into a song of praise after they safely crossed the Sea of Reeds. Symbols of Mary include the hamsa palm and the tambourine.

Style of the name Miriam:

Biblical

Gender of the name Miriam:

Miriam is a girl's name.

Pronunciation of the name Miriam:

MIR-ee-əm

Number of syllables in the name Miriam:

Three

Emotion evoked from the name Miriam:

The name Miriam evokes feelings of trustworthiness and thanksgiving.

Alternative spellings for the name Miriam:

  • Maryam
  • Myriam
  • Mirjam
  • Miren
  • Mariam 
  • Mairenn
  • Mariyam

Nicknames for the name Miriam:

  • Mari
  • Miri
  • Mimi 
  • Mira
  • Mitzi
  • Midge

Popularity of the name Miriam:

According to the Social Security Administration index, Miriam was the 280th most popular baby name for girls in 2020.

Related names for the name Miriam:

Great middle names for Miriam and their meanings:

  • Abigail (my father is joy, source of joy)
  • Carleen (free man, petite, feminine)
  • Georgette (farmer, earth worker)
  • Hannah (grace, favor)
  • Indie (river, indigenous, independent)
  • Leigh (meadow)
  • Nadine (hope)
  • Odette (wealth, fortune)
  • Sterling (excellent, highest quality, stellar)
  • Tabitha (gazelle)

Famous people with the name Miriam:

  • Miriam Esther Brailey (physician)
  • Miriam Melanie Bryant (singer)
  • Miriam Florence Folline (suffragette)
  • Miriam Isabel Gallardo (tennis player)
  • Miriam Ann Hodgson (children's book editor)
  • Miriam Katherine McDonald (actress)
  • Miriam “Mimi” Rodgers (producer)
  • Miriam Palma Santiago (lawyer)
  • Miriam Louise Marie Siderenski (Olympic runner)
  • Miriam Arlene Stockley (singer)

Miriam in popular culture:

  • Miriam Bat-Hurwas (matriarch of the film Ben-Hur)
  • Miriam “Midge” Maisel (titular protagonist of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)
  • Miriam “Mim” Possible (character in Disney's Kim Possible)