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Amaya Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

Learn about the name Amaya including the meaning, gender, origin, popularity, and more.

Amaya Overview

  • Meaning: Amaya has several meanings, including ‘Heavenly valley,’ ‘Mother city,’ ‘The end,’ and ‘Night rain.’
  • Gender: Amaya is a girl’s name.
  • Origin: Amaya is a name with Basque, Spanish, and Japanese origins.
  • Pronunciation: “Ah-MIE-ah”
  • Popularity: Amaya is a popular girls’ name.
  • Nicknames: Ama, Maya, May, Nini, Nym.
  • Variations: Amaha, Amaia, Amaiah, Ammaya, Amya.
  • Namesakes: Amaya Alonso, Amaya Forch, Amaya Salazar, Amaya Uranga, Amaya Valdemoro.

What Does Amaya Mean?

Amaya has several meanings. Depending on the language, Amaya can mean:

  • The end
  • Mother city
  • Heavenly valley

In Basque, Amaya derives from the word ‘Ama,’ which means ‘mother’ (1). While not the same language, Spanish similarly uses ‘Ama’ to mean variously, ‘Housekeeper, wet nurse, lady’ (2).

For that reason, the frequent Basque interpretation of ‘Amaya’ means ‘Mother city.’ This meaning is strengthened by the fact that the name has links to the historic city of Amaya (3). For this reason, Amaya works as both a first and last name in Basque-speaking regions of Spain.

However, a different Basque word, ‘Amaiera’ means ‘At the end,’ which gives Amaya its other meaning.

In Japan, Amaya means ‘Heavenly valley.’ It also has celestial and imperial associations.

Another frequent interpretation of Amaya comes from Kanji. In this version of Japanese, Amaya means ‘Night rain.’ The meaning varies slightly depending on the Japanese characters involved. Amaya can also be interpreted as ‘Break in the rain’ (4).

What is the Origin of the Name Amaya?

Just as Amaya is a name whose meaning changes depending on the language, so does its point of origin.

Historically, Amaya is Basque as well as Japanese. This explains the variety of interpretations of Amaya’s meaning.

Crucially, although Basque doesn’t derive from Romance languages, neither does it have linguistic commonalities with the various Japanese dialects (5). That the name emerged contemporaneously in Basque and Japan is a piece of linguistic synchronicity.

How Popular is the Name Amaya?

For the past 20 years, Amaya has been a consistently popular name. In 2000, it ranked 196 out of the top 200 names for girls (6).

Briefly, Amaya dropped to 237 out of 500 in 2014 but remained a popular girls’ name. However, it quickly regained its popularity.

At present, Amaya remains a popular name and sits at 161 out of the top 500 most popular girls’ names.

How Do I Pronounce Amaya?

The phonetic pronunciation for Amaya is Ah-MIE-ah.

The stress falls on the middle syllable, and both Ah sounds are long. Importantly, the middle diphthong sounds like a long I as in ‘Lie.’

Is Amaya a Boy or Girl Name?

Amaya is a predominantly female name.

This is true of the Basque-Spanish-derived Amaya and Amaya in Japanese. Some of this is explicable by the fact that Basque genders its nouns, as well as assigning cases and numbers. However, the Japanese language doesn’t do this. Instead makes a distinction between male and female speech patterns (7).

In that sense, the Japanese usage of Amaya as a predominantly feminine name is purely cultural.

Variations of Amaya

While there are not many variations of Amaya in other languages, there are several Japanese alternatives to the name. These include:

  • Amaha ( Japanese)
  • Amaia (Japanese)
  • Amaiah (Japanese)
  • Ammaya (Japanese)
  • Amya (Hebrew)

Nicknames for Amaya

The number of syllables in Amaya allows parents a variety of ways to shorten Amaya for their children. Some of the most common nicknames for girls called Amaya are:

  • Ama
  • Amu
  • Amy
  • Aya
  • Ayay
  • May
  • May
  • Mi
  • Mim
  • Mimi
  • Mya
  • My-my
  • Nini
  • Nym

Similar Names to Amaya

If you like the meaning of Amaya but aren’t sure it’s the right name for your child, there are a variety of names with similar names and meanings. Parents who considered Amaya for a child also liked the names:

Middle Names for Amaya

Amaya works well with a variety of middle names. Parental favorites include:

Sibling Names for Amaya

Amaya also works effectively with many sibling names. Here are some of parents’ favorites when considering sibling names for children called Amaya.

For a Brother

Popular names for the brothers of Amaya include:

For a Sister

Popular girls’ names parents often pair with Amaya include:

Famous People Named Amaya

Some of history’s most memorable Amayas include:

  • Amaya Alonso: Spanish swimmer
  • Amaya Forch: Chilean actress and singer
  • Amaya Salazar: Domenican artist
  • Amaya Uranga: Spanish singer
  • Amaya Valdemoro: Spanish basketball player

Amaya in Popular Culture

Amaya is also a name that crops up several times in fiction and pop culture. Notable fictitious Amayas include:

  • Amya: Eponymous character of the popular Filipino TV show
  • Amaya: Character from TV show ‘PJ Masks’
  • General Amaya: Character in ‘The Dragon Prince’
  • Amaya Jiwe: Character on TV show ‘Legends of Tomorrow’
  • Amaya Raine: Character in animated series ‘Rainbow High’

Amaya FAQs

Here are other questions parents ask when considering the name Amaya for a child.

Is Amaya an Islamic Name?

Amaya means ‘Night rain’ in Arabic. Additionally, reference is made to Amaya in the Quran at 27:91 (8). In that sense, Amaya is an Islamic name.

Is Amaya a Biblical Name?

The name Amaya does not appear in the Bible. The closest name to Amaya in the Bible is the Hebrew word ‘Amya’ which means ‘close to God.’

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