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Margaret Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

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

Margaret Overview

  • Meaning: The name Margaret means “pearl.”
  • Gender: Margaret is typically a girl’s name.
  • Origin: The name Margaret comes from the Greek version of the Latin word that means pearl: margarita.
  • Pronunciation: “mahr-guh-rit” or “mahr-grit.”
  • Popularity: Margaret is a popular name. As of 2021, it has never left the top 200 names.
  • Nicknames: Maggie, Daisy, Greta, Mae, Marge, Meg, Peggy, Rita.
  • Variations: Gretchen, Maisie, Margarita, Margit, Marguerite, Marit, Marjorie.
  • Namesakes: Margaret Atwood, Margaret Avery, Margaret Sanger, Margaret Thatcher.

What Does Margaret Mean?

The female name Margaret means pearl and comes from an ancient Greek word. It has been a given name in English for over a thousand years. It is a classic name, and many members of royalty and religion have borne the name (1).

What is the Origin of the Name Margaret?

The name Margaret comes from the Greek Margarites, which became Margarita in Latin. From there, the French picked it up and made it Marguerite, a common variation even in recent years.

How Popular is the Name Margaret?

Margaret was very popular, ranking in the top ten names from 1880 until 1940. It sank farther, leaving the top 100 briefly in 1976 and long-term in 1990. Still, Margaret remains popular, listed in the top 200 names from 1990 through the present (2).

How Do I Pronounce Margaret?

The standard pronunciation of Margaret is “mahr-guh-rit.” Many make the name a two-syllable name by leaving out the second vowel. When spoken this way, it sounds like mahr-grit. You will find different pronunciations in different regions.

Is Margaret a Boy or Girl Name?

Margaret is traditionally a girl’s name. A few parents have named a boy Margaret over the years, but that is rare. Many high-profile women proudly wear the name Margaret, but some women with this name prefer a nickname. Many famous women with this name use the nickname Maggie primarily.

Variations of Margaret

As a common name, Margaret has several variations. You find versions of it in many countries.

  • Greta (Icelandic, Swedish, Polish)
  • Gretchen (German)
  • Grethe (Danish)
  • Maisie (Scottish)
  • Margareta (Finnish)
  • Margarita (Albanian, Bulgarian)
  • Margit (Estonian)
  • Margita (Czech)
  • Margo (Italian)
  • Marguerite (French)
  • Marit (Dutch, Scandinavian)
  • Marjorie (American)
  • Rita (Portuguese, Danish, Estonian, German, Hungarian, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish)

Nicknames for Margaret

People base nicknames for Margaret on both the name itself and its meaning. Some appear unrelated but have ties to alternate versions of the name or the name meanings. For example, we get the nickname Peggy from Meggy, which was a common nickname in past centuries.

  • Daisy
  • Greta
  • Gretel
  • Madge
  • Mae
  • Mags
  • Maggie
  • Mamie
  • Marge
  • Margie
  • Margo
  • Meg
  • Meggie
  • Molly
  • Peggy
  • Rhett
  • Rita

Similar Names to Margaret

People who like the classic feel of the name Margaret tend to also like these similarly classic names.

Middle Names for Margaret

Choosing a middle name can be almost as difficult as choosing a first name. You want it to sound well together with both the first and last names. Consider the initials to ensure they are suitable, as well. Some middle names that go well with Margaret include:

Sibling Names for Margaret

Pair Margaret with names for brothers and sisters with a pattern. For example, use similar initials, similar meanings (pearl or other gems), or a similar classic feel. If you dislike using a naming pattern, you may still find a suitable name below.

Famous People Named Margaret

The elegance of the name Margaret is not only inherent in the name. The fact that many high-profile women share the name surely lends it grace, nobility, and charm.

  • Margaret of Anjou: wife of King Henry VI making her Queen of England 1445-1461 and 1470-1471.
  • Margaret Atwood: Canadian author and teacher (3).
  • Margaret Avery: American singer and actress.
  • Margaret “Molly” Brown: American philanthropist, also known as “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.”
  • Margaret Wise Brown: American author of children’s books including Goodnight Moon.
  • Margaret Cho: Korean-American comedian and actress.
  • Margaret Court: Retired Australian tennis player.
  • Margaret “Margie” Joseph: American singer.
  • Margaret Lockwood: British actress.
  • Margaret Mead: American cultural anthropologist.
  • Margaret Rutherford: British character actress, known for Miss Marple.
  • Margaret Sanger: American founder of Planned Parenthood.
  • Margaret Chase Smith: American politician.
  • Margaret Sullavan: American actress who played opposite Jimmy Stewart four times.
  • Margaret Thatcher: Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979-1990.

Many queens in the Middle Ages and Europe in recent centuries were named Margaret. Several saints also share the name.

Margaret in Popular Culture

A name as popular as Margaret is sure to show up in visual and written media. As expected, there are several examples of the name Margaret in television and literature.

  • Margaret “Daisy” Brooke: character in Little Women.
  • Margaret “Peggy” Bundy: character on the TV sitcom Married… with Children.
  • Margaret Houlihan: character on M*A*S*H.
  • Margaret Mildred “Kit” Kittredge: an American Girl character and doll
  • Margaret “Meg” Murry: character in A Wrinkle in Time.

Margaret FAQs

Margaret is a classic. Most people have heard the name, but maybe you did not know the answers to these questions.

Why Was Margaret Such a Popular Name?

Nobody knows why names become popular, but it may be that parents named their daughters after queens or saints. Since there were many of both with the name Margaret, many parents would use the name for their girls. At the current time, the name appears to be going out of favor.

Why is Peg Short for Margaret?

In the early 20th century, many nicknames that did not begin with a P were changed, such as Molly or Dolly to Polly and Meg to Peg. Once it became common, it just stuck.

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