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Maya Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

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

Maya Overview

  • Meaning: Maya translated in Greek means “good mother”. The Sanskrit meaning for Maya is “illusion”. Maya in Hebrew can mean “water” or “from God.”
  • Gender: Maya is a traditionally feminine name.
  • Origin: The most popular origins for Maya are Greek, Sanskrit, and Hebrew.
  • Pronunciation: Say (mai-UH) to pronounce Maya as an America. People in the United Kingdom pronounce Maya as (may-AH).
  • Popularity: Maya is a very popular name, currently ranked #61 out of 100.
  • Nicknames: Mayas, Mayan, Mayann, Mayari, Mayar, Mayani, Mayank, Mayalynn, Mayanna, Mayara, Mayana, Mayarose.
  • Variations: Maia, Miya, Mya, Myla (Norman French), Maja, Myra, Miah, Maiya, Maj, Meya.
  • Namesakes: Maya Angelou, Maya Rudolph, Maya Plisetskay, Maya Lin, Maya Moore.

What Does Maya Mean?

The Greek meaning of Maya is “good mother.” According to mythology, the Greek god, Hermes, had a mother named Maya, though it was spelled “Maia.” In the story, she is a nurturing mountain nymph who came to represent maternal love.

In Hinduism or Sanskrit, Maya means “illusion” or “that which is not”. Maya is another name for the Hindu goddess named Lakshmi. She is the deliverer of happiness, affection, beauty, and wealth.

Maya has roots in Hebrew, meaning “water” because of the Hebrew word, “Mayim.” The Hebrew meaning has also been known as “from God”.

The Hawaiian meaning for Maya is “precious one.”

If you are of Latin origin, you may consider the baby name Maya because of its meaning of “great.”

What is the Origin of the Name Maya?

The name Maya seems ubiquitous throughout cultures worldwide. It seems to have no single origin, as it is present in countless historical records and mythologies.

Most notably, it was present in ancient Greek, Sanskrit, Hebrew, and Hindi cultures.

How Popular is the Name Maya?

According to the Social Security Administration, Maya has been in the top 1,000 names since 1970. It ranked at 914 during that year (1).

At present, the name is #61 out of 100. Since Maya is in the top 100 baby names in America, it is considered a popular baby name (2).

The name may have hit the top 1,000 in 1970 because Maya Angelou released “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” in 1969. Her first book of poetry instantly turned into an American classic.

Maya was at its most popular at #57 out of 100 in 2006. More than 5,000 girls were named Maya in America.

2020 was the last year with information about the popularity report. There were more than 3,000 girls born with this name in America.

How Do I Pronounce Maya?

Say (mai-UH) to pronounce Maya in America.

In the United Kingdom, Maya is usually pronounced (may-AH).

Is Maya a Boy or Girl Name?

The Social Security Administration does not have any information on Maya as a boy name for babies in America.

All the information is related to baby girls born in the country. Hence, Maya is exclusively a girl name.

Variations of Maya

Maya is the most popular spelling out of its variations at rank #61.

Other variations and their ethnic origins include:

  • Maia (Greek)
  • Miya (Japanese)
  • Mya (Greek, Hebrew)
  • Myla (Norman French)
  • Maja (German, Danish, Norwegian, Danish)
  • Myra (Greek)
  • Miah (Spanish)
  • Maiya (Japanese)
  • Maj (Swedish, Danish)
  • Meya (Scandinavian)

Nicknames for Maya

Maya is a short name. Hence, choosing a nickname could be difficult.

However, there are still possible nicknames for your little girl named Maya such as:

  • Mayas
  • Mayan
  • Mayann
  • Mayari
  • Mayar
  • Mayani
  • Mayank
  • Maya Lynn
  • Mayanna
  • Mayara
  • Mayana
  • Mayarose

Similar Names to Maya

Some names are similar to Maya. You may also like names such as:

Middle Names for Maya

Picking the first name is half the battle. If you are not sure what middle name to consider for your baby girl, Maya, here are some options:

Sibling Names for Maya

If you already have a little girl named Maya, here are some ideas for sibling names.

For a brother:

For a sister:

Famous People Named Maya

Maya is a name most popularized by Maya Angelou (1928-2014). She was an actor, poet, author, and civil rights activist.

Her most famous work was “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” which kick started her career as a poet. Her acting career includes starring in movies including Poetic Justice (1993), Madea’s Family Reunion (2006), American Dream (1996), and Good Hair (2009) amongst others.

Other famous people named Maya include:

  • Maya Rudolph: American actress, singer, and comedian.
  • Maya Plisetskaya: Actress, Soviet and Russian ballet dancer, choreographer, and ballet director.
  • Maya Lin: American designer and sculptor.
  • Maya Moore: American professional basketball player.

Maya in Popular Culture

Since Maya is in the top 100 names in America, there are many examples of the name in popular culture:

  • Maya: Character from the show “Maya and the Three.”
  • Maya Amano: Character in the “Persona” video game series.
  • Maya Chinn: Character from the soap opera “Passions.”
  • Maya Herrera: Character from the television show “Heroes.”
  • Maya Santos: Character in the cartoon “Maya and Miguel.”
  • Maya St. Germain: Character from “Pretty Little Liars.”
  • Maya: Antagonist in Minecraft Story Mode.

Maya FAQs

You may still have some questions about the name, Maya. Here are the answers to some of these frequently asked questions.

Does Maya Mean “Love”?

Despite its many other meanings, it can also mean “love” in Nepali.

Is Maya a Biblical Name?

Maya has been known to come from the biblical name Maria. In Hebrew, it means “from God” or “water” from the Hebrew word “Mayim”.

Is Maya Considered a Rare Name?

Maya is a very common name because it ranks #61 out of the top 100 names in America. It has been in the top 1,000 names since 1970 in the United States.

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