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Previous: MaiNext: Maida
Gender: female
Meaning: mother, great one, brave warrior
Related Names: Maja, Maya, Mia

Length: 4 Gender: {{#if female



Rank in 2000s: 0 0

Name: maia Origin: Latin,,, Basque,,, Greek,,, Greek,, Meaning (no case): mother, great one, brave warrior

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  • Maia, or Μαια, is a name widely contested to be of Greek and Ancient Greek origin, however, it also has its roots in Roman and Basque society. The Greek origin of the name originates with the myth of Maia, the eldest of the Pleiades and one of the seven daughters of Atlas and Pleione (the other six Pleiades being Electra, Taygete, Alcyone, Celaeno, Sterope and Merope). Simonides of Ceos identified her as a mountain entity, speaking of "mountain Maia" (Maia oureias) and her "lively black eyes". Other Ancient Greek sources identify her as being not only the oldest daughter, but also the most beautiful and the most timid. Aeschylus was fond of linking her with Gaia, emphasizing her role as an entity of the mountains and earth.
  • Maia is an entity with two main myths linked to her, one focused on her role as mother of Hermes, the other telling how she came to be a star. In the former tale, Maia and her sisters were pursued by Orion and in their fright turned into a flock of doves. Whilst hiding from Orion, Maia was visited by Zeus in the dead of night, and as a result Hermes was born. After his birth, Maia wrapped him in blankets and fell asleep. Rapidly maturing, Hermes crawled away and by his first nightfall had stolen cattle from Apollo and invented the lyre. Apollo declared Hermes was a thief and Maia refused to believe him; eventually Zeus sided with Apollo, who traded his cattle for the lyre. In the latter myth, Maia and her six sisters committed suicide because they were saddened by their father's fate or the death of the Hyades, and Zeus immortalized them by placing them in the night sky. Maia was also the adoptive mother of Arcas after Callisto was turned into a bear by a jealous Hera.
  • The Romans identified the name with the phrase "Maia Maiestas", referring to alternatively either Fauna, the wife or sister of Faunus, the good spirit of the forest, plains, and fields; Bona Dea, the goddess of fertility, healing, virginity and women; or Ops, a fertility deity and earth-goddess. Another suggestion is that Maia, meaning 'great', was the name of a spring goddess and wife of Vulcan.
  • For the Basques, however, Maia is a version of Mary


  • Maia was the 6th most popular female name in Malta in 2005
  • The name entered the popularity charts in New Zealand in 2000 at number 81, reaching the rank of 43rd most popular girl's name in 2003 without any decreases in 2001 or 2002. It also appeared as the 74th most popular name there in 1999.
  • In Norway, Maia was the 153rd most popular female name, after being at number 124 in 2005 and 171 in 2004. It appeared relatively early in the Norwegian ranking list at number 242nd at 1995.
  • Maia was the 206th most popular girl's name in the Canadian name list in 2002, 226th in 2001 and 196th in 2003.
  • The name was 280th in Catalonia in 2003, an increase from 2002, where it was 303rd
  • In 2003, it was the 285th most popular name on the Australian list
  • In Sweden in 2006, Maia was the 322nd most popular girl's name
  • In Australia, Maia was the 683rd most popular female name in 2002
  • Maia ranked at number 2146 in Belgium during 2005
  • Finally, in America, Maia has enjoyed wildly fluctuating popularity, reaching number 509 in 2006 only to decrease dramatically in 2007, falling nearly a hundred places to 607


  • MAY-ah is the generally accepted 'correct' pronunciation of the original Greek name, but there are many ways to say the name, including may-AH, MIE-ah, MYE-ah and MEE-ah
  • The month of May is named for Maia, the wife of Vulcan, and the first and fifteenth days of the month were sacred to her. On the first of May, a priest of Vulcan would sacrifice a pregnant sow to her, a typical sacrifice offered to earth deities.
  • The goddess Maia was a specifically female deity, worshiped by and accessible almost if not entirely to women
  • Maia is the name of a star, the third brightest star in the Pleiades constellation. The star features in a 1930s childrens' book, in which the star book the star Maia arrives in England to do some christmas shopping for the other stars in the constellation.
  • FC Maia is a Portuguese football club.
  • In 'Death in Venice', 'Maia' is the name of a book written by the main character
  • In 'Thumbelina', Maia is the name given to Thumbelina by her husband in Hans Christian Andersen's original story.
  • The Maia are a race of beings in Tolkein's Middle-Earth mythos
  • 'Maia' is a novel by Richard Adams
  • 'Os Maias', or 'The Maias' is a realist novel by Eça de Queirós, also known as José Maria de Eça de Queiroz, Maia being the surname of the main family
  • "Maiale" is an Italian word for 'pig'.
  • Maiasaura (which is intended to mean 'good mother lizard') is a type of duck-billed dinosaur that lived in the area which is now Montana.


  • Maia, a city in Portugal in the Porto Metropolitan Area and Grande Porto subregion.
  • Maianthemum is a species of flower, of which the Canada Mayflower and Wild Lily of the Valley are members.
  • Maia and Burkes is an outer suburb of Dunedin in New Zealand.
  • Maia is also a parish in Ribeira Grande in the Azores.
  • Maiac is a city in Moldova, near Ukraine.
  • Maia, in mythology, either Greek or Roman.
  • The Maiad River, Romania.
  • Maiapilo is the Hawaiian name for Capparis sandwichiana or the Native Caper plant.


As a surname, Maia is linked with these famous people;

  • Tim Maia and Luizão Maia, both Brazilian musicians
  • Gaël Maia, French football player
  • Miguel Maia, Portuguese beach volleyball player
  • Demian Maia, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner
  • César Maia, mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Salgueiro Maia, Portuguese captain who played a significant role during the Carnation Revolution, resulting in the fall of the ruling dictatorship at the time.

Author: Ubiquitous


Facts about MaiaRDF feed
Gender female  +
Length 4  +
Meaning mother, great one, brave warrior  +
Meaningnc mother, great one, brave warrior  +
Name maia  +
Origin Latin  +, Basque  +, and Greek  +
Popularity 0  +
Rank in 2000s 0  +
Related Maja  +, Maya  +, and Mia  +
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