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Maya Name Meaning – What Does The Name Maya Mean?

What does the name Maya Mean? In this quick guide, we will explore the origin, history, popularity, and meaning of the name Maya. Let's get started.

What does the name Maya Mean? In this quick guide, we will explore the origin, history, popularity, and meaning of the name Maya. 

Let’s get started. 

Meaning of The Name Maya

The name Maya is of Hebrew, Hindu, Greek and Indian origins, and it’s widely used around the world. Though the name has multiple origins, it generally denotes a wise or strong woman who is beautiful and capable of great deeds. In the Hindu religion, Maya is seen as a protector goddess and her symbols are those of strength and fertility.

As a female name given to baby girls in Sanskrit-speaking countries, Maya is often linked with themes of femininity and motherhood. In this context, it can be seen as echoing the importance of womanhood in society. In Greek mythology, Maya is often associated with Maia – one of Zeus’ daughters – being clever but mysterious in nature.

She was an independent thinker who questioned authority; making her one of the first feminist figures in Greek mythology. Among ancient Hebrew populations dispersed throughout Europe and beyond, Maya is thought to hold spiritual significance; referring to a divine motherly figure assisted by guardians on earth who provide balance between physical reality and divine belief systems associated with multiple faiths practiced by the followers of one God or various gods.

In Jewish tradition particularly, Maya often symbolizes mercy; divinity embodied within humanity that reflects natural elements such as water or air back onto its source – allowing us to foster respect for planet Earth while serving our collective need for healing energy that sustains harmony between mind body and spirit.

History and Origin of The Name Maya

The name “Maya” originated in Ancient Greece, where it was derived from the Greek goddess Maia (or Maja), one of the seven daughters of the Titan Atlas and Pleione. The Greeks revered her as a fertility goddess who prospered the land, caused plants to be fruitful and wealthy, and to reward those who were devoted to her.

The name also has a Hebrew origin, being directly linked to the Biblical Mayim, a River in Northern Assyria and Babylon. This was also known as Saleh River which, according to Jewish Persian sources, refers to ‘to rage’ or ‘to struggle’; it may even originate from an extinct Semitic language spoken five millennia ago.

From its ancient Greek roots, Maya eventually became popular among many European countries during the late 17th century. It then traversed overseas into South America with Spanish butchers travelling there in search of trade opportunities in 1523— thus introducing Maya into what is now known as Brazil.

Since then it has gradually become popular in many other countries such as Israel and India due to immigration or family ties with these countries respectively.

In recent years substantially more popularity has been gained both within Asia (mainly India) and throughout Europe although it would appear that most notably it is within North America that Maya has enjoyed enormous international success becoming one of the most utilized names for female newborns among those regions for some years now.

Gender of The Name Maya

Maya is traditionally associated with being a female name and is generally perceived as such in English-speaking countries. The name is derived from Maia and often inherited as part of a double immediate family name, such as María-Maia, Juana-Maia or Ana-Maia. Maia itself has origins in ancient Greek mythology and the Latin language prefix ‘ma’, meaning ‘great’ or ‘mother’.

The name Maya has strong associations with female fame and leadership. In literature, Maya was the feminine protagonist in The Journeyer by Paulo Coelho who overcame great difficulties to reunite with her soul mate. In business, the IBM Chief Marketing Officer Sophia von Maydell uses her company experience to develop programs that promote gender equality.

For these reasons, among others, it is easy to understand how many people associate the name Maya with strength and independence in women.

Popularity of The Name Maya

The name Maya has been derived from a Hebrew word and is a variant of the name Mai. It is related to the Latin word maia, which means “good mother.”

There are also several mythological connotations associated with the name. The goddess Maia was thought to be an earth goddess in ancient Greece, and in some Native American cultures she was believed to be an earth spirit or deity of fertility. As a result of these origins, the name has become very popular in recent years.

In terms of its popularity as a baby name in the United States, Maya has steadily risen over the last few decades. According to Social Security Administration records, it suddenly rose into the top 100 most popular names for American girls in 1996 and now stands at number 24 on this list as of 2020. It is also one of the most popular baby names chosen by parents from around the world.

Variations of The Name Maya

The name Maya has many variations in different cultures and countries. This is due to multiple factors, such as linguistics and immigration, which tend to affect the development of names. As a result, there may be several spelling variations of the same name. Here is a list of some variations of the name Maya:

  • Maia (Greek)
  • Mija (Basque)
  • Maiah (Hebrew)
  • Mǎi Yà (Chinese)
  • Maja (German and Slavic)
  • Máyah (Arabic)
  • Maïa (French, Spanish, Portuguese and Catalan)
  • Māja (Latvian)
  • Maiya or Meya (Russian, Ukranian and Bulgarian )

In addition to these names, there are also many nicknames for Maya, such as May or Mia. It is important to remember that each variation usually has its own unique meaning. For instance, in Greek mythology the name Maia is derived from the word “mother” – “Maia” is symbolic of fertility and motherhood; while Māja in Latvian means “goddess”. Thus understanding the various derivations can help enrich your understanding of your own name.

Famous People Named Maya in History

Maya is a name of Hebrew origin and means “water.” It became popular in the United States thanks to the performance of the late actress Maya Angelou. There are also many famous people named Maya in history.

In literature, Maya Surdhar was an Ethiopian novelist and poet, while in philosophy, existentialist thinker and political activist Simone de Beauvoir had a daughter named Maya (born 1944).

In music, musician Maya Haddad—better known by her stage name Mayaline—is an Israeli singer-songwriter who has released singles including “Childhood” and “Go Ahead.”

Maya Goddesses are important to ancient Mesoamerican cultures such as that of the Aztec, Olmecs, Yucatán and others. The most celebrated deity is Ixchel—”Lady Rainbow”—the goddess of fertility, medicine and childbirth. Other deities such as Yaocihuatl (“Queen of Beatitude”), Paxacoatl (“Queen of Peace”), Matlalcueitl (“Blue Skirt Woman”) and Chicomecoatl (“Seven Snakes Woman”) embodied forces of nature or had dominion over time.

Pronunciation of The Name Maya

Strictly speaking, the name Maya can be pronounced in several ways, depending on the language. In English, it is generally pronounced as “ma-yah”; however, this can also vary depending on regional accents.

In Spanish and Portuguese, it is usually pronounced as “mah-ya” and in French it is “ma-yah”. Other less common pronunciations include “ma-yuh” and “meye-ah”. Considering the name’s origins and language variations worldwide, each culture has its own way of pronouncing the name.

Numerology of The Name Maya

Maya is derived from the Greek Maia making it a part of the same group of Greco-Roman names that includes Maia, Mina, Miya, and even Mala. Numerology is an art based on the idea that numbers reflect certain energies and can tell us a great deal about personality, character traits, and hidden potential.

The number associated with the name Maya is 6. As such, people given this name tend to be energetic and full of life with a deep appreciation for all forms of creativity. They excel in physical pursuits as well as artistic endeavors such as music or theater.

A number 6 helps us to even out our life, it encourages us to take better care of our body both physically and emotionally through healthy diet, exercise and meditation. People with this number have an unfailing love for wanderlust which often leads them down some unexpected paths and adventures in search of knowledge or answers to otherwise unanswered questions.

They are generous to those around them who may require their assistance or sympathy on hard days and rarely forget an act of kindness they have experienced themselves.

A perfect combination of stability and creativity makes Maya a great choice for anyone searching for a first name representing stability but also ambition combined with good intentions.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Name Maya

What Origin Is The Name Maya?

The name Maya has its origins in Hebrew and Greek mythology. In Hebrew, it is derived from the word “ma’a,” which means “water.” In Greek mythology, it is looked upon as a symbol of beauty and fate and is thought to have been associated with a goddess by the same name.

What Is The Meaning of The Name Maya?

The meaning of the name Maya can be interpreted in many ways. It depends on who you ask, but it could mean “water,” “great one,” or even “illusion.” Generally speaking, the name holds many different meanings depending on cultural and religious beliefs.

What Are Some Nicknames for Maya?

Common nicknames for people named Maya include Maisie, May, Mya, Mayi or Maye.

Is There a Famous Person Named Maya?

Yes! Several famous people share the same first name: Actress-singer-songwriter-director Maya Rudolph; Pulitzer Prize Winner Writer/Poet/Activist/Painter Maya Angelou; Nobel Prize Winner Scientist & Polymath Dr. Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar; Photographer/Film Director/Artist& Activist Teju Cole; Profession Jazz Vocalist & Songwriter/Educator Rene Marie; Novelist/Professor Rabbani Franklin to mention only a few!


Ultimately, the name Maya is one full of depth and meaning. Its tenacity over time has earned it standing in modern culture and society as a time-honored name with a never-ending legacy of empowering and inspiring stories.

Whether you wish to honor its antiquated roots or get inspired by its potentials, the name Maya promises a solid foundation on which to build your own individual story.


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Housam is a content marketing expert with a knack for writing articles. He loves to name and nickname things creatively, so much so that he started a blog in which he writes about names and their meanings. He is also an avid reader, the dad of two wonderful dogs, and a full-time RV traveler with no definite destination.

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