Maya is a girl's name that transcends languages and cultures. The name has many meanings – including "dream" in Sanskrit, "courage" in Maori, and "mother" in Greek.
One of the most well-established origins of Maya is in the Sanskrit language of India. It can mean "illusion" or "dream," but it's also an alternate name for Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, fortune, power, beauty, and prosperity.
In the Maori language, Maya means "courage" or "bravery," making it a popular name for girls in New Zealand.
Maia is a popular variant spelling of the name. In Greek mythology, Maia was the daughter of Atlas. She had a son, Hermes, with Zeus. Her name is an honorific term for an older woman related to the Greek word for "mother," and it also means "midwife." In Greek, it's also often used as the feminine version of Thomas.
In Roman mythology, Maia was sometimes considered the mother of the earth. She became associated with growth and expansion, eventually lending her name to the month of May, which is appropriate since Maia was also the goddess of spring. In Latin, the name is related to the word for "large" or "great."
The name is also linked to the Mayan civilization, which thrived in South America for more than 3,000 years. With a sophisticated culture now shrouded in mystery, the Maya can symbolize many things, including the strength and endurance of Indigenous people.
Although the details might vary depending on which history you're looking at, it's clear that Maya is a name with strong ties to the divine. The name fits in with many cultures and languages, so it's a great option for multilingual and multicultural families, or parents who want their daughter to be a global citizen.
Maya is pronounced "MYE-ah," and there are quite a few spelling options you can consider. The most prevalent is Maya, followed by Maia – but the options are many, including: Mayah, Maiya, Mýa, Miah, or Miya.
Maya has consistently been among the 1,000 most popular baby names in the United States since the 1970s. It has been one of the 100 most popular names for baby girls since 2002, according to data from the Social Security Administration.
Maya is a name that has a deep, rich history – but its meaning is open to interpretation. The name has cross-cultural connections, but space for your baby to make it their own.
Maya Angelou : Poet and author of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Maya Banks : Author of best-selling romance novels
Maya Erskine : American actress who played Maggie in Man Seeking Woman
Maya Hawke : American actress and daughter of Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke
Maya Kazan : American actress who played Eleanor Gallinger on The Knick
Maya Lin : American architect and sculptor who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Maya Moore : Professional basketball player
Maya Rudolph : American comedian and former Saturday Night Live cast member
Maya : South Korean K-Pop star
Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam : British singer and rapper known as M.I.A.
Maya Angelou : poet
Maya Moore : basketball player
Maya Lin : architect
Maya Tiwari : spiritual leader