Just like first names, middle names wax and wane in popularity. Some people choose their kid's middle name to honor a loved one or even a favorite author or musician; others make their pick with the resulting initials in mind; still others are drawn to a middle name based on how many syllables it has and how well it flows with the first and last. But there's one middle name for girls that never seems to fall entirely out of favor: Marie. So if your kid's middle name is Marie, this one is for you.
Here's the thing: You've definitely known quite a few women with the middle name of Marie in your life, whether or not you realized it (of course, your own middle name might be Marie, too). In fact, it's not at all uncommon for a grandmother, mother, and daughter to all have the middle name of Marie, even if their first names are different. Indeed, "Marie very much feels like one of the most popular middle names ever," as The Art of Naming put it.
"Marie is the French form of Maria and Mary, both of which come from the biblical Greek names Mariam or Miryam," explained the site. The meaning of the name is typically given as "sea of bitterness" or just plain "bitter," so clearly it's not the name's definition that makes it so appealing. Perhaps, the website suggested, the name became widely used with Christians because of the Virgin Mary; there have also been Queens named Marie and Mary.
Then there's the two-syllable rhythm of the name to consider.
"Most popular ‘80s and ‘90s girls’ names had two or three syllables, with the accent on the first syllable," according to MamaMia. "Jessica, Sarah, Amy, Emma, Katherine, Rachel, Hannah, Georgia, Caitlin. To make a pretty-sounding combination, most parents would – subconsciously – choose a middle name with one syllable (Anne, Jane, Lee, Kate), or else two syllables, with the accent on the second syllable (Louise, Marie, Renee, Nicole)."
I was given the middle name Marie in the mid '70s, mostly as a result of my mother's Catholic upbringing, I think. But also simply because it was just the middle name you gave your daughter back then, for some reason... or so the number of girls and women I've met through the years who shared both my middle name and birth year would seem to indicate. When it came to my own daughter, born 17 years ago, I unwittingly went with what turned out to be another incredibly popular choice for her middle name: Emma. (Who knew?)
If you have a child with "Marie" printed in between the first and last names on her birth certificate, you know the following things are true.
1. Marie Is Never A Surprise To Anyone
From those first weeks after your daughter is born to when she goes to daycare or school and you start comparing notes with other parents, you'll always get the same response when you reveal her middle name: A knowing nod, maybe accompanied by a meaningless comment like "Sure, of course," or "Right, Marie," or "Mmm-hmm."
2. Marie Is Something To Bond Over
That thing I just said about the response you'll get when you tell people your daughter's middle name? There is another potential reaction you might get, which is generally along the lines of "Oh, my grandmother's name is Marie!" or "That's so funny, my middle name is Marie, too!"
3. Sometimes People Make Assumptions
For all the many, many, people who understand that people of every possible ancestry choose the middle name of Marie, you'll occasionally run into a rare uninitiated type who'll ask if you picked it because you or your husband are of French descent. Seriously, if all the people in this country who had the middle name of Marie were French, we'd... well, we'd be living in France.
4. Sometimes People Don't Understand That Marie And Mary Are Different Names
Get used to saying "Oh yeah, it's actually not Mary... it's Marie." Then you might add something like "It's the French version of Mary" just to clarify that there is in fact a difference between the two names... which totally means the person you're talking to will then ask "Oh, are you French?" (See above.)
5. There Aren't That Many Famous Women Named Marie
Let's say you named your kid John. People will invariably ask you which famous John he might be named after ("Oh, for John F. Kennedy? John Lennon? John Wayne?"). Marie, on the other hand, leaves people momentarily stumped: "Oh, for Marie... Antoinette? Marie Curie? Marie Osmond?" Yeah, there just aren't that many options.
Naturally, none of this is to discourage you from bestowing the time-honored middle name of Marie upon your child. It's a classic for a reason (it really does sound good with almost any combo of names), and she'll have plenty of company... and then some.