July 28, 2014 § 11 Comments

Pronounced either “ma REE’ a” or “ma RYE’ a”, this is the Latin form of Mary.

Maia, Maike, Maja, Malia, Mara, Mairen, Mari, Mariah, Marie, Mariele, Mariella, Marietta, Marijeke, Marika, Mariska, Marita, Mary, Maureen, Maya, Mia, Mimi, Mirele, Moira, Reena, Reeta, Ria, Riele, Riella, Rina, Rita, etc.

– Maria, maid-of-all-work for Maggie Bradford’s family in “May Flowers”, from A Garland for Girls, by Louisa May Alcott, 1887.
– Maria Johnson, the farmer’s wife in The Song of the Cardinal, by Gene Stratton Porter (1903).
– Maria Lucas, the younger sister of Lizzie Bennet’s best friend Charlotte in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (written in 1797, published in 1813).
– Maria Mirvan (called “Molly” or “Moll” by her father), Evelina’s dearest friend, with whom she enters into London society, in Evelina, or, The History of a Young Lady’s Entrance into the World (1778), by Fanny Burney.
– Maria Frances Osborne, the younger of George Osborne’s sisters in Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray (published in 1847-48, but set in the 1810s-20s).
– Maria Porter (called “Ria“), a shopgirl Anna Winslow helps in “May Flowers”, from A Garland for Girls.
– Miss Maria Temple, head teacher and superintendent of Lowood Institute, whose kindness to Jane encourages and consoles her, in Jane Eyre, 1847, by Charlotte Bronte. 
– Maria Todd, Miss Osborne’s goddaughter and sister to Osborne Todd, Georgy Osborne’s friend, in Vanity Fair.

– “They Call The Wind Maria” is a song from the 1951 musical Paint Your Wagon by Alan J. Lerner and Frederick Loewe: “Away out here they got a name / For rain and wind and fire / The rain is Tess, the fire Joe / And they call the wind Maria”. (Obviously, you have to go with the “ma RYE’ a” pronunciation for this song, or it doesn’t really rhyme. Also, I have serious doubts about anyone actually calling fire “Joe”.)
– “Maria” is a song from the 1957 Broadway musical West Side Story by Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein, and Stephen Sondheim: “The most beautiful sound I ever heard. / Maria! . . . Say it loud and there’s music playing, / Say it soft and it’s almost like praying.”
– “(How Do You Solve a Problem Like) Maria” is a song from the 1959 musical The Sound of Music by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II: “How do you solve a problem like Maria? / How do you catch a cloud and pin it down? / How do you find a word that means Maria? / A flibbertigibbet! A will-o’-the-wisp! A clown! / Many a thing you know you’d like to tell her / Many a thing she ought to understand / But how do you make her stay / And listen to all you say / How do you keep a wave upon the sand? / How do you solve a problem like Maria? / How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?”


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