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Maeve Name Meaning, History, Origin, and Popularity in 2023

Maeve Name Meaning, History, Origin, and Popularity in 2023

The captivating name Maeve has an intoxicating history and character. With deep Gaelic roots tied to Irish legend, this melodic name elegantly embodies its mesmerizing definition of “she who intoxicates.” 

As a vintage revival rapidly rising in popularity, Maeve strikes the perfect balance between mythic femininity and spunky edge. From its meaning of “mead-woman” to its associations with powerful medieval queens, this darling name carries currents of magic and feminine strength.

This article will explore the Maeve name meaning, origin, pronunciation, popularity, famous namesakes, and more about this melodic girl’s name.

We’ll look at spelling variations, middle names that pair well, and sibling name ideas too. Read on to learn all about this charming Irish name.

For more great name ideas, check out our blog at Bellesofthesound!

Maeve Name Meaning

The name Maeve has multiple interconnected meanings stemming from its Irish Gaelic origins. Here are some of the intoxicating meanings behind this lush name:

  • Intoxicating – One of the prime meanings of Maeve is “she who intoxicates.” This refers to an alcoholic drink like mead that was used in medieval inauguration ceremonies in Ireland.
  • She who rules – Maeve also means “she who rules” or a female sovereign. This ties into the legendary warrior Queen Maeve from Irish mythology.
  • Mead-woman – Similarly, Maeve means “mead-woman,” referring to the woman who would provide the ceremonial mead drink.
  • Purple flower – In Latin, Maeve translates to “purple flower,” likely referring to flowers like lavender or phlox.

Some other details on the meaning of this mesmerizing name:

  • The name Maeve derives from the mythological Queen Maeve of Connacht, who was considered a goddess by some. She was a strong female leader and lover.
  • It comes from the medieval Irish name Medb, which evolved into Méabh and Meadhbh. Maeve is the Anglicized form.
  • It may relate to the Proto-Celtic word “medu-” for mead, tying into the ceremonial drink.

So in summary, this darling Irish name has interwoven meanings of intoxication, feminine power, and libation. Maeve has a truly intoxicating history and heritage!

For a spiritual take, see our posts on spiritual meaning behind names starting with I.

Maeve Name Origin

Maeve Name Origin

The exquisite name Maeve has strong ties to Irish and Gaelic origin. Here are some details on the roots of this charming name:

  • Mythological – In Irish mythology and legend, Queen Maeve was a powerful warrior queen who ruled over the province of Connacht. She was seen as symbolic of the nation’s sovereignty.
  • Medieval – The name evolved from the medieval Irish name Medb, which became Méabh and Meadhbh in middle and early modern Irish. Maeve is the Anglicized spelling.
  • Language – Maeve has connections to both Irish and Scottish Gaelic languages. The Gaelic form of the name was Méabh or Meadhbh.
  • Literature – The name Maeve appears in medieval Irish literature like the Ulster Cycle, where Queen Medb wages war.
  • Folklore – In some Irish folklore, Maeve was considered a goddess tied to the land’s fertility and feminine energy.
  • Mead – Linguistically, the name may be derived from an Old Irish word related to “mead” or intoxication, tying into ceremonial practices.

So in summary, Maeve’s origin lies with the legendary Queen Maeve of Irish tradition, medieval literature, Gaelic languages, and folklore. It’s a true Gaelic name imbued with mythical femininity and power.

For another name’s backstory see our post on the history of the name Ezra.

Maeve Name History

While Maeve has ancient Celtic roots, this melodic name also has some more recent history as a revived vintage choice:

  • Revival – Maeve was rarely used until the 1990s and was an obscure choice in the U.S. for most of the 20th century. Its use was revived in the 90s.
  • Peak popularity – Usage of Maeve as a given name surged around April 2020 in the U.S., likely tied to Maeve Kennedy McKean’s tragic passing. It continues to rise.
  • Irish roots – Maeve remains a common girl’s name in Ireland, ranking in the top 100 there for years. Its roots are firmly Gaelic.
  • Famous Maeves – Contemporary public figures with this name include actress Maeve Dermody, comedian Maeve Higgins, and tennis player Maeve Quinlan.
  • Pop culture – Maeve has appeared as a character name in TV shows like Westworld, Criminal Minds, Sex Education, and more, boosting its profile.
  • Literary usage – It’s seen in modern literature, like Throne of Glass and the Dublin Murder Squad series, though its origins are ancient.

The name Maeve faded into obscurity but has delightfully re-emerged with its vintage flair and deep roots intact.

Maeve Name Pronunciation

Maeve Name Pronunciation

So just how do you say this lovely Gaelic name? The pronunciation of Maeve is:

  • MAYV – The standard pronunciation is “MAYV”, rhyming with “wave” or “rave”.
  • Two syllables – Maeve is pronounced as two syllables – MA-EVE.
  • Emphasis on first – The stress and emphasis is placed on the first syllable of Maeve.
  • Long A – The “ae” in Maeve makes the long “a” sound, like in the word “wait.”
  • Alternate pronunciations – Some regional pronunciations may put more emphasis on the “EVE” second syllable.

Similar sounding names with subtle differences include:

  • Maeva (ma-AY-və)
  • Maive (MY-və)
  • Mave (rhymes with WAVE)

So the standard way to pronounce this darling name is the two-syllable MAYV. Listen for the long “a” sound and stress on the first syllable when saying Maeve.

Maeve Name Popularity

Year Rank Number of Babies Named Maeve
2023 104 2,061
2022 104 2,011
2021 127 1,904
2020 173 1,568
2019 238 1,267
2018 325 937
2017 353 825
2016 396 778
2015 435 673
2014 473 617
2013 479 584
2012 514 536
2011 588 441

This table shows the ranking of Maeve for girls in the U.S. from 2011-2023, along with the number of babies given the name each year based on Social Security Administration data. It illustrates the rapid rise in popularity that Maeve has seen over the past decade.

The name Maeve has seen a meteoric rise in popularity and usage in recent years. Here’s a look at the trends:

  • Huge increase in use as a baby girl name in the U.S. over the past decade
  • Entered the top 1,000 names in 1997 and the top 500 in 2013
  • Ranked #104 in 2022, its highest ranking ever
  • Peak popularity in April 2020 (#173 rank), influenced by Maeve Kennedy McKean
  • Rapidly rising trend; on track to enter top 100 girl names soon
  • Also rising fast in England/Wales (#94 rank in 2020) and Scotland (#72 rank in 2021)
  • Long-term staple in Ireland, consistently ranking in top 100 names

The name Maeve is clearly riding high on a massive wave of popularity at the moment. Its vintage vibe and lyrical sound are appealing to modern parents seeking a unique Gaelic name.

Maeve as Girl’s Name

While Maeve has strong feminine roots, this snappy vintage name isn’t confined to any gender:

  • Traditionally feminine – Maeve is historically a female name and was very rarely used for boys or men.
  • Rising for girls – Its current popularity is primarily among baby girls and women.
  • Unisex style – The name Maeve has an energetic sound accessible for any gender identity.
  • Spunky vibe – The name’s meaning of “she who intoxicates” has a spirited, intoxicating vibe fitting for women and men.
  • Works for non-binary – Maeve has a rhythmic mix of soft and strong sounds that work well if you don’t identify with a gender binary.
  • Optional spelling – The spelling Maev appears more gender-neutral if preferred.

So while technically more common for girls, there’s no reason the mellifluous name Maeve can’t be embraced by all genders. Its lively rhythm and swagger transcend binaries.

For a spiritual take, see our posts on spiritual names.

Variants of Maeve Name

Variants of Maeve Name

The name Maeve has some alternate spellings and variations worth considering:

  • Maev – The most common alternate spelling. Gender neutral.
  • Maive – More phonetic spelling. Retains “v” ending.
  • Maeva – Popular in Polynesia. Stresses second syllable.
  • Mave – Simple & unique spelling. Gender neutral.
  • Mayve – Phonetic spelling.
  • Meabh – Spelling used in Ireland and Scotland.
  • Maiev – Cool Celtic spelling.
  • Meadhbh – Traditional Gaelic spelling.
  • Medb – Original mythological spelling.
  • Mab – Short form variant.

Nicknames for Maeve include:

  • Mae
  • Evie
  • Vee

The short form Mae in particular gives Maeve a casual, spunky edge.

Maeve Name Numerology

In numerology, names have hidden meanings tied to numeric values. Here’s the numerology breakdown for the name Maeve:

  • Soul Urge number – 1. This indicates leadership abilities and a dynamic spirit. Maeves with this soul urge are born trailblazers.
  • Personality number – 8. This signals strength, authority, and business skills. Eights have magnetic personalities.
  • Destiny number – 6. Sixes are nurturing, empathetic, and seek harmony in relationships. A balanced home life matters to them.

Numerology Meanings for Maeve

  • Strong independence and individuality
  • Innate sense of leadership and influence
  • Drive for success and prosperity
  • Harmonious family life is a priority

Maeve’s numerology indicates someone balanced between entrepreneurial ambition and a loving home life. They make profoundly impactful leaders.

Maeve Name Middle Names

Finding the perfect middle name to pair with Maeve gives it a delightful flow. Here are some charming middle name ideas:

  • Maeve Rose – Classic and feminine with floral meaning
  • Maeve Violet – Colorful nature name like Maeve’s meaning
  • Maeve Grace – Graceful and angelic middle name
  • Maeve Claire – Soft and airy for good cadence
  • Maeve Adele – Sweetly rhythmic pair
  • Maeve Sophie – Sophisticated style
  • Maeve Jane – Simple and pretty
  • Maeve Louise – Familiar vintage middle
  • Maeve Charlotte – Regal and elegant
  • Maeve Margot – Flirty French flair

Nature inspired middles like Rose, Violet, Willow, or Wren pair nicely with the meaning of Maeve. Royal names like Charlotte or Margot complement the “she who rules” meaning.

Maeve Name Siblings

Maeve Name Siblings

Searching for baby name ideas that fit the style of Maeve for siblings? Here are some fun pairings:

Girl siblings for Maeve

  • Ada
  • Bridget
  • Fiona
  • Isla
  • Lucy
  • Margaret
  • Nora
  • Ruth

Boy siblings for Maeve

  • Arthur
  • Declan
  • Fraser
  • Lachlan
  • Neil
  • Owen
  • Rhys
  • Walter

Names like Nora, Lucy, and Bridget have the same bouncy Gaelic vibe as Maeve for sisters. While choices like Fraser, Declan, and Rhys make dashing brother names.

Famous People Named Maeve

Many dynamic public figures and characters bear the name Maeve. A few famous namesakes include:

  • Maeve Binchy – Beloved Irish author of books like Circle of Friends and Tara Road.
  • Maeve Dermody – Australian actress who’s appeared in film and TV including Beautiful Kate and Tangle.
  • Maeve Kennedy McKean – American attorney and activist who was a granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy.
  • Maeve Higgins – Irish comedian, podcaster, and writer who’s performed on shows like Conan.
  • Maeve Quinlan – American actress known for soaps like The Bold and the Beautiful.

Maeve Name in Pop Culture

As a character name, Maeve has been featured in movies, TV, books and more:

  • Westworld – Maeve Millay is an artificial consciousness in the sci-fi series Westworld played by Thandiwe Newton.
  • Throne of Glass – Maeve is the false Queen of the Fae kingdom Doranelle in Sarah J. Maas’ fantasy books.
  • Criminal Minds – FBI agent Spencer Reid had a love interest named Maeve Donovan on seasons 8 and 9.
  • Sex Education – Maeve Wiley is a main character in the Netflix comedy series Sex Education portrayed by Emma Mackey.
  • The Boys – Queen Maeve is a Superman parody and member of “The Seven” superheroes in The Boys comic and TV series.

Maeve Name Alternatives

Maeve Name Alternatives

Love the sound of Maeve but want to consider some similar stylish alternatives? Names with comparable flair include:

  • Elowen
  • Freya
  • Mae
  • Mairead
  • Saoirse
  • Caoimhe
  • Eilish
  • Imogen
  • Maisie
  • Oona

Names with a similar vibe are Freya, Maisie, Saoirse, and Caoimhe. Choices like Imogen and Eilish have the same breezy rhythm.

Key Takeaways on Maeve Name Meaning

  • Maeve is an Irish name meaning “she who intoxicates” or “mead-woman” with ties to mythology.
  • It has ancient Gaelic roots but has seen a modern revival in popularity.
  • Maeve is traditionally feminine but works well as a unisex name too.
  • Notable Maeves include actress Maeve Dermody and author Maeve Binchy.
  • Variant spellings like Maev and Maeva give Maeve versatility.


The name Maeve is lyrical Gaelic music to the ears. With its intoxicating Irish history, delicious meanings, and stylish sound, it beautifully embodies its definition of “she who intoxicates.” For parents seeking a bold, adventurous baby name as rich as Irish fable and mythology, Maeve delivers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Maeve an Irish name?

Yes, Maeve has ancient Irish and Gaelic origins tying back to the legendary Queen Maeve of Connacht and medieval Irish folklore. It evolved from the old Irish name Medb.

How do you pronounce Maeve?

Maeve is pronounced MAYV, with the emphasis on the first syllable. It has a long “a” sound like in “wave.”

What does Maeve mean?

The name Maeve means “she who intoxicates” or “mead-woman” referring to an alcoholic drink used in medieval Irish inauguration ceremonies. It’s derived from a word meaning “intoxicating.”

The name Maeve has seen a revival in recent years, entering the top 200 most popular girl’s names in 2020. It continues to rapidly rise in popularity in the U.S. and U.K.

How do you spell Maeve?

The standard spelling is Maeve. Variants include Maev, Maive, and Maeva. Meabh and Meadhbh are Irish spellings.


Khalid Hasan

A passionate explorer of the mystical realm of angel numbers and the guiding forces that shape our lives. At the age of 27, after completing my BBA in Finance in 2018, I embarked on a journey of spiritual discovery that has led me to share my insights and wisdom through this blog.

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