Mara Name Meaning | Origin, History & Popularity

Mara Name Meaning and Origin:

The name Mara has multiple origins and meanings, depending on its cultural and linguistic context.

  1. Hebrew Origin: In Hebrew, Mara (מָרָה) means “bitter” or “sorrow.” It is derived from the same Hebrew root as the word “mar” (מָר), which conveys a sense of bitterness.
  2. Sanskrit Origin: In Sanskrit, Mara is associated with Hindu and Buddhist traditions. It means “destroyer of illusions” or “tempter.” In Buddhism, Mara is a figure representing the temptations and distractions that hinder one’s spiritual progress.

History and Cultural Significance:

  1. Biblical References: Mara holds significance in the Bible. In the Book of Ruth, Mara is the new name given to Naomi, who experienced immense sorrow and loss. The name change reflects her bitterness and grief.
  2. Hindu and Buddhist Traditions: In Hindu and Buddhist traditions, Mara is a figure associated with desire, illusion, and the distractions that hinder spiritual growth. Mara’s role is to challenge and tempt individuals on their spiritual journey.


Mara has gained popularity as a name that combines uniqueness and a sense of mystery.

  1. United States: In the United States, Mara has steadily climbed the ranks of popular names for baby girls. Its simplicity, cross-cultural appeal, and evocative meaning have contributed to its growing popularity.

Variations of Mara:

  1. Mira: Mira is a popular variant of Mara, particularly used in various European cultures. It carries a similar meaning of “wonder” or “admiration” and retains the elegant sound of the original name.
  2. Mariana: Mariana is another variation of Mara, often used in Spanish-speaking countries. It combines the name Mara with Ana and offers a more elaborate form while maintaining the name’s essence.
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Famous People Named Mara:

Mara has been embraced by numerous notable individuals, leaving their mark in various fields. Here are a few examples:

  1. Mara Wilson: Mara Wilson is an American actress and writer known for her roles in films such as “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “Matilda.” After leaving acting, she pursued a career in writing and has published several books.
  2. Mara Brock Akil: Mara Brock Akil is an American television writer and producer. She is best known for creating and producing successful television shows such as “Girlfriends” and “Being Mary Jane.”
  3. Mara Liasson: Mara Liasson is an American journalist and political commentator. She is a correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR) and has covered numerous presidential elections and political events.


The name Mara carries a sense of depth, mystery, and emotional resonance. With its origins in Hebrew and its association with bitterness and sorrow, the name embodies a range of emotions and experiences. Additionally, its connection to Hindu and Buddhist traditions further adds to its allure and spiritual significance. Mara’s rising popularity, variations such as Mira and Mariana, and association with notable individuals in various fields highlight its timeless appeal and versatility. Whether rooted in Hebrew or associated with spiritual traditions, the name Mara continues to captivate with its evocative meaning and cross-cultural significance.

Waqas Anjum
Waqas Anjum

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