She’s a compound name with a français feel and German heritage. How would she wear on a little American girl in 2010?

Thanks to Nicole for suggesting the name of her daughter-on-the-way as our Baby Name of the Day: Rosemarie.

At first glance, Rosemarie is out of favor. While she ranked in the US Top 1000 for most of the twentieth century, she vanished after 1988. Rosemary remains in the US Top 1000, ranking #721 in 2009, but that’s a far cry from her earlier Top 100 status.

Or is she? Rose is quite popular in the middle spot. What’s more, compound names are notoriously difficult to capture. Rose Marie and Rose Anne are both counted as Rose, contributing to her long run in the US Top 100.

Rosemarie peaked in 1936 at #158, also the heyday for Rosemary. While many 1930s era names are unlikely to make a quick comeback, some are starting to rebound. Sure, there’s Shirley. But a few paces behind we find Joan, Evelyn and Francesall plausible choices for the stylish parent circa 2010.

Rosemarie’s exact meaning is subject to some debate. Take your pick from:

  • She’s a compound name comprised of the floral Rose and the saintly, enduring Marie;
  • She’s a spin on the herbal Rosemary – in which case, she’s also coastal, since rosemary comes from the Latin ros – dew – and marinus – sea. There’s a mythological bonus, too: rosemary was draped about Aphrodite’s shoulders when she emerged from the ocean;
  • Roses are often associated with the Virgin Mary. Rosemarie, then, could be seen as a doubly religious choice;
  • And, of course, ros sometimes means horse, from the Old High German hros, as seen in names like Rosamund.

Regardless of her meanings, a handful of early 20th century uses encouraged parents to bestow the name on their daughters. In Germany, a popular song titled “Rose Marie” caught on, and plenty of baby girls wore the name, sometimes spelled Rosmarie. Or at least I think that’s the case, but I can’t track down the original lyrics, and a handful of songs with similar titles have me confused. (Anyone read German?) German new wave artist Hubert Kah scored a hit with “Rosemarie” in 1982, and again with a rebooted version in 1998.

In the US, child actress Rose Marie Mazetta was a star by the age of five. As “Baby Rose Marie” she sang, appeared on radio and made a handful of films. Unlike many a child star, she graduated from her early career to a long, successful run on television. She played Sally on The Dick Van Dyke Show in the 1960s. Three decades later, she appeared on Murphy Brown.

Then there’s the operetta Rose Marie. The tale of a French Canadian girl in love with a miner debuted on Broadway in 1924. The hit musical inspired a trio of film adaptations. Not only were the stage and screen adaptations wildly popular, the title song caught on, too. The most successful movie version of Rose Marie was released in February 1936. Little wonder that year marked the high point for Rosemarie the name, too.

Many a famous woman answered to the appellation, including two daughters of notable families, including the Kennedys (JFK’s little sister was baptized Rose Marie, usually called Rosemary, but known to her family as Rosie) and the von Trapps (Maria’s eldest daughter was called Rosemarie).

The decidedly retro choice is nickname rich. Besides Rosie and Rosa, Mary and Marie, there’s Romy and maybe even Rory.

As names from the 1930s make a comeback, chances are Rosemarie will be among them.

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. We just names our baby girl RosemariA! It came to us after she was born and it suits her perfectly!

  2. I like Rosemary but not Rosemarie. I think the Marie part feels more dated to me.

  3. I LOVE Rosemary, but dislike Rosemarie. To me they have completely different vibes. I also dislike Marie, so that’s probably why I dislike Rosemarie.