Maggie names range from the obvious Margaret to the well-why-not Marigold, with plenty of options in between.
As nicknames go, Maggie feels like a classic. It’s heard in nearly every era. There’s Dame Maggie Smith and Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May.” More recently, Maggie Q and Maggie Gyllenhaal are among many actors with the name. And that’s not counting fictional Maggies, like the youngest character on The Simpsons.
It might work independently, of course. In the 1880s, the US popularity charts list just Maggie as a Top 100 name.
But chances are that most Maggies have a formal name waiting. With so many options, it’s tempting to pair friendly, accessible Maggie with a surprising longer version.
If that idea appeals to you, this list of Maggie names is your starting point!
As as Elizabeth and Katherine, timeless Margaret is the obvious formal name for Maggie. And Maggie? It’s the go-to nickname.
Originally from the Greek word for pearl – margarites – Margaret has been worn by saints and queens, writers and politicians. In any field of endeavor, there’s an accomplished Margaret, and a surprising number of them answered to Maggie – at least at some point in their lives.
Move over Harmony and Cadence! Madrigal makes for another musical name, this one from sixteenth century Italy. The term originally referred to a type of secular music. The connection to Encanto – it’s the magical family’s surname – helps, too.
MAGALI and MAGALIE
Originally an Occitan form of Magdalena, Magali/e seems like the most obvious of the Maggie names on this list – and yet both spellings are very rare in the US.
Another Magdalena nickname, Magda is heard mostly in German, Polish, and other parts of eastern Europe. But in English, Magda might be the full name and Maggie the short form.
A place name from the ancient world, Magdala stood on the shores of the sea of Galilee. Mary Magdalene called it home – hence her name. Magdalene has been whispered down the alley into Madeline and Madelyn, but the original place name belongs with the Maggie names. It comes from a Hebrew word meaning tower.
MAGDALENA and MAGDALENE
Heard in Poland and Spain, Sweden and Croatia, this pan-European name borrowed from Magdala is an another appealing possibility.
A fast-rising floral, Magnolia benefits from that -lia ending and lots of nicknames, including, of course, Maggie.
MAGNILDA, MAGNHILD, and MAGNHILDE
Like your names nearly extinct? Crushed that Matilda feels mainstream? Magnilda and Magnhilde come from Germanic elements meaning “mighty” and “battle.” It has history in Scandinavia, thanks to a nineteenth century Norwegian novel by the name.
If girls can answer to Mackenzie and Madison, why not Maguire?
MARGARETA and MARGARITA
The pizza and the drink make Margarita challenging in English, but it is the version of the name most common in Spanish, as well as several Slavic languages.
Hebrew Margalit also comes from the Greek “pearl,” making it a cousin to Margaret and a possible formal name for Maggie.
In Israel, Marganita refers to a flowering plant, and so fits right in with so many botanical favorites.
Like Maguire, Margolis is a surname name that ultimately traces its roots to margarites – pearl, just like Margaret.
MARGOT and MARGO
Ends-with-o names for girls are among the most vibrant choices in use today, and Margot is the grande dame – for many years, the only familiar choice ending with o for a daughter. Today Margot feels traditional, slightly bohemian, and terribly appealing. Few parents choose Margot to shorten it to Maggie, but the Margots themselves may choose to do so.
The French form of Margaret, elegant and rare.
Another name that’s just as vivacious and blooming as Magnolia, but even rarer, Marigold could shorten to Maggie – though Goldie and Mari might seem more obvious.
MARY AGNES and MARY AGATHA
Here’s an unexpected entry on the Maggie names list: any double name that includes a strong M and G sound, with an ‘a’ in there, too. Mary Agnes and Mary Agatha spring to mind, but possibilities abound. Mary Greta or Mae Gabrielle, maybe?
Like Margot, Megan evolved as a pet form of Margaret. We usually imagine it shortening to Meg, but it could just as easily be Maggie.
What are your favorite Maggie names?
First published on May 24, 2013, this post was revised substantially and re-published on May 27, 2021 and again on March 13, 2023.
How’s this for something different, leading to Maggie or Margo? – the Hebrew name Marganita, a rare flower name..
The famous British writer Marghanita Laski was given this name by her father, after the scarlet pimpernel flower he had seen growing in Israel.
My great grandmother was named Mary Agnes. I’ve always loved the combination!
Mrs. W says
I just had a daughter in July and named her Magdalena. My husband really liked the NN Maggie but we didn’t want to get there from Margaret. My other top choice was Mary Agnes (Agnes is a family name for me) but it was “too Catholic” for my husband. So far we have been very happy with Magdalena.
I also like Margot.
I like Marigold, but I prefer Molly as a nickname.
I love Magdalena from this list, also Madalena which is very close. I love the nickname Maggie, but one of our cats is named Maggie (we call her Mags too sometimes) and I’m not crazy about Maddie.
Marguerite and Mary Agnes are both family names, and I think they are both gorgeous. Great list–I would add surname Madigan (also in my family tree), and Margery/Marjorie.
Good additions – thank you!
Sara A. says
Margalit is a Hebrew name that’s gone out of style in Israel that works well here. It also means “pearl” and is pronounced Mar-GAH-leet.
That’s a great addition to the list, Sara. Thank you!
The ‘ag’ sound in Maggie does seem to be a turnoff to some people, although the hard G sound itself is present in some of the more popular names of today – Logan and Abigail, for instance. I think Maggie and Mags are cute nicknames, although I wonder if Greta or even Daisy, Peg or Meg wouldn’t be the trendier choice of nickname from Margaret these days.
I like Marigold as a name, but the flower leaves me cold and I could never use it for that reason. I have the same problem with Zinnia and Dahlia – gorgeous names, uninteresting flowers (at least to me).
I hope to see Megan make a resurgence some day; Meg is such a pretty nickname.
I guess if you name your daughter Zinnia, you’re setting her up for a lifetime of receiving bouquets of zinnias. And certainly you know what your “congratulations on your new baby” flowers will be … Hmmm … It’s a good point. Is it enough to love the name, or do you have to love the blooms, too?
Margaret is lovely. Sweet, mature. Magda is short and fun. Love Magdalena, one of my favorites along with Magnolia and Marigold.
As for what I’d use… Maewyn Persephone Grace “Maggie Grace” has pretty much been “the name” for several years now.
That’s such a gorgeous name!
Alexia Mae says
What about Maggie as a nn for Pearl?
My cousin has a daughter who is just named Maggie. She was named after our Grandma Margaret, so I sort felt like that took Margaret out of the running for others in this generation. Despite that, I toyed with Marjolein or Marjolaine (the herb marjoram in Dutch and French) While Maggie isn’t an intuitive nickname, it would be one way to make the exotic names more approachable. With that in mind I could see Maggie as a nickname for Morgaine or Morgan.
I really like the idea of a Mary Agnes going by Maggie!
I’m a Madelyn, who goes by Maddie, and I was often called Maggie by mistake. With that said, I’m not a huge fan of Maggie- maybe it’s my childhood annoyance at having to correct people, or maybe it’s the “ag” sound that really bothers me. I even crossed Agatha off my list because I was afraid of the nickname Aggie.
I agree with Eva and would be more inclined to use Daisy, Greta, or Pearl.
Maggie is okay, that “ag” sound isn’t too pleasant I guess, though I do love Magali/Magalie. If it got more exposure somehow, I could definitely see it catching on as an alternative to Emily.
If I ever used Margaret, I feel like there are much better nickname options than Maggie. I’d be more inclined to use Daisy, Margo, Greta, Mae, Maisie or even Meg.
C in DC says
For a long time, I liked Madelyn Grace, nn Maggie. I dislike the nn Maddie. (Her sisters were to be Carolyn Ruth (Carrie) and Kathryn Drew (Kady).)
Hmm..my sister is a Carolyn Ruth. Just goes by Carolyn. Thank God, too, because I ended up with a SIL named Carrie (not a nn). I’m a Catherine, and I think you and my parents would get along in name tastes. 🙂
So am I the only one who knows multiple Maggies that are Megans/Meghans/Meagans etc? (NOT Megs oddly) I don’t feel like Maggie ever went “away” style-wise, it only swapped forms of Margaret in the eighties?
I’m oddly fond of Megan.
I do adore Marguerite, Magnolia, and Marigold and consider them usable. Can’t get into Margaret at all.
Interesting … I had Megan on the list initially, but thought it was a stretch. I’ve never known anyone who used Maggie as a nn for Megan, but I suppose it works.
Megan Zimmer says
My name is Megan actually and the only nickname I’ve ever had that was a play on my name was May-May from my grandpa, but I’ve always loved the name Maggie as a nickname.
When just a girl, I dreamed of having a Margaret nicknamed Maggie. Then my father named not one, but TWO labrador retrievers Maggie. They still have the second Maggie. She turned 14 this spring, and has been the best dog. With that said, I’ll never have a Maggie, but I would love to meet a little Maggie, regardless of the full name. My favorites are Margaret, Marigold, Margot, Magdalene, and Mary Agnes/Agatha.
Oh dear – I can see that would take Maggie off the list!
I adore the name Maggie. It has a sweet yet spunky feel to me. I have to say I like it best on its own though, which is unusual for me. It just feels more substantial to me than Maddy, Addy, or even Ellie. I do really like Magdalena and Magnolia but they would not work with a long surname and they just do not seem as usable to me as just Maggie does.
After reading The Host, using Magnolia to get to Maggie seems very natural. I love Maggie for so many reasons! The only hurdle- my in-laws named their last calf Maggie… the one we ate! :/