Maggie: Getting to Maggie from Marigold and Magdalena

Maggie Simpson

Tons of little girls answer to Addie and EllieMaddie is epidemic.

So why not Maggie?

Margaret is as stalwart a classic as Eleanor, Elizabeth, Charlotte, or Katherine.

And yet, Margaret and Maggie are both relatively rare.  Margaret ranked just #178, behind Daisy, Willow, Summer, and Eden.  Maggie came in at #246.

High profile uses abound.  Jon Stewart has a daughter named Maggie.  So do Faith Hill and Tim McGraw.  But what if you’d like a formal name for your daughter’s birth certificate, but aren’t wild about Margaret?

Read on for a long list of appellations that will get you there!

Getting to Maggie: The Classics

Margaret – The original formal form of Maggie, Margaret has been around for eons.  From the Greek word for pearl – margarites – she’s 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.

Margot – For ages, Margot was one of the few ends-with-o possibilities for a girl.  Our options have expanded, but Margot still feels like a vibrant, appealing name – and it is another way to get to Maggie.

Getting to Maggie: The Imports

Magda – In German and Polish she’s a short form of Magdalena.  But in English, Magda could be the formal name and Maggie the nickname.

Magdalena – You’ll hear her in Poland and Spain, Sweden and Croatia.  In English, she’s evolved into Madeline over the years.  Magdalen or Magdalene are other possibilities.

Margareta, Margarita – The pizza and the drink do make this one tough to wear.  But they are both forms of the name in use elsewhere.

MargueriteWith French names so in vogue, Marguerite seems like the best of both worlds – the stunning, elegant Marguerite, plus the friendly, upbeat Maggie.

Getting to Maggie: The Botanicals

Magnolia – With her -ia ending and floral status, why aren’t we hearing more of Magnolia?

MarigoldMari or even Goldie might be more natural nicknames, but a little Marigold could certainly answer to Maggie, too.

Getting to Maggie: Surnames

Maguire – I met a boy called Maguire years ago, and it has stayed with me.  If girls can answer to Mackenzie and Madison, why not Maguire?

Margolis – She comes from same origins as Margaret – pearl – but makes for an unexpected surname form.

Getting to Maggie: The Rarities

Madrigal – Move over Harmony and Cadence!  It’s time for another musical name, this one from sixteenth century Italy.  A madrigal was a form of secular music.

Magali, Magalie – I’m fascinated by Magali, an Occitan spin on Margaret.

Magdala – Located on the sea of Galilee in the ancient world, it’s the hometown of Mary Magdalene.  The place name comes from the Hebrew word for tower.  She’s an unexpected twist on a classic.

Getting to Maggie: Double Names

Mary Agnes – Another thought for getting to Maggie?  Just like James Xavier could answer to Jax, combining the M of Mary – or Marie or Mae or some other M name – with an Ag- name could be just the thing.  With Agnes attracting attention, why not use Mary Agnes to get to Maggie?

Mary Agatha – Another thought, a slightly more elaborate approach to Maggie.

Are there other names you can imagine using to get to Maggie?  Are you fond of Maggie, Margaret and company?  Or are they not your style?

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26 Comments

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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! :/