Today’s Name of the Day is not only an endangered species herself, she’s part of a cluster of names once much in favor in Roman Catholic countries and now seldom heard. They’re the Marians – names taken from titles given to the Virgin Mary, or in some cases, from her major life events or places with shrines to the saint.

Thanks to Katharine for challenging us with Assumpta.

Assumpta is from the Latin for assumption. If you’ve studied your catechism, you’ll know that for Roman Catholics, Mary’s soul and body were assumed into heaven as one. (Those of us who did not give birth to the saviour must shuck our physical selves before entering the pearly gates.) It’s one of many miraculous events associated with the Blessed Virgin. You might hear the name in use in Italian or Irish families – pronounced ah SOOM tah – but most are probably more familiar with Asunción – ah soon see OHN, the Spanish version.

While it’s an undeniably religious choice, compared to some favorites in recent years, it’s actually almost subtle. Consider the popularity of Nevaeh (#31), Trinity (#72) and Genesis (#139), and the Marians don’t sound impossibly holy after all.

Ever since Madonna became a 20th century pop icon and called her firstborn Lourdes – one of the few Marian names that can almost be considered mainstream – the Marians need not be reserved only for Catholics.

Rest assured, though, that most bearers of the name Assumpta in the US were Roman Catholic. Many, in fact, were women who took the name along with religious orders. Check old census records and “Assumpta” or “Mary Assumpta” is frequently preceded by “Sister.” But not always – in fact, enough women were called Assumpta in both the US and Australia that it must’ve been an uncommon, but not unheard of, choice for women in the 19th century.

The name is staggeringly pretty, and today calls to mind the cathedrals of Europe, the smell of incense and the sound of chanting. With plenty of Catholics nostalgic for the Latin mass, it’s easy to imagine that some would consider reviving these old school choices.

Assumpta Serna is a well-known Barcelona-born actress. Back in the 1980s, she even guest-starred on Falcon Crest. In the late 1990s, Assumpta Fitzgerald was the defiant and ill-fated pub owner on the BBC’s drama Ballykissangel, set in Northern Ireland. It’s a throwback name, and one that has never appeared in the Top 1000 in the US, but not one ever completely out of circulation, either.

All that said, Assumpta is among the least wearable of the Marians. There’s no viable nickname option – those first three letters really are a problem, even for those of us disinclined to giggle. And Umpta doesn’t quite work as a diminutive, either.

Here’s a short list of other Marian monikers, some of which might be worth considering:

  • Consuelo
  • Dolores
  • Lourdes
  • Luz
  • Maris
  • Mercedes
  • Pilar
  • Rosario
  • Soledad

And, of course, Mary, Marie, Maria and her infinite variants have done just fine through the centuries, too.

Assumpta is a dramatic choice – the kind of name that will never go unnoticed and rarely pass unremarked. We can’t help but feel that while there’s much to love in this spiritual name, it’s ultimately best reserved for the middle spot.

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.

You May Also Like:

What do you think?


  1. I love my name as well. But when I was in elementary and middle school, I did have some issues with it. Children can sometimes be awful to others. But as we all got older I began to appreciate my name because it was no longer a joke. People started to ask questions and complimented it, instead of criticing the spelling. I only started to resent my name when others responded to it poorly. I would hide it by asking to be called by my middle name, even though I liked Assumpta. But when I got into High School I went back to my first name. If you are an Assumpta and have actually read this all the way through, I know first hand that you are or had experienced something similar. However, don’t try to hide your name like I did. It’s beautiful and one of a kind. Today I still get those people who feel they need to express to me how much they dislike my name, but all I can say is don’t listen to them. Your name is awesome don’t let anyone tell you other wise. Best part about having this name makes you a step more instersting compared to someone who is named Sarah, or John. Not that those aren’t great names but usually someone knows more John’s and Sarah’s, than Assumpta’s.

  2. My name is Assumpta and my whole life I have been receiving compliments and questions. People always say how lovely my name is. It sticks. It may make it easier to find me on social media but I like that people know me as the one Assumpta in their lives. It makes for great conversation too about its origin, meaning etc. I would definitely recommend it if anything as a middle name. It sounds pretty too. Would I have liked other names? Sure. But I don’t think many match the uniqueness and curiosity this one attracts.

    1. i love my name so dearly .many people also love the name why some promise to name there daughter if they give birth.

  3. I actually never liked my name Assumpta but after geting its meaning i have learnt to live with it. I’m now 28!

    1. Is it possible to get a picture of St. Maria Assumpta? I have a Parish whose patron saint is this mother.
      Galiwango Raymond

  4. I love Spanish names! I’m part Puerto Rican. But I’m not Christian, so Assumpta is not a name I would consider. It’s almost impossible to find a Spanish name that has nothing to do with Catholisism, it’s so ingrained in their culture.