Name of the Day: Meeka

Sometimes a name should be a name – a popular one, even – but never quite catches on.

Thanks to Sassy for suggesting Meeka as Name of the Day.

Quick, what’s the feminine version of Michael? Legions of men have worn the name. It is unimaginable that there wasn’t a common feminization in use.

Except that none of the contenders caught on until after World War II. Consider:

  • Michelle, the current power name in Washington, didn’t chart in the US Top 1000 at all until the 1930s;
  • Michaela was seldom heard until the rise of Kayla inspired Mikayla, Makayla and company;
  • Micaela, the Italian variant of Michaela, fared even worse and dropped out of the Top 1000 entirely in 2007, even as Francesca and Adriana remained fashionable;
  • Along with Noah and other ends-in-a picks for boys, Micah has risen as a masculine moniker, reaching #126 in 2007. But Micah was also #772 for girls – and has been crossing the gender line since the 1970s. While that will craze some, Micah traces his roots to the Old Testament Micaiah – bestowed upon boys and girls;
  • Plenty of girls have gone by Mickey, Mickie and, taking a cue from Nikki, Mikki and Miki are sometimes seen, too;
  • Variants like Michalina and Michaelette appear occasionally in US Census records;
  • The actress known for playing the beloved matriarch of television’s The Waltons was named Michael Learned.

Suddenly Meeka seems as reasonable an alternative as any. She also has some international credibility:

  • In Dutch, Mieke is a pet name for Maria. While the pronunciation isn’t obvious for English speakers, it is MEE kah;
  • Mica is a variant of Michal, a feminine Hebrew name. In the Old Testament, she’s Saul’s daughter and David’s wife. The name is not related to Michael – instead, Michal means brook;
  • Mika is the Finnish short form of Mikael – and yes, masculine in metro Helsinki;
  • Mika and Miki are both Japanese feminine names. There are plenty of Japanese women wearing the names – the element mi means beauty.

A handful of women have answered to the name, including actress Mika Boorem, remembered for her recurring role on Dawson’s Creek. Meeka Reen is a minor character from a Star Wars comic.

And yet Meeka is hamstrung by her spelling. The name sounds bold, but the spelling is, well, meek. Mika, Mikka or even Myka are just as likely to be seen as variants of Micah – and pronounced accordingly. Of course, the possible confusion hasn’t stopped plenty of parents from choosing Mia and Mya.

If you can overlook the hassle of spelling and pronouncing your daughter’s name time and again – a challenge shared by many – Meeka emerges as appealingly cross-cultural. She’s simple, but sharper and more energetic than homespun options like Hannah and Clara. If you want to raise a boucning baby globe-trotter, Meeka could be one to consider.

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15 Comments

My name is mieka and it is not from the names michael or micah or maria. It is a dutch name originally from the name Domenica meaning “of the lord” or “Gods child”

i think my nam eis great everyone loves it and so do i 🙂 i am 13 years old and i AM NOT Japanese i am mixed with many different things. I THINK ITS BETTER THAN MECCA !!!!

I’m glad that no one has responded entirely negativly towards Meeka. One of the reasons I suggested her was to gauge everyone’s response.

We have picked out a name in the instance of both a boy or girl (less than a month now!) and Meeka was so almost one of those names! She is still hanging around for an alternative if we grow tired of the name we picked.

The Mika spelling dosen’t appeal to me AT ALL. I think this would be pronounced Mye-kah or Mik-kah instead of my prefered pronounciation Mee-kah. The accociation with Micheal, if anything, makes me like it less, so keeping that element of the name isn’t important. And I don’t really care about the ‘Meek’ element either – to me that makes it all the more virtueous.

Thanks for this post. Very imformative – wait till I tell him Meeka is from Star Wars!

I think Meeka is cute. Not for me but still cute. I think I woulduse it as a nickname possible for Michelle or Melika. Something like that. But thankyou for suggesting i love the different names. I think as spelling goes I like Mieka because Meeka is quite nicknameish

One of my friends is called Mieka (Spelt like that) and I just assumed her parents made it up. Had no idea it was related to Michael! Interesting post, thanks for this.

A new little cousin of mine was just born, named Meika Marie. I have no idea how they came up with that spelling of the name, but I like it better than Meeka! I think Mieke is my favorite version, however.

Not for me. My first thought? Reminds me of the word meerkat. Really, every time I read it, I had to remind myself it wan’t related. Funnily enough, considering M is my last initial, there are very few M girl names I like. A mere 18 are on my favorites list. There’s double that on the boys side.

I would never have associated Meeka with Michael either. Michaela, Michelle, Micaiah and Micah, yes. But Meeka looks invented to me. Mika works a bit better, it at least looks a bit like Mike and a lot less “meek” too. I’ve never met one. The Chinese & Japanese girls I’ve met have older names: Shirley, Helen, Sylvia, Holly, Yvonne, for example. But I can see Mika appealing to someone wanting something that travels well. I wouldn’t be put out upon meeting a Mika, I just wouldn’t use it on one of mine. 😀

For exactly the reason mentioned I prefer the spelling Mika to Meeka. I’ve known a Mika or two (Japanese girls, not surprisingly)… While the sound of the name is pretty and I had not previously thought about it being Meek-a (because it was Mi-ka as I’d known it), the immediate association with Meeka is “meek” as you mentioned, and that’s not really something I’m loving. Sticking with Mika, and spelling it/ explaining the pronunciation is more acceptable. It also is very much associated with Japanese women in my mind (because that’s the only place I have heard the name)… I would not have related it to Michael. But other people may not have such a strong mental link between the name and Japan? It’s a pretty name, but not quite my style, and definitely not for my own child…