May

First Name
49k
in the U.S.
since 1880
Last Name
103k
in the U.S.
in 2010
Girls
Boys
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Last
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Meaning and Origin

What does the name May mean? Find out below.

Origin and Meaning of May

User Submitted Meanings

  • A submission from United Kingdom says the name May means "Flowers" and is of Unknown origin.
Other origins: Indian (Sanskrit), English, Philippines, and German

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Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
verb May
An auxiliary verb qualifying the meaning of another verb,Ability, competency, or possibility; -- now oftener expressed by can.Liberty; permission; allowance.Contingency or liability; possibility or probability.Modesty, courtesy, or concession, or a desire to soften a question or remark.Desire or wish, as in prayer, imprecation, benediction, and the like.

Etymology: AS. pres. mæg I am able, pret. meahte mihte; akin to D. mogen, G. mögen, OHG. mugan magan, Icel. mega, Goth. magan, Russ. moche. √103. Cf. Dismay Main strength, Might. The old imp. mought is obsolete, except as a provincial word

noun May
A maiden.

Etymology: Cf. Icel. mær, Goth. mawi; akin to E. maiden. √103

noun May
Senses
  1. The fifth month of the year, containing thirty-one days.
  2. The early part or springtime of life."His May of youth, and bloom of lustihood." [Shak.]
  3. [Bot] The flowers of the hawthorn; -- so called from their time of blossoming; also, the hawthorn."The palm and may make country houses gay." [Nash.]"Plumes that mocked the may." [Tennyson.]
  4. The merrymaking of May Day.

Etymology: F. Mai, L. Maius; so named in honor of the goddess MaiaGr. Mai^a), daughter of Atlas and mother of Mercury by Jupiter

Other Dictionary Sources
  1. Thorny Eurasian shrub of small tree having dense clusters of white to scarlet flowers followed by deep red berries; established as an escape in eastern North America
  2. The month following April and preceding June
Wiktionary

From Middle English, from Old English, from Old French mai, from Latin māius (“Maia's month”), from Maia, a Roman earth goddess, possibly from Proto-Indo-European *magya (“she who is great”), from Proto-Indo-European base *meg- (“great”)

  1. The fifth month of the Gregorian calendar, following April and preceding June.
  2. The hawthorn or its blossoms (as it blooms in May)
  3. A female given name, pet name for Mary and Margaret, reinforced by the month and plant meaning.
  4. A surname​.

May was also found in the following language(s): Middle French, Norwegian, and Swedish

Notable Persons Named May

May Pang is a personal assistant, production coordinator, jewellery designer, author, production manager (theatre), jewelry design, and jewellery designerand author. May was born on October 24th, 1950 in New York, US.

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May Reilly Parker Jameson is a comics character.

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May Britt is an actress and singer. Her career lasted from 1952 to 1988. May was given the name Maybritt Wilkens on March 22nd, 1934 in Lidingö.

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May Helen Emma Abel Smith was royalty. She holds the title Born Princess May of Teck. May was born as the child of Alexander Cambridge, 1st Earl of Athlone, Princess Alice, and Countess of Athlone on January 23rd, 1906. She breathed her last breath on May 29th, 1994.

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May J. is a contemporary r&b, urban contemporary, and pop music singing and television presenter. She was most prominent from 2006 to 2006. May was given the name May Hashimoto on June 20th, 1988. May is also known as May J..

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May was born in Philippines.

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Notable Persons With the Last Name May

Theresa May is a Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Transport, Home Secretary, Minister for Women, Equalities, Shadow Secretary of State for Work, Pensions, Shadow Minister for Women, Equality, Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, Shadow Secretary of State for C. Theresa was born on October 1st, 1956 in Eastbourne.

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Brian May is a rock music musician. He plays Red Special and Fender Telecaster. He has had major accomplishments since 1965. Brian was given the name Brian Harold May on July 19th, 1947 in Hampton, Middlesex, England.

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James May is a television presenter, author, columnist, journalist, and wine critic. His most notable accomplishments were from 1998 to present. James was given the name James Daniel May on January 16th, 1963 in Bristol. James is also known as Captain Slow.

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Imelda May is a rockabilly, blues, jazz, pop music, and soul music singer-songwriter, composer, and television presenter. She plays Guitar, Bodhrán, Tambourine, Bass guitar, and Vocals. She was most active from 2002 to present. Imelda was given the name Imelda Mary Clabby on July 10th, 1974 in Dublin.

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Jeannie Berlin is an actress and writer. She has been prominent since 1969. Jeannie was given the name Jeannie Brette May by her parent Elaine May on November 1st, 1949 in Los Angeles, California, U.S.

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Elaine May is a screenwriter, film director, actress, and comedian. Her career lasted from 1958 to 2000. Elaine was given the name Elaine Iva Berlin on April 21st, 1932 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.

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How popular is the baby name May in the U.S.?

Click Here to Show Chart Data
Year Total Babies Born Girls Born Boys Born Ranking
1880 462 462 0 #57 girl name
1881 451 451 0 #58 girl name
1882 518 510 8 #59 girl name
1883 538 532 6 #57 girl name
1884 564 564 0 #61 girl name
1885 612 607 5 #60 girl name
1886 610 602 8 #63 girl name
1887 653 648 5 #61 girl name
1888 793 782 11 #63 girl name
1889 732 723 9 #64 girl name
1890 756 751 5 #65 girl name
1891 701 696 5 #68 girl name
1892 763 753 10 #70 girl name
1893 699 693 6 #73 girl name
1894 771 763 8 #71 girl name
1895 691 691 0 #80 girl name
1896 671 671 0 #82 girl name
1897 603 595 8 #91 girl name
1898 696 696 0 #86 girl name
1899 571 571 0 #95 girl name
1900 749 744 5 #91 girl name
1901 556 550 6 #95 girl name
1902 570 560 10
1903 548 541 7
1904 555 555 0
1905 536 530 6
1906 524 524 0
1907 552 544 8
1908 515 515 0
1909 488 483 5
1910 600 594 6
1911 546 541 5
1912 703 698 5
1913 706 695 11
1914 783 769 14
1915 990 974 16
1916 954 938 16
1917 962 945 17
1918 982 961 21
1919 991 981 10
1920 973 955 18
1921 989 977 12
1922 868 855 13
1923 872 864 8
1924 885 869 16
1925 871 849 22
1926 779 766 13
1927 756 745 11
1928 717 705 12
1929 594 579 15
1930 569 554 15
1931 495 481 14
1932 450 440 10
1933 413 404 9
1934 386 371 15
1935 361 352 9
1936 332 318 14
1937 303 292 11
1938 279 274 5
1939 267 257 10
1940 293 285 8
1941 259 251 8
1942 289 280 9
1943 219 219 0
1944 232 226 6
1945 209 204 5
1946 194 194 0
1947 234 234 0
1948 221 221 0
1949 205 205 0
1950 189 184 5
1951 222 222 0
1952 177 177 0
1953 172 172 0
1954 197 190 7
1955 189 182 7
1956 172 165 7
1957 147 147 0
1958 144 144 0
1959 141 141 0
1960 145 139 6
1961 136 127 9
1962 127 119 8
1963 114 109 5
1964 113 113 0
1965 115 108 7
1966 105 105 0
1967 97 97 0
1968 101 101 0
1969 93 93 0
1970 93 93 0
1971 113 113 0
1972 78 78 0
1973 98 98 0
1974 89 89 0
1975 88 88 0
1976 77 77 0
1977 85 85 0
1978 81 81 0
1979 108 108 0
1980 134 129 5
1981 145 145 0
1982 163 154 9
1983 139 130 9
1984 131 126 5
1985 134 134 0
1986 123 115 8
1987 107 101 6
1988 97 86 11
1989 107 101 6
1990 93 84 9
1991 94 87 7
1992 81 74 7
1993 78 78 0
1994 95 95 0
1995 82 82 0
1996 92 86 6
1997 85 85 0
1998 69 69 0
1999 73 73 0
2000 89 89 0
2001 91 91 0
2002 91 91 0
2003 91 91 0
2004 85 85 0
2005 95 95 0
2006 75 75 0
2007 92 92 0
2008 94 94 0
2009 80 80 0
2010 107 107 0
2011 88 88 0
2012 106 106 0
2013 108 108 0
2014 138 138 0
2015 130 130 0
2016 131 131 0
2017 127 127 0

Where is the name May popular?

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Popularity of May as a first name

The map shows the relative popularity of the name May as a first name in each of the states. See other popular names in Hawaii, Mississippi, or Arkansas.

Popularity of May as a last name

The map shows the relative popularity of the name May as a last name in each of the states. See other popular names in Mississippi, Kentucky, or Arkansas.

Common last names for May

  • Smith
  • Johnson
  • Miller
  • Brown
  • Jones
  • Williams
  • Davis
  • Wilson
  • Anderson
  • White
  • Martin
  • Clark
  • Thompson
  • Moore
  • Taylor
  • Lee
  • Young
  • Harris
  • Baker

Ethnicity Distribution

Ethnicity May U.S.
  White 83.55% 64.26%
  African American 9.57% 11.96%
  Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander 1.22% 4.85%
  American Indian and Alaska Native 0.73% 0.69%
  Two or More Ethnicities 1.89% 1.76%
  Hispanic or Latino 3.04% 16.26%

Of Last Name May

People with the last name May are most frequently White

Entire United States

Fun Facts about the name May

  • What name lists does May rank for?
  • How Popular is the name May? May is the 1,015th most popular name of all time. As a last name May was the 304th most popular name in 2010.
  • How many people with the first name May have been born in the United States? From 1880 to 2017, the Social Security Administration has recorded 48,925 babies born with the first name May in the United States. That's more than enough people named May to occupy the territory of Faroe Islands (Denmark) with an estimated population of 48,285 (as of March 1, 2012).
  • What year were 5 or more babies first named May? The name was first given to 5 or more babies in the year 1880 when it was given as a first name to 462 new born babies.
  • When was May first recorded in the United States? The oldest recorded birth by the Social Security Administration for the first name May is Friday, August 7th, 1863.
  • What year had the most people named May born? The highest recorded use of the first name May was in 1919 with a total of 981 babies.
  • Random May Factoid: According to the 1911 U.S. Social Security Administration data, the first name May ranks 72nd in popularity as a baby girl's name in Washington. Imagine that, 12 babies in Washington have the same name as you in 1911.
  • Weird things about the name May: Your name in reverse order is Yam. A random rearrangement of the letters in your name (anagram) will give Mya. How do you pronounce that?
  • How many people have the last name May? In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau surveyed 103,306 people with the last name May.
  • How likely are you to meet someone with the last name of May? May was ranked as the 304th most popular last name but is still less than 0.1% of the population!

What Mays Have Visited This Page?

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  • Sources:
  • U.S. Census Bureau: Frequently Occurring Surnames from the Census 2000 (public domain).
  • U.S. Social Security Administration: Popular Baby Names, Death Master File (public domain).
  • 1913 Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary via the Collaborative International Dictionary of English (License)
  • Other Dictionary Sources: WordNet 3.1 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University (License).
  • Wiktionary: Titles and License.
  • Notable persons via Wikipedia: Titles and License. Click each image for the attribution information.