[ 3 syll. mar-ga-ret, ma-rgar-et ] The baby girl name Margaret is pronounced as MAARGaa-RehT †. Margaret is of Old Greek origin. It is used mainly in English and Scottish. Original forms of the name include Margarita (Latin), Margarites (Old Greek), and Marguerite (Old French). The name is of the Greek word margaron; some scholars have traced the word to ultimately Hebrew roots, Sanskrit roots, or else Persian roots of the meaning 'child of light'.
The name was borne by Saint Margaret (-304), who was martyred at Antioch in Pisidia under Diocletian. According to legend, she was swallowed by Satan in the form of a dragon, but she escaped by bursting through the monster's side via a cross. The name was adopted in Scotland in the 11th century, promoted by Saint Margaret of Scotland (1045-1093), who married Malcolm III, King of Scots. The popularity of the name in Scotland resulted in the development of forms such as Margery, Marjory, Marjorie, Maisie, Mysie, and May.
The use of the name subsequently spread to other English-speaking countries by the end of the 11th century. In England, the name was later known from Margaret of Anjou (1430-1482), the French queen consort of Henry VI of England. It also appeared as a royal name in many other countries; in Scandinavia, it was borne by Queen Margareta (1353-1412), who ruled over Denmark, Norway and Sweden. In Italy, the name was borne by Margherita of Savoy (1851-1926), the queen consort of Humbert I. Margaret is the feminine form of the Spanish Margarito.
Margaret is a widely used name; it has 207 forms that are used in English and foreign languages. English forms of Margaret include Daisy, Maarit, Mag, Magali, Magaret, Magge, Mago, Maiga, Maighread, Mairead (used in Gaelic and Scottish as well), Maragaret, Maragret, Marared, Marcheta, Marchieta, Marenka, Maretha, Margalo, Margareta (used in Czech, German, Greek, Latinate, Scandinavian, and Slavic as well), Margaretta (used in Latinate as well), Margarette, Margarite, Margaritta, Margart, Margaruite, Margat, Marged (used in Welsh as well), Margeen, Margene, and Margerete. Other English forms include the contracted forms Greta (used in Austrian, German, and Scandinavian as well), Gretta, Madge (used in Scottish as well), Maggy, Marg, Marga (used in Dutch, Estonian, German, and Spanish as well), Meg (used in Welsh as well), Peg, and Rita (used in German, Italian, Polish, and Spanish as well), the familiar forms Gretchen (used in German as well), Grethel, Maegan, Maggi, Maggie, Mags, Mai (used in Scandinavian as well), Maisey (used in Scottish as well), Maisie (used in Scottish as well), Mamie, Marge (used in Scottish as well), Margi, Margie (used in Scottish as well), Margorie, Margot (used in Eastern European, French, and German as well), Margy, Marjie, Marjorie (used in Scottish as well), May (used in Scottish as well), Megan (used in Irish, and Welsh as well), Meggi, Meggie, Meggy, Megs, Metta, Moggy, Peggie (used in Dutch and as well), and Peggy, and the spelling variants Margarett, Margarit, and Margeret.
Forms used in foreign languages include Gitka (Czech), Gitta (Hungarian), Gituska (Czech), Grethe (German and Scandinavian), Grieta (Latvian), Gritli (German), Mairéad (Irish), Mairghead (Scottish), Mairghread (Irish and Scottish), Maisy (Scottish), Makaleka (Hawaiian), Makareta (Maori), Makelesi (Hawaiian and Tongan), Malgorzata (Polish), Manci (Hungarian), Marcail (Scottish), Mared (Welsh), Maret (Scandinavian), Marete (Scandinavian), Margad (Gaelic), Margaid (Gaelic), Margalit (Hebrew), Marganit (Hebrew), Marganita (Hebrew), Margara (Spanish), Margarete (Estonian, German, and Scandinavian), Margaretha (Dutch, German, Scandinavian, and Slavic), Margarid (Armenian), Margarida (Portuguese), and Margarita (Italian, Lithuanian, and Spanish). Specific foreign forms include the contracted forms Gita (Czech, Polish, Slavic, and Yiddish), Greet (Dutch, Frisian, and German), Gret (Dutch, Frisian, and German), Grete (German and Scandinavian), Griet (Dutch, Frisian, and German), Grit (German), Gritt (German), Gritta (German), Magret (German), Maj (Scandinavian), Margit (German, Hungarian, and Scandinavian), Margrit (German), and Margrith (German), the familiar forms Gosia (Polish), Goska (Polish), Greetje (Dutch, Frisian, and German), Gretel (German), Gretje (Dutch, Frisian, and German), Grietje (Dutch, Frisian, and German), Magaidh (Gaelic and Scottish), Malgosia (Polish), Maretta (Scottish), Margita (Czech, Finnish, Hungarian, Polish, and Scandinavian), Meta (German and Scandinavian), Mette (Scandinavian), and Peigi (Gaelic and Scottish), and the spelling variant Margarethe (German and Scandinavian).
Margaret is an all-time favorite. At present it is still popular as a baby girl name, but not as much as it was in the past. Its usage peaked in 1916 with 2.298% of baby girls being named Margaret. It was #4 in rank then. The baby name has markedly slipped in popularity since then, and is in recent times of only modest use. In 2015, it ranked at #154 with a usage of 0.108%, but it was nevertheless the most popular among all girl names in its family. Margaret was used 19% more than the 2nd most popular name, Daisy, in 2015. Margaret has primarily been a baby girl name, although in the last century it has also been used for boys. In 1943, 285 times more baby girls than boys were given the name Margaret.
Baby names that sound like Margaret include Margarete, Margarette, Mairghread, Maragret, Margarett, Margarit, Margarta, Marguerite, Margueritte, Margurite, Marquerite, Maragaret, Margareta, Margaretha, Margaretta, Margarita, Margarite, Margeret, Margerete, and Margerette.
† Pronunciation for Margaret: M as in "me (M.IY)" ; AA as in "odd (AA.D)" ; R as in "race (R.EY.S)" ; G as in "grin (G.R.IH.N)" ; EH as in "ebb (EH.B)" ; T as in "tee (T.IY)"
Details of famous persons named Margaret:
Actress Margaret Hamilton, born 9 December 1902 - 16 May 1985, Cleveland, Ohio.
Actress Meg Ryan, born Margaret Mary Emily Anne Hyra 19 November 1961, Fairfield, Connecticut.
Actress Margot Kidder, born Margaret Ruth Kidder October 17, 1948, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada.
Author Margaret Atwood, born 18 November 1939, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Author Margaret Mitchell, born Margaret Munnerlyn Mitchell 8 November 1900 - 16 August 1949, Atlanta, Georgia.
Author Daisy Ashford, born Margaret Mary Julia Ashford 7 April 1881 - 15 January 1972, Petersham, Surrey, England.
Ballerina Margot Fonteyn, born Margaret Hookham 18 May 1919 - 21 February 1991, Reigate, Surrey, England.
Politician Margaret Thatcher, born Margaret Hilda Roberts 13 October 1925 - 8 April 2013, Grantham, England.
Royalty Princess Margaret, born 21 August 1930 - 9 February 2002, Glamis Castle, Scotland.
Social Reformer Margaret Sanger, born Margaret Louise Higgins 14 September 1879 - 6 September 1966, Corning, New York.