One of the small class of girls' names taken from vocabulary words denoting birds. Mavis is another word for the song thrush, first attested in Chaucer. It is from Old French, and probably ultimately of Breton origin. The given name is not found before the last decade of the 19th century; it was popular in the 1930s and 40s but has since gone out of fashion.
Irish: reduced form of O’Hayden, an Anglicized form of Gaelic Ó hÉideáin and Ó hÉidín ‘descendant of Éideán’ or ‘descendant of Éidín’, personal names apparently from a diminutive of éideadh ‘clothes’, ‘armor’. There was also a Norman family bearing the English name (see 2 below), living in County Wexford.