French and English: from the popular medieval female personal name, Latin Maria. This was the name of the mother of Christ in the New Testament, as well as several other New Testament figures. It derives from Aramaic Maryam (Biblical Hebrew Miryam), but the vernacular forms have been influenced by the Roman family name Marius (which is of uncertain origin). The Hebrew name is likewise of uncertain etymology, but perhaps means ‘wished-for child’, from an Egyptian root mrj with the addition of the Hebrew feminine diminutive suffix -am. St. Jerome understood it as a compound of mar ‘drop’ + yam ‘sea’, which he rendered as Latin stilla maris, later altered to stella maris ‘star of the sea’, whence the medieval Christian liturgical phrase.