Now that we’ve discussed Margaret’s nicknames, we’ll discuss all the different forms this versatile name can take. There are easily as many forms of Margaret as there are of Elizabeth and Catherine, so this post will probably be a long one! Luckily, most forms seem to be fairly easy and intuitive for English speakers, so I won’t have to pull the hated “beautiful, but unusable” phrase often. (I’m looking at you, Katarzyna.) Well, there’s not much more to say, so let’s get started on the list!
- Małgorzata– The Polish form of Margaret, pronounced, according to a friend, as maw-go-ZHAH-tah. This seemed to match up pretty well with BtN’s transcription (maw-gaw-ZHAH-tah), so I’ll assume it’s correct. I can’t say I find it too attractive. The “maw” sound isn’t one that lends itself well to an attractive name, I think. However, as always, I find the z interesting and overall look of the name neat. Polish names tend to do that to me: even if I don’t find them attractive, they’re always interesting! Another tidbit: According to Verity, who writes the Appellation Mountain blog, the standard Polish nickname for Margaret (so I assume this variant as well) is Gosia, pronounced GO-sheh. You learn something new every day!
- Maret– This is the Estonian form of Margaret. I pronounce it MAH-ret, but I have no clue how it would be pronounced in Ethiopian, and haven’t been able to find anything on the internet. I think it’s a really nice unusual choice for a girl, short and snappy. My only problem would be the pronunciation ambiguity; it’s the same thing as naming a daughter Genevieve without knowing it’s pronounced zhawn-VYEV in its native country.
- Marged/Margaid– I think that the Welsh form Marged would work very well for a young girl in America. The pronunciation MAR-ged is intuitive, and the sound strong but feminine. It seems like a legitimate name as well, in the way the people see something foreign and recognize it as such instead of thinking you made it up; this is good, since made-up names, while gaining in popularity, aren’t, well, the best, at least in my eyes. Then again, maybe I’m putting too much faith in people. I still give Marged the thumbs-up! Margaid is the Manx form, pronounced in the same way, as far as I can tell.
- Mairead– This is the Scottish form, and if you add an accent over the e, the Irish form. It’s pronounced mar-ADE. I think it’d be a little hard to use; I’m finding it a little hard to say, but that might just be me. It runs together too much or something. Ma-rade. I think it could work, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
- Margareta/Margarete/Margarethe– These forms are German, Slovene, Danish, Dutch, and Scandinavian. They seem to be pronounced more or less the same. The only difference is the ending vowel: Margareta ends in tah while the other variants have a schwa. In American English, they’re more likely than not going to be the same, so use Margareta, as it is the most phonetic. I love these variants. They have the international style of Margarita without the pesky drink association, and are very rich in sound. A Margareta can go almost anywhere and have a recognizable name, and the name balances the strength of Margaret with the femininity that a Latinate ending affords. Just perfect!
- Margarita– Unfortunately, this name has been tainted by the alcoholic drink of the same name. Not usable, in my opinion. I much prefer Margareta, anyway.
- Margery/Marjorie– Not a foreign form, but a medieval one. The spelling Marjorie was influenced by the herb marjoram, but even this botanical connection cannot make me prefer it over Margery, which has an 1800s sweetness about it. Don’t ask me why, but it makes me think of the English countryside! I think this name hits a really good spot: instantly recognizable, yet completely uncommon. It was fairly popular in the 20s, but I don’t find it dated. I also think the nursery rhyme See Saw Margery Daw keeps the name familiar.
- Margit/Margita– Mar-GEET and Mar-GEE-ta, respectively. Margit is Hungarian and Scandanavian, while Margita is Hungarian and Slovak. I think they’re intuive and rather nice, a good alternative if you like the sound of Margarita but not the alcohol connotation. You might get some people thinking Mar-GIT, though. Hm, the only problem I see is the proximity to the word maggot, rather the same problem I have with Margot.
- Margriet– Mar-KHREET, the Dutch form. Kh is said like the ch in loch. Unfortunately, I don’t find this form useable; the pronunciation isn’t reasily apparent, and the sound itself might be difficult for some English speakers to get. I can actually say this one, bu that’s not to say everyone could! This is best left to the Dutch, I think.
- Marguerite– The French form of Margaret, and one instantly recognizable in the Americas (and Great Britian, I’ll warrant). I like Marguerite’s soft sound and French sensibility, but overall I’m preferring the sternness of Margaret and international flair of Margareta these days. However, I would love to see more little Marguerites; it was last on the top 1000 in the 1960s, and isn’t too horribly dated. Two enthusiastic thimbs up for Marguerite!
- Marit/Maritta-The Norweigan and Swedish, and Finnish forms of Margaret, respectively. I think the sound is cute and the pronunciation easy. (Mah-REET). Its sound works in America’s contemporary naming landscape and still comes across unfussy and unusual, so I definitely thinks it works! I would love to see baby Marits!
- Margalit– This is actually the Hebrew word for pearl, and may be seen as more of a “gem name” than Margaret is, traditionally. However, I think Margalit works nicely as a form of Margaret. It’s different enough to be distinct, but similar enoughn to be familiar. I would expect a Jewish girl to be bearing this name, though, so if you love Margalit, be prepared to be assumed Jewish. Not that that’s a bad thing, of course.
So ends the Margaret information train. What are your favorite forms of this oh-so-versatile name?