Via its use in the New Testament the name has been adopted worldwide, especially in Roman Catholicism, but also in Eastern Christianity, in Protestantism, and in Islam. In Latin Christianity, the Greek form Mariam was adopted as latinate Maria (whence French Marie and English Mary). Forms retaining the final -m are found throughout the Middle East, in Arabic, Armenian, Georgian, Urdu, and Persian, as well as the Horn of Africa, including Amharic, Tigrinya, and Somali, Turkish Meryem and the Azerbaijani Məryəm.
The name may have originated from the Egyptian language; in a suggestion going back to 1897, it is possibly derivative of the root mr "love; beloved" (compare mry.t-ymn "Merit-Amun", i.e. "beloved of Amun"). Maas (1912) references (but rejects) a 1906 suggestion interpreting the name as "beloved of Yahweh". Maas (1912) further proposes possible derivation from Hebrew, either from marah "to be rebellious", or (more likely) from mara "well nourished".
The name has a long tradition of scholarly etymologisation; some seventy suggestions are treated by Otto Bardenhewer in monographic form in his Der Name Maria (1895). It was early etymologized as containing the Hebrew root mr "bitter" (cf. myrrh), or mry "rebellious". St. Jerome (writing c. 390), following Eusebius of Caesarea, translates the name as "drop of the sea" (stilla maris in Latin), from Hebrew מר mar "drop" (cf. Isaias 40:15) and ים yam "sea". This translation was subsequently rendered stella maris ("star of the sea") due to scribal error, whence the Virgin Mary's title Star of the Sea. Rashi, an 11th-century Jewish commentator on the Bible, wrote that the name was given to the sister of Moses because of the Egyptians' harsh treatment of Jews in Egypt. Rashi wrote that the Israelites lived in Egypt for two hundred ten years, including eighty-six years of cruel enslavement that began at the time Moses' elder sister was born. Therefore, the girl was called Miriam, because the Egyptians made life bitter (מַר, mar) for her people.
Modern given names derived from Aramaic Maryam are extremely frequent in Christian culture, and, to a lesser extent, due to the Quranic tradition of Mary, the name is also not infrequently given in Islamic cultures. There are a large number of variants and derivations.