Mai is a Japanese female name with a variety of meanings depending on the kanji used:

  • mai  “dance; flit; circle; wheel”
  • ma  “hemp, flax, linen” + 衣 “clothing, garment, dressing” (麻衣);
  • ma  “true; reality; Buddhist sect” + i 愛 “love, affection, favorite” (真愛);
  • mai  “dance; flit; circle; wheel” + 以 “by means of; because; compared to” (舞以);
  • mai  “true; reality; Buddhist sect” + i  “clothing, garment, dressing” (真衣)

There are other meanings depending on the kanji used. Written in hiragana it’s まい. Other forms of the name include Maiko (with the 子 -ko suffix meaning “child”) or Maika. Mai  is also a Vietnamese female name meaning “plum, apricot” from Sino-Vietnamese  (mei). Mai is also a Chinese surname (also transliterated as Mak in Hong Kong Cantonese) written with the character  “wheat; barley; oats” or 麦 “wheat; barley”.

Mai is also a Hebrew unisex name (though used mostly for girls) which comes from the month of May, which comes  from Maiathe name of a Roman goddess of spring, derived from Latin maius meaning “great” derived from PIE root *méǵh₂s (big, great).

It’s also possible that Mai is a Slovene male name, a variant spelling of Maj which is a feminine form of Maja, the Slovene form of Maia.

As an Estonian (and Scandinavian) female name, Mai is used as a short form of Marie/Maria (which comes from Hebrew Miriam, a name of unknown meaning though possible meanings ascribed to it are “sea of bitterness”, “rebelliousness” or “obstinacy”, and “wished for child”. It’s also possible that it might be derived from an Egyptian name either meaning “beloved” from myr, or from mr “love”) or as a shortened form of Maia.

Mai (also spelled May) مي‎ is an Arabic female name though I couldn’t find a concrete meaning behind it. It’s possible that it could be derived from Persian mey می which is used to refer to wine or an alcoholic beverage ultimately derived from PIE *médʰu (honey; mead, intoxicating drink).

Origin: Japanese, Sino-Vietnamese, Proto-Indo-European, Hebrew, Ancient Egyptian, Chinese





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