Mac is back in a big way in the baby-naming world. Originality is the name of the game lately, with many trendy parents looking for names that will hearken back to ancestral cultures, raise a few eyebrows with interesting spelling, or delight fellow hipsters with the obscurity of it. Creativity is reaching new heights as parents search through long lists of names hoping to find the gem that will best describe their new arrival. Names including “mac” somehow convey a sense of that tough-talking but smart maverick that can always achieve success through hard work.
Once upon a time, names with “mac” were often associated with slow or dimwitted characters—or wise guys who operated on the crooked rather than the straight and narrow—but now “mac” names have a cool factor that's hard to deny. Thanks in part to vastly more positive attitudes towards Irish- and Scottish-inspired names and also to an enthusiastic exploration of original sounds and combinations, parents could be forgiven for struggling to settle on a name—there are just so many possibilities out there now. Expectant parents should try out first and last name together to get a great sounding combination that'll stand out, whether in elementary school or when she's running her own business. Start here with 25 “Mac” Names That Are So Original.
Always a popular name in Ireland, Cormac is swiftly gaining in popularity in the US as a hip choice, despite its long history. Cormac comes from the old Irish language and means 'son of the charioteer,' according to Baby Names Of Ireland. The most famous Irish Cormac was a great ruler at Tara who was known for his wisdom and forthrightness. Cormac is almost always considered a boy's name and is sometimes spelled Cormack, although Cormac is closest to the original.
In 1985, Patrick Smith wrote A Land Remembered, a saga following the MacIvey family from their origins in the red clays of Georgia to the modernization of a tract of Florida land that is irrevocably changed, according to the New York Times. Each generation of MacIveys in Smith's book builds upon the one before, and because of the nuances and grim realities of the book, it continues to be widely read in Florida and beyond. This gives MacIvey a literary tie that fits in with the growing fondness for literary baby names.
Winamac is the current spelling for the name of a Potawatomi chief who lived in present-day Indiana in the 1800s, according to Pulaski Online. Modern Winamac is a small town in the Midwest that gives few clues to the significance of the name Winamac and the enforced march of several bands of Native Americans from their original homes, as per Citizen Potawatomi. One way many of us honor our heritage is by recalling the great names of the past so that they continue to live on in our children.
Once a Gaelic surname derived from the words “mac” and “Fhiodhbhuidhe,” which means “woodsman,” as per House Of Names, Macavoy is ready to move up in the name order to first place. Macavoy seemingly originated in the southeastern county of Leinster in Ireland as MacAvoy, and modern parents are checking this name out either to honor a family member's last name or to link back to possible ancestral ties. There are a number of spelling variations, but we like Macavoy with an “a” best as a gender-neutral name option.
The sound of MacKenna might not seem totally original, but the spelling certainly is. The way MacKenna is spelled highlights the origin of the name, which means 'son of Kenneth' or 'son of the handsome one,' as per Nameberry. What's so interesting is that, in the US, parents love the name MacKenna, but usually with a different spelling and always as a girl's name—MacKenna and its variants have never registered on any official lists as being given to a baby boy.
Camac is another surname with a long history of spelling permutations and links to England, Ireland, and possibly even the Netherlands, according to Guild Of One Name Studies. Camac is how it's most commonly spelled in Ireland, and the name also lends itself to a river running through Dublin that eventually empties into the river Liffey. Parents might bring the surname forward as part of the growing trend, or they may like it as a completely original variant on the sound of the more common—yet still rare—name Cormac.
Most people in the US have forgotten that MacGyver was a surname with a long Gaelic heritage because they associate it with the famous character of the eponymous show MacGyver, as per Oxford Dictionaries. The show was so popular for the lead character's ingenious ability to get out of any situation with the most outrageous inventions. Although the show ran from the late '80s to the early '90s, the legend of MacGyver lives on as a commonly used verb and a quirky baby name choice.
The MacRae Clan of Scotland is a proud and ancient family, and over the years, immigrants have come to the US with the last name. Originally meaning “son of grace,” Macrae as a first name is a rarity but not totally unknown, as per Baby Names. Several times, the name Macrae has ranked in the top 10,000 names. Despite its masculine origins, Macrae could be considered a gender-neutral name, and a slightly more complex take on the simpler name Rae or Ray.
Mortal Kombat diehard fans will recognize the name Ermac in an instant. From humble beginnings in the earliest Mortal Kombat games as an Error Macro message, Ermac eventually developed into a ninja with the depth of multiple souls in one body, according to CBR. Ermac may have begun as reality created from rumor, but gamers who have loved the Mortal Kombat series over the years might bequeath the name Ermac on a son without a hint of a joke, as the current Ermac is a multifaceted and well-respected character.
Many parents might not realize that Macayla is a feminized variation on the name Michael, itself derived from the Hebrew for “who is like God,” as per BabyCenter. While never a top-of-the-list baby girl name, Macayla has certainly dropped down since its heyday at the turn of the millennia. Macayla would be an original way to honor a family member named Michael, rather than the more commonly known Michelle. Sometimes spelled with a k, we prefer Macayla for its sweet simplicity.
There's nothing ugly about the name Macleod, despite the original meaning of the root name Leod. Macleod is the Anglicized form of the Gaelic 'Mhic Leòid,' according to ScotWeb. The Highland Scottish clan in modern day is actually comprised of two distinct branches, although certainly, scions have emigrated to various points in the world—including the US—over the years. The original Leod was said to have descended from either Olaf, rulerof Mann, or Magnus, who was also a leader.
Place names are winning right now in the baby name world, and place names in other countries often inspire parents with either their exotic flair or the nostalgia of cultural ties. Tormac is the name of a modern-day commune in Romania, but the area has been populated since Roman times, as per Tormac. Although the area in Romania wasn't assigned the name Tormac until the Treaty of Paris, signed after WWI, it is probably based on the name Tormas, which was in use in the area already.
It's not clear exactly how the first name Maclen came into being, but it's possible it could be based on the Scottish last name MacLean. Whatever the origin, Maclen is quietly moving up the baby name ranks, although still relatively unknown as of yet, according to BabyCenter. The times that the baby name Maclen was found in registries, it was always on lists for boys. The name Maclen conjures up images of a brisk day on the glens and can easily be shortened to the fun and popular Mac.
Simply a fun change-up on the more traditional spelling, Macsimillian gives an ancient name a creative modern twist. Even the name Maximilian as it was originally given was a blend of the two great Roman generals Maximus and Aemilianus, as per Baby Name Wizard. Maximus, of course, comes from the Latin word meaning “greatest,” and few would blame parents for thinking of their son in such grandiose terms. Maximilian has become fairly popular, so exploring new forms like Macsimillian is a fun way to riff on an old favorite.
Place names as baby names are all the rage, but well-known places are getting snapped up fast by forward-thinking parents. One name we can bet no parent has heard of yet is Uzlomac. The name is primarily assigned to a long mountain in modern-day Bosnia, and also is given to a geologic sequence of chert, which is a cryptocrystalline quartz, according to Karamata et al. per ResearchGate. Parents can decide whether Uzlomac is original or too obscure, but we know no one else will have it.
Despite the dark tones of the play MacBeth, this Shakespearean name has lived on as a fan favorite for hundreds of years and continues to be a rare but striking baby name choice, according to BabyCentre UK. Parents needn't worry that a fresh-faced baby boy will be saddled with all the moodiness and angst of the original MacBeth. A certain small segment might also be thinking not only of Shakespeare but also of M. C. Beaton's character Hamish Macbeth, as per Goodreads.
Thanks to the widespread practice of writing names down as they were heard, and the fact that handwriting can easily be copied incorrectly or misinterpreted, the names Macias and Matthew share a common origin, according to Surname Database. Probably the biggest difference between the two names is that Matthew has easily moved forward to given name status, while Macias is far less well-known. Perhaps its time has come. Many who are familiar with the last name Macias know it from its Hispanic ties.
Once the name for a settlement in modern-day Virginia, Potomac is the name that now graces the river made famous in the minds of many schoolchildren when Washington famously crossed it. The origin of Potomac is agreed to be Algonquian, but the purported meaning of “something brought” is not as well established, according to Dictionary. Parents searching baby name lists these days shouldn't be surprised to see the name of a natural feature make the list, as nature and place names are super trendy at the moment.
Those of Irish origin easily recognize Macguyre and several similar spelling variations, and the surname has a long and storied history in Ireland, according to House Of Names. The name Macguyre probably originated from the old Irish word odhar/uidhir, which means “dun [brown] colored.” The traditional seat of the family Macguyre is in the county of Ulster in Northern Ireland, but as the Irish emigrated to North America and Australia in droves in the 1840s, the name has become familiar, yet gains originality in being assigned first name status.
Bob Mackie's designs were unmistakable and full of glamour. He was a Southern California native who went on to become internationally known, designing for television shows, concert tours, theater and ballet, and even a line of dolls for Barbie, according to Bob Mackie. Parents with artistic backgrounds can give a nod to this fashion icon—who continues to produce and mentor to this day—when they bestow the name Mackie. We think this could be a gender-neutral name that wears equally well with baby boys or baby girls.
Tree names are growing in popularity with expectant parents, but names like Laurel, Oak, Ash, and Rowan are often already taken, or just not interesting enough. Sumac is more often known as the name of a smaller tree that is often grown for its looks, or as the name of a group of related trees, according to Oxford Dictionaries. The word sumac has its origins in Old French or even Arabic. Parents should try out the name Sumac. We feel it generates images of adventure and wild woodland settings.
Mythology never fails to provide inspiring names of heroes and warriors for intrepid parents-to-be to choose baby names from. The Irish legend Finn MacCool was said to be at least extremely tall, if not a giant, and a warrior associated with the geological formation known as the Giant's Causeway, as per Celtic Life International. The first name MacCool directly references this hero's wild escapades, and we can hardly overlook the fact that it also contains the word 'cool,' which is...cool.
The Maccabees were the famous five sons of the Jewish priest Mattathias who recaptured Jerusalem from Antiochus IV, according to Jewish Virtual Library. They rose in revolt against the spread of Hellenism and, for a time, wrested Judea away from larger regional powers. The word Maccabee is Hebrew for “hammer.” This is an incredibly inspiring name and a story that definitely implies strength and power. Maccabee is an unusual baby boy name that is rarely given anymore but will likely inspire confidence and generate conversation as a baby boy grows.
The original Teramac was an experimental computer designed and built by Hewlett-Packard in the late 1990s, according to Heath et al. as published in Science Magazine. It was built to be defect-tolerant, which meant it could operate around any of the hundreds of thousands of defects far more quickly than other expensive single-processor computers. This big step down the road of better understanding computational nanotechnology might not be well-known to many outside of the industry, but that doesn't diminish the cool factor of Teramac.
Now known in the US as an apple variety, an Apple computer, and a last name, MacIntosh is better known in Scotland as a clan with a long and rich history, as per Clan MacIntosh. Derived from the Gaelic words meaning “son of the Thane (Chief),” MacIntosh was adopted by a son of the MacDuff who did a service and was rewarded with his own lands. MacIntosh has been adopted in a number of different ways but moves from familiar to distinguished when brought to the front of the name.
References: Baby Names Of Ireland, House Of Names, Nameberry, Guild Of One Name Studies, Oxford Dictionaries, Baby Names, CBR, BabyCenter, ScotWeb, Tormac, BabyCenter, Baby Name Wizard, ResearchGate, BabyCentre UK, Goodreads, Surname Database, Dictionary, House Of Names, Bob Mackie, Oxford Dictionaries, Celtic Life International, Jewish Virtual Library, Science Magazine, MacIntosh Web, New York Times, Pulaski Online, Citizen Potawatomi