To mark Martin Luther King Day, I thought it’d be fitting to do a post spotlighting this incredible hero’s name.
Martin comes from the Latin Martinus, which in turn derives from Martis, the genitive case of Mars. The Roman god Mars was copied from the Greek god Ares, the god of war. Mars may derive from the Latin word mas (male). Very fitting, given that the astrological glyph for Mars is the same as the symbol for male!
St. Martin of Tours, a fourth century bishop, is France’s patron saint. One of many legends about him depicts him as ripping his cloak in half to warm a freezing beggar during winter. Because he was such a beloved saint during the Middle Ages, his name became popular across Christendom. Theologian Martin Luther later added to the name’s popularity.
Statue of Mars at Rome’s Capitoline Museums, Copyright Andrea Puggioni
Martin is used in English, French, German, the Scandinavian languages, Finnish, Macedonian, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Russian, Romanian, Czech, Slovak, Slovenian, Estonian, and Croatian. The variant Martín is Spanish, and Martîn is Norman.
In the U.S., Martin was Top 100 from 1880–1970. To date, its highest rank was #44 in 1880. In 2018, it was #272. It also enjoys popularity in Galicia (#2), Spain (#3), the Czech Republic (#13 in 2016), France (#24), Norway (#25), Slovenia (#36), Hungary (#38), Catalonia (#41), Belgium (#73), Ireland (#79), and Switzerland (#82).
Polish historian, diplomat, and cartographer Marcin Kromer (1512–89), painted by unknown 1688–1703
Other forms of Martin include:
1. Martim is Portuguese.
2. Martyn is Welsh, Ukrainian, and Manx. This is also a Russian variation.
3. Marcin is Polish.
4. Márton is Hungarian.
5. Martti is Finnish.
6. Máirtín is Irish. Without accents, Mairtin is Scottish.
7. Martynas is Lithuanian.
8. Martino is Italian.
9. Mattin is Basque. The nickname is Matxin.
10. Morten is Danish and Norwegian.
Self-portrait (1553) of Dutch painter Maarten van Heemskerck, 1498–1574
11. Martí is Catalan.
12. Maarten is Dutch.
13. Martijn is also Dutch.
14. Mārtiņš is Latvian.
15. Mārcis is also Latvian. It started as a nickname for Mārtiņš, but is now used as a given name in its own right.
16. Mårten is Swedish. The variant Marten is Dutch.
17. Màrtainn is Scottish Gaelic.
18. Martèin is Emilian-Romagnol, a Gallo-Italic language spoken in northern Italy.
19. Martiño is Galician.
20. Martinos is a rare Greek form.
Hungarian actor Márton Rátkai, 1881–1951
21. Martinu is Corsican.
22. Marttiin is Finnish.
23. Marzhin is Breton.
24. Mātene is Maori.
25. Měrćin is Sorbian.
26. Mieta is Vilamovian.
27. Môrcën is Kashubian.
28. Martinian is an English, Russian, and Ukrainian form of Latin name Martinianus, which derives from Martinus, the original Latin form of the name. Martinus is also the official Dutch form, though almost no Dutch people use Latin forms of their names outside of legal documents.
29. Martiniano is Spanish and Italian.
30. Martinien is French.
Roman Emperor Martinian (Sextus Marcius Martinianus), ?–325
31. Martinijan is Serbian and Croatian.
32. Martynian is Polish.
1. Martina is English, German, Italian, Catalan, Spanish, Dutch, Hungarian, Slovenian, Swedish, Czech, Slovak, Aragonese, Gascon, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Serbian, Russian, and Croatian. The name is #2 in Catalonia, #3 in Spain, and #4 in Galicia. In Icelandic, it’s Martína.
2. Martine is French, Dutch, Danish, and Norwegian.
3. Martyna is Polish.
4. Martinha is Portuguese.
5. Martixa is Basque.
6. Martyne is Québecois.
7. Martien is Dutch. This can also be a male name.