Hi Jennifer,

I recently watched the new Disney movie Brave and I love the name of the independent princess Merida. I looked up the meaning of her name, but couldn’t find anything. Could you tell me what it means. Also, would it be a bad idea to give your child the same name as a Disney princess?

Thanks for your help!

Dear Emily,

Excellent question. I think it would be okay to name your daughter after this particular Disney character because she is 1.) strong and 2.) hasn’t been around for decades to build a reputation, yet. Now that my daughter is grown, I had no idea who Merida was. Cinderella, on the other hand, would be a problem.

Merida is a created name, most likely from the name Mary and the Spanish word “Querida” which means “Darling.”

The closest Celtic name to Merida would be Mairead, a form of Margaret.


Jennifer Moss (she/her) is the founder of BabyNames.com, author of The Baby Names Workbook, and Producer of The Baby Names Podcast. Jennifer is widely regarded as the leading expert on popular baby name trends and the naming process, serving as the authoritative source on the subject for national and international media.

Jennifer entered the tech arena in the 80s as a software developer and database architect, and became a pioneer in the Internet industry. In addition to operating BabyNames.com, Jennifer owns a web development agency in central California.