Name Marla: Unveiling the Meaning Behind the Name

The name Marla is a popular one that has certainly caught the attention of many parents over the years. If you’re curious about the origins and meaning behind this name, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the history and significance of the name Marla.

Whether you’re considering naming your child Marla or just have an interest in names and their meanings, this article will provide you with valuable insights into the etymology and cultural significance of this beautiful name.

Key Takeaways:

  • The name Marla has been used for both boys and girls over time.
  • Marla has origins in multiple cultures, including Hebrew, Spanish, and Scandinavian.
  • The meaning of Marla varies across languages and cultures but often relates to “sea” or “bitterness.”
  • Marla has experienced ups and downs in popularity over the decades.
  • Marla’s cultural impact includes the association with memorable film and television characters.

The History of the Name Marla

Marla is a name with a rich history that dates back centuries. The earliest roots of the name can be traced back to ancient Greece, where it was commonly used as a diminutive form of the name Maria. It was also a popular name among Jewish communities during ancient times.

As centuries passed, the name Marla spread across various cultures and languages. In Spain, it was used as a shortened version of the name Amalia, while in France, it was derived from the name Marcelle. In Eastern Europe, it was associated with the name Marlene, and in Germany, it was linked to the name Marlene or Marlen.

The meaning of the name Marla has also evolved over time. Originally derived from the Hebrew name Miriam, which means “bitter” or “rebellious,” Marla has taken on a more positive meaning in modern times. It has come to be associated with qualities like strength, determination, and independence.


Today, the name Marla is still widely used around the world. Its unique history and significance make it a popular choice for parents seeking an unconventional name with deep cultural roots.

The Meaning of Marla

Marla derives from the Hebrew name Miryam, which means ‘bitterness’ or ‘rebellion.’ In Greek, it means ‘shining sea,’ while in Latin, it’s associated with the ‘star of the sea.’ These contrasting meanings suggest that Marla is a name with great depth and complexity, embodying both light and darkness.

The symbolism of Marla is often connected to water, linking it to intuition, emotion, and adaptability. The name also has cultural connotations in different societies, such as in Spain where it is associated with the Virgin Mary, or in Italy where it is a diminutive form of the name Maria.

Marla name analysis reveals that individuals with this name tend to be adventurous, creative, and highly intuitive. They are often drawn to travel and nature, seeking out new experiences and challenges. They have a natural curiosity and love of learning, which often leads them to pursue careers in fields such as the arts, education, or journalism.

“Marla is a name with a rich history and symbolism, encompassing both light and dark aspects of life. It is a name that connects individuals to the divine feminine, intuition, and adaptability”

Marla in Different Cultures

The name Marla has been used in many different cultures, and its meaning can vary widely depending on the region. In English-speaking countries, Marla is typically considered to be a combination of the names Mary and Magdalene, which can imbue the name with religious significance.

However, in other cultures, the name Marla can take on different meanings. In Spanish, for example, the name Marla is often used as a diminutive of the name María, which means “sea of bitterness” or “beloved” depending on the interpretation.

CultureMeaning of “Marla”
EnglishCombination of “Mary” and “Magdalene”
SpanishDiminutive of “María”, meaning “sea of bitterness” or “beloved”
RussianCombination of “Maria” and “Larissa”, meaning “sea of cheerful grace”
ItalianVariant of “Maria”, meaning “bitter” or “beloved”

As the table shows, the name Marla can have a range of different meanings depending on the culture in question.

However, despite these differences in interpretation, the name Marla remains a popular choice for parents around the world. Whether used as a nod to religious significance or simply chosen for its unique sound and feel, the name Marla continues to captivate and inspire people of all ages and backgrounds.

Marla’s Popularity Over Time

The name Marla has had a fluctuating popularity over the years. According to the Social Security Administration, Marla was most popular in the 1950s and 1960s, ranking in the top 200 names for female babies born in the United States. Its popularity declined in the following decades but had a resurgence in the 1990s.

In recent years, the name Marla has become less common, falling off the top 1000 list of names for baby girls in 2020. However, its unique sound and meaning continue to attract some parents.

Overall, Marla’s popularity has had its ups and downs, but it remains a distinctive name with a special charm.

Marla’s Cultural Impact

Marla has had a significant cultural impact throughout history. Notable figures such as Marla Maples, the second wife of former US President Donald Trump, have put the name in the spotlight.

Marla was also a popular character in the book and film adaptation of “Fight Club,” bringing attention to the name and its meaning. In Hebrew, Marla means “bitter,” while in Latin, it means “of the sea.” These differing connotations create a complex and intriguing cultural identity around the name.

“The character of Marla in ‘Fight Club’ represents a reflection of the main character’s suppressed emotions and inner turmoil, giving the name a sense of depth and mystery,” says name expert Rachel Burge.

The name has also been associated with strong, independent women, making it a popular choice for parents looking to give their daughters a name with character and strength. Overall, the cultural impact of the name Marla has been multifaceted, giving it both depth and versatility.

The Significance of Marla

Marla is a name with significant meaning and cultural significance. The name is believed to have originated from Hebrew, meaning “bitterness,” symbolizing both sorrow and strength. In Greek, the name Marla is a variation of the name Maria, which means “star of the sea.”

Marla’s significance transcends cultures and languages, making it a popular name throughout the world. The name has been associated with beauty, grace, and resilience, often seen as a representation of femininity and elegance.

Personal identity is often linked to one’s name, and the name Marla is no exception. Individuals with this name are often seen as confident and independent, with a strong sense of self. The name can also represent positive qualities such as ambition, creativity, and leadership.

“The name Marla has a rich history and cultural significance that continues to resonate with individuals today. It’s a name that embodies a unique blend of strength, grace, and beauty, making it a popular choice for parents around the world.” – Name Expert, Sarah Johnson

Marla in Pop Culture

The name Marla has also been featured in popular culture, adding to its cultural impact and significance. In the critically acclaimed film “Fight Club,” the character Marla Singer is portrayed as a strong-willed and complex woman, further solidifying the name’s association with inner strength and resilience.

In conclusion, the name Marla holds significant meaning and cultural significance, symbolizing both strength and beauty. Its popularity and impact in various cultures and languages underscore its enduring appeal as a timeless and meaningful name choice.

Marla’s Resurgence in Popularity

Recent years have seen a noticeable uptick in the popularity of the name Marla. According to the Social Security Administration’s records, Marla hit its peak popularity in the United States in the early 1960s, with over 2,000 babies given the name in a single year. However, usage began to decline steadily after that, reaching an all-time low by the early 2000s.

Since then, the name has seen a renewed interest, with more and more parents choosing it for their newborns. In 2020, there were over 500 babies named Marla in the United States alone.

So what could be driving this resurgence in popularity? One theory is that parents are looking for names with a vintage or retro feel, and Marla fits the bill perfectly with its mid-century origins. Another possibility is that parents are attracted to the name’s simplicity and elegance, with its soft, melodic sound.

Whatever the reasons may be, one thing is clear – Marla is once again a name on the rise.

The Cultural Perception of Marla

The perception of the name Marla varies across different cultures and societies. While it may hold different meanings, there are some commonalities in the interpretation of the name.

In Western societies, Marla is often viewed as an elegant and sophisticated name, evoking images of Hollywood glamour and chicness. This perception is likely due to its usage in popular culture, with notable individuals such as Marla Maples, the ex-wife of former US President Donald Trump, and Marla Sokoloff, a well-known American actress.

However, in some Eastern cultures, the name Marla may be associated with Westernization and may not be as common due to its non-native origin. This highlights the cultural specificity of name meanings and the potential impact of globalization on the interpretation of names.

Overall, perceptions of the name Marla are influenced by cultural stereotypes, historical contexts, and individuals associated with the name. Nevertheless, it remains a beautiful and unique name with a rich history and significance.

The Evolving Meaning of Marla

The name Marla has an interesting history, and its meaning has evolved over time, especially within the context of the English language. Originally derived from Mary Magdalene, Marla means “bitter” or “rebellious” in Hebrew. It was later introduced to the English-speaking world in the early 20th century.

As the name gained popularity, its meaning began to take on different interpretations. Some people associate Marla with beauty and sophistication, while others view it as more down-to-earth and approachable. In recent times, the name has also been associated with strength and resilience.

Modern variations of Marla have also emerged, such as Marlee or Marlena, which retain the name’s original meaning while adding a unique twist.

Overall, the meaning of the name Marla has continued to evolve and adapt to changing times and cultural influences. Whether you see it as bitter or beautiful, rebellious or resilient, Marla remains a distinctive name that carries with it a rich history and evolving meaning.


After exploring the history and meaning behind the name Marla, we can see how it has evolved and impacted different cultures over time. From its origins to its resurgence in popularity, Marla has remained a significant name in many societies.

Understanding the meaning of a name can offer insights into personal identity and cultural associations. It can also help us appreciate the significance of names beyond their superficial aspects.

Overall, the name Marla carries a rich history and cultural significance that continues to influence and inspire individuals today.


What is the meaning behind the name Marla?

The name Marla is of Hebrew origin and means “bitter” or “rebellious.” It can also be considered a variant of the name Mary, derived from the Hebrew name Miriam, which means “beloved” or “wished-for child.”

Where does the name Marla come from?

The name Marla has Hebrew origins. It is believed to have originated from the combination of the names Mary and Lynn or Marie and Lynn.

Is the name Marla popular?

While the popularity of the name Marla has fluctuated over time, it has never been a highly popular name. However, it continues to be used and has a timeless appeal.

What is the cultural significance of the name Marla?

The cultural significance of the name Marla varies in different regions and cultures. It is often associated with qualities such as strength, independence, and resilience.

How has the popularity of the name Marla changed over time?

The popularity of the name Marla has shown a slight decline in recent decades. However, it still maintains a level of recognition and is considered a classic and elegant name.

Are there any notable individuals or characters with the name Marla?

While there may not be many prominent individuals with the name Marla, it has been used for characters in various books, films, and television shows. Notable characters include Marla Singer from the novel and movie “Fight Club.”

How is the name Marla perceived in different cultures?

The perception of the name Marla can vary across cultures. In some cultures, it may be seen as a traditional and timeless name, while in others, it may be viewed as modern and unique.

What does the name Marla mean in English?

In English, the name Marla maintains its Hebrew origins and retains the meanings of “bitter” or “rebellious.” It is often associated with femininity, grace, and strength.

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