The name Mia (pronounced MEE-ah*) is a contracted form of Maria. It's also used as a pet form of other female names such as Amelia, Emilia and Amalia.
Mia happens to look and sound like the Italian word mia, which you may have heard in the Italian phrase cara mia, meaning "my love" or "my beloved." (In fact, I've seen people claim that Mia means "my love," but of course that's not the case--Mia just is not the same as mia, and, even if it were, mia simply means "my" or "mine.")
Mia was rare as a given name in the U.S. in early 20th century. It was popularized in the mid-1960s by actress Mia Farrow (born Maria de Lourdes Farrow), who starred in '60s soap opera Peyton Place and in the 1968 movie Rosemary's Baby.
Mia remained moderately popular until the mid-1990s, when there was a second poularity surge. This one can be attributed to several factors, including telenovela Rebelde Way, which featured a character named Mia, and the success professional soccer player Mariel "Mia" Hamm.
Here's how the name Mia has ranked in the U.S. over the last two decades:
- 2009 - 10th
- 2008 - 14th
- 2007 - 15th
- 2006 - 13rd
- 2005 - 17th
- 2004 - 30th
- 2003 - 36th
- 2002 - 43rd
- 2001 - 76th
- 2000 - 93rd
- 1999 - 120th
- 1998 - 130th
- 1997 - 129th
- 1996 - 180th
- 1995 - 255th
- 1994 - 317th
- 1993 - 330th
- 1992 - 329th
- 1991 - 338th
- 1990 - 341st
Because Mia was only used as a nickname until recently, there aren't many examples of famous women with the given name Mia. The few that I could find are all relatively young:
- Mia Kirshner (b. 1975) - Canadian actress
- Mia Sara (b. 1967) - American actress
- Mia Wasikowska (b. 1989) - Australian actress
- Mia Zapata (b 1965) - American musician
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