The original Miryam of the Hebrew scriptures was sister to Moses and Aaron. Some scholars believe her name, and those of her brothers, could have originated in the ancient Egyptian language, and that their meanings are lost. Others offer alternate interpretations, including ''rebellion'' and ''sea of bitterness.''
Various forms derived from Miryam -- Latin Maria developed into French Marie, then English Mary. Among Christians, they are venerated as the name of the mother of Jesus Christ. St. Jerome associated the Virgin's name with the Latin phrase stella maris (''star of the sea''), and this can be regarded as yet another meaning that inspired the widespread use of so many forms of this name.