What Does Miata Mean? 

The Mazda MX-5/Miata is the best selling sports car of all time.

It is a legendary vehicle that has been praised by motoring pundits (and every day drivers) almost 30 years.

But what does “Miata” mean? 

There is an urban legend that Miata is actually an acronym:

“Make It A Topless Afternoon” (harking back to the convertible nature of the car).

However, there is nothing concrete to back this up.

It’s easy to see where this idea came from, as Japanese manufacturers do have a history of using acronyms to name cars.

Miata is not a Japanese word either.

So, what does Miata mean?

Miata comes from the Old German ‘miete’ for reward. It is believed that the name Miata is therefore meant to represent the “reward” that comes from driving one.

While there is no official guideline from Mazda, this is the most commonly agreed upon view of where the Miata name comes from.

Make sure you check out our MX-5/Miata buying guide for more information!


  • Ben

    From his early days playing the original Gran Turismo and with his Hot Wheels car set, Ben has had a long interest in all things automotive. His first foray into the world of automotive journalism was way back in 2009 and since then he has only grown more interested in the industry. Ben also runs and heads up the video production side of Garage Dreams, focusing on small informative documentaries about some of the world's most legendary cars.

5 thoughts on “What Does Miata Mean? ”

  1. Miete does NOT mean reward! As a matter of fact “Miete” is what renters pay for the use of an apartment. It means rent or lease – money that is payable to the owner.

  2. The Miata was being planned at the same time Mazda was preparing to launch a Luxury brand to compete with Lexus, Acura and Infiniti. The Mazda luxury brand name was AMATI, and you can re-arrange those letters to create the name Miata. Coincidence… I think not.

    • Interesting comment … and funny timing as we are actually working on a piece about the history of Mazda’s failed Amati brand.


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