Originating in the 18th century, Vanessa is a common given name for girls. After researching its Irish background, I’ve discovered the meaning of the name Vanessa and what it represents.
Meaning of the name Vanessa: The meaning of the name Vanessa is “of a star” or “from a star.” It was derived from “Van” and “Essa,” which mean “of” and “star,” respectively.
Origins of the Name Vanessa
The name Vanessa originated in 18th century Ireland where it was created by an Irish writer and poet named Jonathan Swift. Etymologists believe that Swift created the name Vanessa for his partner, Esther Vanhombrigh, by joining together the first part of his name, “Van,” with the pet form of his partner’s name, “Essa.” The end result was an entirely new name that would eventually become a top-ranked feminine given name in many English-speaking countries.
While Swift used the name Vanessa before this time, one of the first documented instances of the name Vanessa occurred in 1726. During this year, Swift published a poem titled “Cadenus and Vanessa,” which specifically focused on his romantic relationship with Essa, whom he referred to as Vanessa.
After appearing in “Cadenus and Vanessa” the name Vanessa was used to signify the genus of a butterfly by Danish zoologist and insect expert Johan Christian Fabricius.
The popularity of the Name Vanessa
It didn’t happen overnight, but Vanessa is now one of the most popular girls’ name in the United States. At the turn of the 20th century, only six newborn girls in the United States were named Vanessa, making it the country’s 1,924th most popular girls’ name. In 1940, Vanessa was the 2,292nd most popular girls’ name in the United States.
Vanessa became increasingly popular around the mid-20th century. In 1949, it was the 1,067th most popular girls’ name in the United States. By 1955, Vanessa climbed to the 140th most popular girls’ name in the country. The name Vanessa peaked in 1988 when it ranked as the 41st most popular girls’ name in the United States.
Vanessa is also a popular girls’ name in Germany. In fact, birth records show that Vanessa has been a top 100 girls’ name in Germany since the mid-1970s.
Famous women named Vanessa include American actress Vanessa Hudgens, Italian performance artist Vanessa Beecroft, American model Vanessa Hessler, Australian actress Vanessa Ferlito, Canadian actress Vanessa King and American artist Vanessa Daou.
Popular variants of the name Vanessa include Vanesa, Vanasia and Vanessza.
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