Girl Baby Name


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Quick Facts on Carissa

  • Gender:
  • Girl
  • Origin:
  • English, Greek
  • Number of syllables:
  • 3
  • Ranking popularity:
  • 964
Simple meaning:
Grace, kindness

Characteristics of Carissa

  • Mystical
  • Wise
  • Eccentric
  • Intuitive
  • Imaginative
  • Philosophical
  • Solitary

Etymology & Historical Origin - Carissa

This modern sounding moniker is actually quite a bit older than first meets the eye. Carissa was, in fact, first popularized by English poet Edmund Spenser in his 1590 masterpiece “The Faerie Queene” (Book I, Cantos ix-x). The poem is really a politico-religious epic which seeks to glorify Queen Elizabeth I and the Church of England while vilifying evil and the Roman Catholic Church. In the first book of this epic poem the protagonist Redcrosse (personification of England’s Saint George) is traveling with his companions King Arthur and Una (Truth) on their way to slay the evil dragon. At one point during their journey, Redcrosse confronts a weary old man in a cave named Despair. Filled with doom and gloom, Despair has the hypnotic ability to inspire suicide in those who challenge him. Even Redcrosse comes close to taking his own life until Una brings him to the House of Holiness ruled over by Caelia (heaven) and her three daughters: Fidelia (faith), Sperenza (hope), and Charissa (charity). These virtues nurture Redcrosse back to spiritual health. Spenser borrowed the name “Charissa” from the Greek “charis” meaning “grace, kindness” and his well-known poem served to popularize the name in the following 17th century. Because the “ch” in Charissa is a hard “k” sound, the name eventually morphed into Carissa and Karissa. Although Charissa dates back to Spenser’s poem, it is no longer very popular today.

Popularity of the Name Carissa

Although Carissa was originally inspired by a late 16th century poem, the name did not hit the American female charts until fairly recently in 1970. By the late 1980s and early 90s Carissa seemed to be catching on in popularity as she achieved moderate levels of success on the naming charts. However, since we’ve crossed the threshold into this new century Carissa doesn't seem to be coming along for the ride. Between 2000 and today the name has dropped over 500 positions on the naming charts and is now dangerously close to being eliminated from the Top 1000 list altogether. We have to admit, even though Carissa dates back a couple centuries it does feel very 1980s in terms of a modern-day name choice. It’s a pretty enough sounding name with an interesting background and a lovely meaning. It’s also a possible alternative to the virtue name Charity if you want to be more subtle about it. Crissy is a natural nickname.
Popularity of the Girl Name Carissa
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Carissa

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Carissa

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Carissa

    Carissa We cannot find any significant literary characters with the first name Carissa.

  • Popular Songs on Carissa

    Popular Songs on Carissa

    Carissa - We cannot find any popular or well-known songs featuring the name Carissa.

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Carissa

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Carissa

    Horse Pals Series: Carissa's Wish (Teresa Lilly) - Carissa's Wish Carissa is a twelve year old girl who longs to ride horses. When the neighbor gets a beautiful Palomino that has been abused. Carissa offers to help take care of it. Will Carissa have her wish come true? Recommended for ages 9-12.

  • Famous People Named Carissa

    Famous People Named Carissa

    Carissa - Carissa Kainani Moore (Hawaiian surfer)

  • Children of Famous People Named Carissa

    Children of Famous People Named Carissa

    Carissa - We cannot find any celebrities or famous people who have named their child Carissa.

  • Historic Figures

    Carissa - Girl Baby Name - Historic Figures

    Carissa - We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Carissa.

Personality of the Girl Name Carissa

The number Seven personality is deeply mystical and highly in tune with their spirituality. They operate on a different wavelength than the average joe. Spending time alone comes easily to Sevens, as it gives them time to contemplate philosophical, religious and spiritual ideas in an effort to find "real truth".  Sevens are wise, but often exude mystery as if they are tapped into something the rest of us don't understand. They love the outdoors and are fed by nature. Sevens are constantly seeking to understand human nature, our place in the universe, and the mystery of life in general. This makes them quite artistic and poetic, but they are also keen observers with high intellect - so they are equally scientific-minded. Sevens are charitable and care deeply about the human condition.

Variations of the Baby Name - Carissa

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