Girl Baby Name


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Quick Facts on Clarissa

  • Gender:
  • Girl
  • Origin:
  • English, Italian
  • Number of syllables:
  • 3
  • Ranking popularity:
  • 708
Simple meaning:
Clear, bright, famous

Characteristics of Clarissa

  • Independent
  • Individualistic
  • Ambitious
  • Strong-willed
  • Inventive
  • Successful

Etymology & Historical Origin - Clarissa

Clarissa is the English, Italian and Portuguese form of Clarice both of which are derived from Clara. The name Clara developed from the Late Latinate adjective “clarus” meaning “bright, famous”. Clarus began as a medieval masculine name and Clara developed as the feminine form. Clara’s popularity in medieval times was bolstered by the famous Italian Saint Clare who was a follower of Saint Francis of Assisi in the 13th century and founder of an order of nuns called the Order of Saint Clare (more commonly known as the Poor Clares). In 1212 she was the first woman to have written a monastic Rule of Life for an order and the Poor Clares were known for their extreme and strict adherence to poverty. During the Middle Ages, the French typically used Claritia in honor of St. Clare which they brought to England after the Norman Conquest in the 11th century. The English created Clare, Clarice and Clarissa from this (although the Italians and Portuguese also use the form Clarissa). Clara and Claire are currently the most popular derivatives of Clarus in the United States and throughout Europe. Clarissa is not as common today.

Popularity of the Name Clarissa

Clarissa has been in constant use in America since at least the late 19th century. Her lowest point of popularity was during the 1930s and 40s when the name often fell off the charts due to rare usage. However, from the 1960s onward, this name showed promising success as she began an upwards ascent on the charts. Clarissa’s peak popularity came in the mid-1990s when it came close to a Top 200 spot (not super popular, but a respectable achievement nonetheless). In the past almost 20 years, however, Clarissa has fallen from fashion, stepping aside for her more “famous” sisters Clara and Claire. Today in America, Clarissa is used only mildly. In other words, the name is familiar but not very common any more. Still Clarissa shares the same etymology as the other “Clara” names and is therefore bright and upbeat. It’s a pretty three-syllable choice that still feels charmingly old-fashioned.
Popularity of the Girl Name Clarissa
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Clarissa

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Clarissa

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Clarissa

    Clarissa Dalloway (Mrs. Dalloway) Clarissa Dalloway is the title character in one of Virginia Woolf’s most popular novels, Mrs. Dalloway, published in 1925. (In a 1997 Dutch film made of the novel, Vanessa Redgrave – who better? – played the title character.) Essentially, the novel sets forth the details of one day in Clarissa’s life in post World War I England, a day in which she is preparing for a party she is giving that evening. Clarissa is an upper class Londoner, a fifty-one year old wife and mother, whose interior musings take her over the course of her life. She thinks of her safe choice of husband, Richard Dalloway, versus Peter Walsh, who was the more daring. She reflects upon the joy she felt with her once-beloved friend, Sally Seton, who was “not an option”. She tends to her teen-aged daughter’s needs, and reflects upon her jealous dislike of the girl’s tutor. Going through all the motions that the society matron might make in party preparation, shopping, gathering flowers, mending her silk dress, Clarissa experiences the side-by-side sensation of reliving her life and her decisions. Tellingly, she feels both dismay and joy about the events of that life. When the party is underway that evening, and she is told of the suicide of a World War I veteran whom she does not know, Clarissa’s reaction is that he has actually embraced and honored his life, rather than having left it. Perhaps the traces of her own recent illness have given Clarissa a peculiar strain of joie de vivre, a sense of life being both with and without meaning. At the end of her day, what can best be said of Clarissa is put best by Peter Walsh: “There she was.”

    Clarissa Harlowe (The History of a Young Lady) Clarissa is the heroine of Samuel Richardson’s 1748 epistolary novel, Clarissa, or, the History of a Young Lady. Clarissa is a beautiful and virtuous eighteen year old woman who comes to a tragic end because of those very qualities. Clarissa’s family is nouveau riche and aspires to the trappings of aristocracy. As part of that plan, they encourage her to marry one Roger Solmes, for whom she has only antipathy. As her family steps up its campaign, she is tricked into running away with Robert Lovelace, the heir to an earldom who, alas, has less than virtuous plans for her himself. Robert takes her to a brothel and keeps her captive, all the while pursuing her hand in marriage. Unable to persuade her to be his lawfully, Robert drugs and rapes Clarissa. Yet again, she escapes from him, but she is physically weakened by the hardships she has endured at his hand, and she readies herself for death. It is her sworn belief that she has kept her virtue intact, and that a better life awaits her. Lovelace, undone by her death and his part in it, repents and also dies as the result of injuries sustained in a duel. We sincerely hope Clarissa puts aside a smidgen of that virtue when she meets up with him in the afterlife! And if she is capable of sustaining a grudge at all, let’s hope she saves some of it for that family of hers, as well.

  • Popular Songs on Clarissa

    Popular Songs on Clarissa

    Clarissa - a song by Mindless Self Indulgence [explicit]

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Clarissa

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Clarissa

    Clarissa (Carol Talley) - In a bovine world where success comes to those who push and shove, gentle Clarissa wonders if she will ever be anything but the last cow through the barnyard gate. She wishes that just once she could be the special cow, admired like beautiful Tessy, praised like bossy Fiona. Then one hot August day, Clarissa makes a brave decision and proves to herself and everybody else that she is no ordinary cow, that she too is a winner. Clarissa is a story about recognizing the unique and special qualities in each of us. It is a story for every child who has wondered about his or her own value and place in the world. It is a story for parents who want their children to cherish their worth and courageously take risks to reach their dreams. Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Clarissa the Clown (Andrew Segal) - Another moving story from Andrew Segal about the dreams and wishes of a young circus performer, Clarissa, as she follows her star until her ambition is realized. Visually stunning, Clarissa the Clown is part of the Village Folk Series - an enchanting mix of humor, adventure and enlightenment. Appearing for the first time ever in a book, meet Mic and Mocha the tumbling mice twins. Marvel at the trapeze skills of the Gabbini Brothers and laugh with the colorful clowns, but always keep your faith in the dreams of tomorrow so you too can share in…Clarissa's joy. Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Clarissa's Wand (Trishana Star) - Clarissa's Wand is a story about a star that feels incomplete and goes on a quest for completeness. Something doesn't feel quite right, but what is it? We are all on a journey but sometimes we take on a special quest. Perhaps our quest has included some heartache, betrayal, a need for forgiveness or the necessity for being more open to love. This special journey may call for us to change in unusual ways. But once we commit to it, there's no going back, even if we think we want to. Clarissa's Wand is a story of one such journey. Travel along with her and her charming, one-of-a-kind companions! Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Clarissa: or, The History of a Young Lady (Samuel Richardson) - This classic novel tells the story, in letters, of the beautiful and virtuous Clarissa Harlowe's pursuit by the brilliant, unscrupulous rake Robert Lovelace. The epistolary structure allows Richardson to create layered and fully realized characters, as well as an intriguing uncertainty about the reliability of the various "narrators." Clarissa emerges as a heroine at once rational and passionate, self-sacrificing and defiant, and her story has gripped readers since the novel's first publication in 1747-1748. This new abridgment is designed to retain the novel's rich characterizations and relationships, and reproduces individual letters in their entirety whenever possible. This Broadview Edition provides a uniquely accessible entry point for readers, while retaining much of the powerful reading experience of the complete novel. Recommended for ages young adult.

    Miss Clarissa and Her Musical Shoes (Laura Stone) - Clarissa cannot understand why everyone does not love her new musical shoes as much as she does. The bus driver needs her to sit down; her teacher warns her not to play with them, and the principal is upset after she accidentally trips another student. Recommended for ages 5-8.

  • Famous People Named Clarissa

    Famous People Named Clarissa

    Famous People Named Clarissa - Clarissa "Clara" Barton (founder of the American Red Cross); Clarissa Davis (basketball player); Clarissa Dickson Wright (celebrity chef); Clarissa Eden, Countess of Avon (English nobility)

  • Children of Famous People Named Clarissa

    Children of Famous People Named Clarissa

    Famous People Who Named Their Daughter Clarissa - We cannot find any celebrities or famous people who have named their child Clarissa.

  • Historic Figures

    Clarissa - Girl Baby Name - Historic Figures

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

Personality of the Girl Name Clarissa

The number one personality is a leader - strong and competitive. They are willing to initiate action and take risks. One personalities work hard toward their endeavors and have the ability to apply their creative and innovative thinking skills with strong determination. They believe in their ability to succeed and are too stubborn to be hindered by obstacles. Ones meet obstacles head-on with such mental vigor and energy that you better step aside. They resent taking orders, so don't try telling them what to do either. This is an intensely active personality, but they are also known as starters rather than finishers. They have a propensity to become bored and will move quickly to the next project if not properly challenged.  They are the ones to think up and put into action new and brilliant ideas, but they are not the ones to stick around and manage them. This personality has an enthusiastic and pioneering spirit. They are distinctly original.

Variations of the Baby Name - Clarissa

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