Girl Baby Name

Melissa

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Quick Facts on Melissa

  • Gender:
  • Girl
  • Origin:
  • English, Greek
  • Number of syllables:
  • 3
  • Ranking popularity:
  • 202
Pronunciation:
mә-LIS-ah
Simple meaning:
Honey bee

Characteristics of Melissa

  • Humanitarian
  • Community-minded
  • Family-oriented
  • Loving
  • Affectionate
  • Compassionate
  • Sensitive

Etymology & Historical Origin - Melissa

The name Melissa comes from the Greek word (melissa) which means ‘honey bee’ and was borne by a nymph in Greek mythology. There are several stories surrounding Melissa in Ancient Greece. Most notably, she was a mountain nymph who hid the baby Zeus from his father, Cronus, who had designs on killing his infant son. Melissa fed the baby honey, but upon being discovered by Cronus, she was transformed into an earthworm. Zeus took pity on his baby-nurse and changed her into a beautiful bee. Melissa was also the name used for a good fairy and woman warrior in “Orlando Furioso”, a widely read Italian epic poem written by Ludovico Ariosto (1532). In the poem, Melissa utters these self-possessed words: “Nor theirs am I, nor other's, but my own, / Who wins me, wins me from myself alone.” In England, the name has been in use since the 17th century, probably influenced by the popularity of this poem.

Popularity of the Name Melissa

When we think of the name Melissa, we identify it immediately with the 1970s, a decade when the name dominated in popularity. However, the name has enjoyed a much longer history on the American naming charts. At the turn of the 20th century (over 100 years ago), Melissa was in use, albeit at very moderate to low levels of popularity. The name basically disappears from the American consciousness in the 1920s but only for a brief while. By the mid-1930s, Melissa reappears on the charts. And this time, she means business. In 1961, the name finally lands a spot on the Top 100 list of most commonly used girls’ names and by the end of that decade, she charges into the Top 10. The zenith of Melissa’s popularity came between 1977 and 1979 during which years Melissa was the #2 most popular girl’s name in America (Jennifer held the #1 spot at that time). This is massive achievement very few names can claim. However, Melissa’s fashionable days were coming to an end by the mid-1980s when she slowly descends back down the charts. In 2005, Melissa falls off the Top 100 list for the first time in over 40 years of success. The name continues to show backwards movement as we progress into this century. She is gracefully stepping aside for the newer trends of the day; we will miss her. As the Allman Brothers Band’s 1972 classic song “Melissa” suggests, “the gypsy flies with sweet Melissa.” We wouldn’t mind if this “honey bee” flies back again soon.
Popularity of the Girl Name Melissa
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Melissa

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Melissa

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Melissa

    Melissa the Sorceress (Orlando Furioso) Melissa lives in Merlin’s cave in Ludovico Ariosto’s Italian Renaissance poem Orlando Furioso. Based on the Arthurian legends and set against a backdrop of Christian/Muslim wars, it is an epic and complex piece involving hundres of characters and scores of subplots. The lovely enchantress, Melissa, is responsible for giving the magic ring to Ruggiero, the ring which enables its wearer to distinguish between magic spells and reality.

  • Popular Songs on Melissa

    Popular Songs on Melissa

    Is That You, Melissa - a song by Mercyful Fate

    Melissa - a song by Mercyful Fate

    Melissa - a song by The Allman Brothers Band

    Melissa Louise - a song by Chixdiggit

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Melissa

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Melissa

    Bat in the Dining Room (Crescent Dragonwagon) - One summer evening a bat mistakenly flies into a hotel dining room. The diners panic, and only Melissa understands that the bat is frightened and lost. Melissa opens the emergency door calling, "Come on, bat!" and the bat swoops out into the nighttime. Later, the guests all have a free dinner and congratulate Melissa. Nature lovers will enjoy this charmingly illustrated picture book about a girl who uses her abilities of observation and empathy to care for a misguided bat. Recommended for ages 3-6.

    McBroom Tells the Truth (Sid Fleischman) - Josh and Melissa McBroom head West with their 11 children to seek their fortune, leaving Connecticut behind. They settle in Iowa and become the owners of a very special piece of property. Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Melissa Parkington's Beautiful, Beautiful Hair (Pat Brisson) - This book, tells the story of Melissa and her desire to be noticed for something other than her beautiful, flowing hair. Instead, Melissa wants to be noticed for something she did, and she wants this something to be spectacular. After trying basketball and art, Melissa realizes she is spectacular at being kind. In the end, she finds a way to demonstrate this kindness by donating most of her beautiful flowing hair to kids who need wigs. The story is well-crafted and shows Melissa's growth as a character. Even more, the illustrations are colorful and eye-catching. Overall, readers will connect to both the story and the illustrations. Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Summer Lightning (Wendy Staub) - A spooky thriller in which Melissa, a 17 year old girl with everything going for her including the affection of Tripp, is visited by a ghost. The ghost tells her that he is her invisible guardian and she is forced to choose between the belief in the ghost and Tripp. Recommended for ages 13+

    Trolls (Polly Horvath) - Eccentric Aunt Sally comes from Canada to babysit the Anderson children while their parents are on a trip to Paris and every night the bedtime story adds another piece to a very suspect family history. Recommended for ages 9-12.

  • Famous People Named Melissa

    Famous People Named Melissa

    Famous People Named Melissa - Melissa Joan Hart (actress); Melissa Etheridge (musician); Melissa Gilbert (actress); Melissa Sue Anderson (actress); Melissa Archer (actress); Melissa Del Valle (pioneer in female boxing); Melissa George (model/actress); Melissa Keller (model); Melissa Leo (actress); Melissa Manchester (singer/songwriter); Melissa Rivers (TV personality)

  • Children of Famous People Named Melissa

    Children of Famous People Named Melissa

    Famous People who Named their Daughter Melissa - Anne Baxter (actress); Dinah Shore (entertainer); Douglas Fairbanks Jr. (actor); Joan Rivers (comic); Paul Newman (actor); Robin Gibb (musician); Steven Bochco (TV producer)

  • Historic Figures

    Melissa - Girl Baby Name - Historic Figures

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

Personality of the Girl Name Melissa

Romance is the hallmark of the Six personality. They exude nurturing, loving, and caring energy. Sixes are in love with the idea of love in its idealized form - and with their magnetic personalities, they easily draw people toward them. Like the number Two personality, they seek balance and harmony in their life and the world at large. They are conscientious and service-oriented, and a champion for the underdog. These personalities naturally attract money and are usually surrounded by lovely material objects - but their human relationships are always primary. They thrive in giving back to others rather than being motivated by their own desires. This is when they achieve great things. Sixes are natural teachers, ministers and counselors.

Variations of the Baby Name - Melissa

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