Girl Baby Name


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Quick Facts on Tess

  • Gender:
  • Girl
  • Origin:
  • English
  • Number of syllables:
  • 1
  • Ranking popularity:
  • 998
Simple meaning:

Characteristics of Tess

  • Multi-talented
  • Intuitive
  • Oneness
  • Idealistic
  • Philanthropy
  • Independent
  • Perfection

Etymology & Historical Origin - Tess

Tess, like Tessa, is a pet form of Theresa which itself is a name of uncertain etymology. Theresa most likely originated from the Greek “therizein” meaning “to harvest, harvester” or from the Greek “theros” meaning “summer”. Therasia is also the name of a Greek island. Usage of Theresa as a female given name finds its roots in Spain and Portugal where it remained largely confined up through the Middle Ages. According to tradition, Therasia was a Spanish noblewoman and wife of the 4th century Roman Senator and lawyer, St. Paulinus of Nola. After tragically losing their son, the wealthy couple gave everything to the poor and led a life of religious austerity. It is believed that the name Teresa originated from this woman. Later on in history, Teresa of Ávila was a prominent 16th century Spanish saint who is credited for spreading the name beyond the borders of Spain and Portugal and embraced more widespread throughout Europe. As a mystic and meditation practitioner, Saint Teresa of Jesus (as she’s often called) wrote prolifically and her works were a vital contribution to the body of Spanish Renaissance literature. Adding further “saintly” currency to the name Theresa was a 19th century French Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (Normandy) who is often referred to as the “Little Flower of Jesus”. Not only is she co-patron of France (along with St. Joan of Arc), but her place of pilgrimage in France is second only to Lourdes. Ironically, Saint Thérèse died a little-known cloistered Carmelite nun at the age of 24; it wasn’t until after her death that she gained a huge following even beyond the French borders (thanks to her widely read autobiography “Story of a Soul” that she left behind). Her piously sentimental writings inspired a nation. Then of course, there’s the unforgettable 20th century Mother Teresa of Calcutta. The name Theresa is practically synonymous with holiness so it was no surprise that it became a name of choice among Catholics throughout the Western World. Theresa with an “h” is the version most often used by the English and Germans, while Teresa is the Spanish and Portuguese form and Thérèse the French. The pet form of Tess was popularized in the later 19th century by Thomas Hardy’s 1891 novel “Tess of the D'Ubervilles” (see literary references below). Today the name Tess as an independently given name is hugely popular in the Netherlands, but also ranks moderately high in Belgium and France.

Popularity of the Name Tess

Although Tess was made famous by the central character featured in Thomas Hardy’s 1891 novel “Tess of the D'Ubervilles”, the name did not appear on the American female naming charts until very recently in 1983 and even then she limped onto the list. Then suddenly between 1989 and 1990 Tess rose fairly dramatically on the charts. Why? At the end of 1988 20th Century Fox released a hugely popular film called “Working Girl” starring Melanie Griffith as Tess McGill (a sort of working girl’s Cinderella story). After that brief frenzied interest in Tess, the name seemed to settle at levels of so-so moderation but then began to decline most dramatically since the 21st century. Little Tess is in competition with Tessa and Tessa is winning the race. Yet the pretty one-syllable and minimalistic Tess is just as charming in our opinion. It works well on a little girl but ages more elegantly into adulthood than Tessa. Tessie is an obvious nickname.
Popularity of the Girl Name Tess
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Tess

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Tess

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Tess

    Tess Durbeyfield (Tess of the d’Urbervilles) Tess is the title character of Thomas Hardy’s classic, Tess of the d’Urbervilles (A Pure Woman), published in 1891. Considered extremely scandalous due to its treatment of rape and infidelity in Victorian settings, “Tess” stands as an indictment against the demoralizing forces of hypocritical religious and social mores. Tess herself is a lovely young woman of a family in reduced circumstances, but attached by blood to the ancient name of d’Urbervilles. This distinction brings her nothing but grief, however, as she is seduced and impregnated by the immoral son of the current day d’Urbervilles, who have purchased the name rather than inheriting it. Caught between the classes and condemned for a crime of which she is an innocent victim, Tess is forced over and over to compromise herself, to struggle to survive and to suffer the cruelty of being blamed for a sin against herself. Ultimately she dies for the consequences of that same sin, and in our more enlightened times, has come to represent a tragic figure of the indiscriminate cruelties of fate. A large chore for so light a name – Tess carries it well.

  • Popular Songs on Tess

    Popular Songs on Tess

    Tess Don’t Tell - a song by Ivy

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Tess

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Tess

    Bess and Tess (Susan Blackaby) - Encourages basic reading skills. Bess and Tess are Lucy's two lovable dogs who are exact opposites in personality. Recommended for ages 5-7.

    Charlie and Tess / Sheepdog in the Snow (Martin Hall) - Charlie is just a tiny little lamb when the farmer finds him in a snowstorm and brings him home. Tess is the farmer's sheepdog, and she takes charge of raising Charlie, teaching him to play fetch and even sharing her doghouse. Sometimes Charlie acts so much like a dog that the farmer and his family wonder if he knows he's a sheep. Eventually, Charlie shows them he can be a little of both. Recommended for ages 5-8.

    Hamsters Don't Glow in the Dark (Trina Wiebe) - From the “Abby and Tess Pet-Sitters Series”. Spring break is just around the corner, and Abby has been asked to pet-sit Mr. Nibbles, the class hamster. But will sisterly rivalry take a bite out of the pet-sitting business? Winner, Parent's Guide to Children's Media Award (2001). Other titles in this series include Goldfish Don't Take Bubble Baths; Ants Don't Catch Flying Saucers; Goats Don't Brush Their Teeth; Lizards Don't Wear Lip Gloss; and Parrots Don't Make House Calls. Recommended for ages 7-10.

    Tess (Hazel Hutchins) - Tess loves the prairie. But her parents do not; coming from an easier life, far, far away, they resent the bitter cold winter and the poverty that means burning cow dung for fuel. Tess and her brother Charlie go out to collect cow patties in secret, but the shame soon turns into pride as they rival each other in finding the best. When they are found out by their haughtiest neighbor, however, Tess feels that she has let her family down. But the neighbor, who scorned her family the previous years, sees Tess in a new light after a courageous event that saves his dog's life. Based on a true incident, Tess combines authenticity with drama. Set during the 1930s in the Canadian West, it is a remarkably subtle study of a family whose older members are immigrants but whose children are, in the truest sense, at home. The story also explores different kinds of pride, self-respect, courage, and survival. Recommended for ages 7-10.

    Tess Builds a Snowman (Rozanne Lanczak Williams) - From the Learn to Write series of books. Recommended for ages 5-8.

    Tess of the D'Urbervilles (Thomas Hardy) - Hardy’s penultimate work, Tess of the D'Urbervilles is arguably the greatest tragedy of all Victorian literature. It tells the story of Tess, an impoverished woman whose past relations and miscarriage cause her to be rejected by her husband on their wedding night. Touching upon the themes of class, religion, gender, and sexuality, the novel was highly controversial for its time and is held in high esteem by literary scholars to this day. Recommended for ages high school students and older.

    Tess the Sea Turtle Fairy: A Rainbow Magic Book (Daisy Meadows) - The Ocean Fairies keep all the sea creatures safe and happy...until their magic goes missing! This is our eleventh group of Rainbow Magic fairies. The Ocean Fairies keep all the sea creatures safe and happy! But when the goblins shatter their enchanted conch shell, seven magical sea creatures leave to search for the pieces. The Ocean Fairies must find the shells…and their animal friends! Tess the Sea Turtle Fairy needs to track down her turtle friend --- and her magic. If Rachel and Kirsty can't help, some confused baby turtles won't find their way to the ocean! Find the missing creature in each book and help save the ocean magic! Recommended for ages 6-9.

    Tess's Tree (Jess M. Brallier) - “Tess loved her tree. / She liked to swing on it / and sit in its shade / and catch its leaves in the fall.” When Tess's tree has to come down, Tess is very sad…until she finds a way to gather friends and family and celebrate her tree's remarkable life. This is a book for sharing with people you love, among good friends, or on a quiet day under a favorite tree. Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Tess, Terrorists and the Tiara (Terry Baldwin) - Tess has never been able to compete with her “perfect” older sister, but now she must—if she wants to inherit her grandmother’s priceless tiara. The two girls have been invited to their grandparent’s lake house for the summer to help take care of Grandma who’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The sister who earns the most “helpful points” wins the former beauty queen’s crown. It’s not easy for Tess, who seems to always get things wrong despite best intentions. But when a secretive family of Muslims moves in nearby and Grandma disappears, Tess learns a lesson about prejudice, fear, and the real value of doing good—a lesson that may be worth even more than the tiara. Recommended for ages 13+

  • Famous People Named Tess

    Famous People Named Tess

    Famous People Named Tess - Tess Harper (actress); Tess Gerritsen (author)

  • Children of Famous People Named Tess

    Children of Famous People Named Tess

    Famous People Who Named Their Daughter Tess - Jane Curtin (comedienne and actress)

  • Historic Figures

    Tess - Girl Baby Name - Historic Figures

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

Personality of the Girl Name Tess

The number Nine personality represents the completion or ending of the cycle, and a need for perfection. This is the personality that moves from "self" to a greater understanding and compassion for the human condition and the world order. They want to make the world a better place. Nines are capable of great spiritual and humanitarian achievements. They are courageous and fearless, able to fight great battles on behalf of worthy causes. These personalities will not tolerate injustice. They are compassionate people with a strong sensitivity to others. They are able to both educate and inspire. Friendships and relationships are the lifeblood to the Nine, and they place a high value on love and affection. Nines are often exceptionally gifted artistically, and they have a keen imagination and enterprising mind.

Variations of the Baby Name - Tess

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