Girl Baby Name


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Quick Facts on Theresa

  • Gender:
  • Girl
  • Origin:
  • English, German, Greek
  • Number of syllables:
  • 3
  • Ranking popularity:
  • N/A
tə-REE-sə; tə-RAY-zə
Simple meaning:

Characteristics of Theresa

  • Dependable
  • Solid
  • Practical
  • Hard-working
  • Industrious
  • Studious
  • Conservative

Etymology & Historical Origin - Theresa

Theresa’s etymology is somewhat uncertain. It is thought to come 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 originated out of Spain and Portugal where it remained largely confined until 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 said that the name Teresa originated from this woman. Later on in history, Teresa of Ávila was a prominent 16th century Spanish saint who is likely the source of the name spreading 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. Pet forms include Tess, Tessa and Terry. The 21st century seems to have left old Theresa behind as the name is no longer popular except for in Austria where she still ranks pretty high. The Spanish version Teresa is moderately popular in Spain and among Hispanic-Americans.

Popularity of the Name Theresa

Are you sitting down? Theresa just recently dropped off the American female naming charts in 2011 after centuries of prominent usage. And how sad it is to see her go! She’s been replaced by the more informal Tess and Tessa. The Spanish form of Teresa is still in circulation in the United States but Theresa is not. We were wholeheartedly shocked by this latest development. When you look back on the charts Theresa held firm around the Top 100 girl names in the country for over 100 years! Dating back to the late 1800s (which is as far back as the U.S. government has been tracking naming trends) Theresa was a fan-favorite. She came into the 20th century at position #102 (1900) and rose to her heights during the 1920s and then again in the 50s and 60s during which time she was often on the Top 50 list. So whatever happened to this holy homegirl? Clearly by the 1990s Theresa was fast becoming passé. This is when the name started to see dramatic drops down the charts until she finally disappeared from circulation in 2011. It’s not to say that some pious parents aren’t using this name anymore, just not with enough frequency to make the charts. Catholics have generally been the driving force behind this name, and modern American Catholics (Hispanic-Americans exempt) no longer pay homage to important saints when naming their sons and daughters. This is why Teresa remains on the charts but Theresa does not. Tess and Tessa are now considered the sweetly charming old-fashioned pet versions of Theresa and have usurped her popularity by leaps and bounds. Good-bye for now Theresa. We’re certain sometime in the future parents will eventually “harvest” your name back into full bloom.
Popularity of the Girl Name Theresa
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Theresa

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Theresa

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Theresa

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

  • Popular Songs on Theresa

    Popular Songs on Theresa

    Sad Theresa - a song by Warrant

    Theresa - a song by Mark Erelli

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Theresa

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Theresa

    Theresa - We cannot find any children’s books featuring a character named Theresa.

  • Famous People Named Theresa

    Famous People Named Theresa

    Famous People Named Theresa - Theresa Russell (actress); Theresa Bernstein (artist); Theresa Grentz (basketball player); Theresa Randle (actress)

  • Children of Famous People Named Theresa

    Children of Famous People Named Theresa

    Famous People Who Named Their Daughter Theresa - Maureen O'Sullivan (actress)

  • Historic Figures

    Theresa - Girl Baby Name - Historic Figures

    Mother Teresa (26 Aug 1910 – 5 Sep 1997) - Blessed Mother Teresa was the well-known founder of the Roman Catholic Missionaries of Charity, a religious order of nuns active in over 100 countries, but she herself is most closely associated with her work for the poor and dying in India. Born Agnes Bojaxhiu in Albania, she realized her calling to the work of the missionary at a very young age, and eventually devoted almost all of her time to the tending of India’s poorest outcasts. Throughout her life, Mother Teresa was the recipient of many humanitarian awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, but she was not immune to detraction, either. Her firm stance on abortion as “the greatest destroyer of peace today” earned her no friends at Planned Parenthood. She was also criticized for not holding to a higher standard of medical care for her charges, as well as for her belief that suffering was a gift to mankind in order to allow him to identify with the suffering of Christ. After her death, her letters and diaries reveal that she had a profound “dark night of the soul” throughout most of her life, and was beset with doubt about the very existence of God. Nonetheless, she adhered to the path she had chosen, and it was certainly not an easy one. That alone should qualify as a legitimate miracle enough to earn her that elusive sainthood. When she died, she was sincerely mourned, but the news of her death was largely eclipsed by that of Princess Diana five days earlier. Somehow, we believe she would have appreciated this.

Personality of the Girl Name Theresa

The number Four personality is marked by stability and discipline. This is the personality that follows the rules and is conservative by nature.  They have an earth-bound energy that prefers to build things methodically on top of firm foundations; they don't cut corners. Fours take their time and don't like to be hurried. But the outcome of their endeavors is likely to result in some strong and useful structure, which makes them great engineers and inventors. Fours are anything but frivolous or controversial. This is a trustworthy, straight-forward personality that embodies dedication and organization. They are the backbone and anchor in their relationships, careers and communities. They are tidy, punctual, and full of integrity. Hard-work comes naturally to a Four and they are immensely reliable. This is the personality you can always count on.

Variations of the Baby Name - Theresa

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