|Meaning||coined from Esther Vanhomrigh (Van + Es → Vanessa)|
|Related names||(Pet forms) Nessi, Van, Vaness, Vanny, Fanny, Nester, Ness, "Nessa", Vane (Spanish), Vanessza (Hungarian), Wanesa (Polish)|
|Look up Vanessa in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
Vanessa is a feminine given name, especially popular in the United States. It was invented by the Anglo-Irish writer Jonathan Swift for Esther Vanhomrigh, whom Swift had met in 1708 and whom he tutored. The name was created by taking "Van" from Vanhomrigh's last name and adding "Essa", a pet form of Esther. Swift may have also[contradiction] derived the name from that of the ancient mystic goddess Phanessa.[dubious ]
In 1726 the name Vanessa appeared in print for the first time in Cadenus and Vanessa, an autobiographical poem about Swift's relationship with Vanhomrigh. Swift had written the poem in 1713, but it was not published until three years after Vanhomrigh died. Vanessa has been adopted later as the name of a genus of butterfly by Johan Christian Fabricius in 1807.
The name became popular in modern times following the success of actress Vanessa Redgrave. Vanessa was the 71st most popular name for girls born in the United States in 2007. It has been among the top 200 names for girls in the United States since 1953 and among the top 100 names for girls since 1977. It first appeared among the top 1,000 names for girls in the United States in 1950, when it appeared on the list ranked in 939th place.
See also 
- Vanessa (disambiguation), people with the name
- DeGategno, Paul J.; R. Jay Stubblefield (2006). Critical Companion to Jonathan Swift. p. 42.
- "Social Security Administration".