The name is of uncertain origin. It may be derived from a Scandinavian language, rather than a Celtic language like the similarly-spelt masculine given name Brendan. It is possible that Brenda may be derived in part from the Old Norse element brand, meaning "(flaming) sword".
Prior to the 20th century, Brenda was primarily used in Ireland and Scotland, later it became popular in England. Its use in the Gaelic-speaking countries is attributed to the similar, although likely etymologically unrelated, masculine name Brendan.
- Brenda Archer, Guyanese high jumper
- Brenda Benet, actress
- Brenda Blethyn, English actress
- Brenda Brabham, American beauty queen and QVC model
- Brenda Bruce, English actress
- Brenda Bufalino, tap dancer
- Brenda Buttner, TV news
- Brenda Castillo, Dominican Republic volleyball player
- Brenda Chapman, American film director
- Brenda Davies, wife of Robertson Davies
- Brenda De Banzie, British actress of stage and screen
- Brenda Dervin, American Professor, The Ohio State University
- Brenda Dickson, American actress, originated the role of Jill Foster on The Young and the Restless
- Brenda Eisler, Canadian long jumper
- Brenda Fassie, South African pop singer
- Brenda Fricker, Irish actress
- Brenda Gibbs, Australian actress
- Brenda Hale, Baroness Hale of Richmond, first female Lord of Appeal in Ordinary
- Brenda Joyce:
- Brenda Lee, American singer
- Brenda Maddox, biographer
- Brenda Marshall, American actress
- Brenda Matthews, New Zealand sprinter
- Brenda Pye, English artist
- Brenda Reimer, the name by which David Reimer was known until age 13
- Brenda Robertson, Canadian politician
- Brenda Romero, American game designer
- Brenda Russell, American singer/songwriter
- Brenda Sue Schaefer, murder victim
- Brenda Schultz-McCarthy, Dutch former tennis player
- Brenda Song, American actress and singer, stars as London Tipton in "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody"
- Brenda Ann Spencer, American convicted murderer
- Brenda K. Starr, American singer
- Brenda Stauffer, field hockey player
- Brenda Strong, American actress
- Brenda Vaccaro, Italian-American actress
- Brenda Venus, American actress, writer, and director
- Brenda Villa, Mexican-American polo player
- Brenda, character from Perfect Hair Forever
- Brenda, nickname of Rope Girl, character from the animated Disney show Teamo Supremo
- Brenda, daughter of Magnus Troil, character in Sir Walter Scott's novel The Pirate
- Brenda Barrett Corinthos, character on the soap opera General Hospital
- Brenda Bates, character in Urban Legend
- Brenda Chenowith, character in Six Feet Under
- Brenda Jenkins, character in 227
- Lady Brenda Last, character in A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh
- Brenda Meeks, friend of Cindy Campbell of Scary Movie series played by Regina Hall. In A Vampire's love, Regina's character had the same name and is played by Emily Shepherd.
- Brenda Morgenstern, character in the sitcom Rhoda played by Julie Kavner
- Brenda Starr, Reporter, a comic strip about a glamorous, adventurous female reporter. The character was portrayed in the 1989 film of the same name by actress Brooke Shields.
- Brenda Walsh, character in Beverly Hills, 90210 (TV series 1990-2000) played by Shannen Doherty.
- Hanks, Patrick; Hardcastle, Kate; Hodges, Flavia (2006), A Dictionary of First Names, Oxford Paperback Reference (2nd ed.), Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 38, ISBN 978-0-19-861060-1
- Learn about the family history of your surname, Ancestry.com, retrieved 17 November 2010 which cited: A Dictionary of First Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-280050-7 for the surnames "Brenda".
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