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PronouncedPron.tə-REE-sə English
tə-RAY-zə English
te-RE-za German

Meaning & History

From the Spanish and Portuguese name Teresa. It was first recorded as Therasia, being borne by the Spanish wife of Saint Paulinus of Nola in the 4th century. The meaning is uncertain, but it could be derived from Greek θερος (theros) "summer", from Greek θεριζω (therizo) "to harvest", or from the name of the Greek island of Therasia (the western island of Santorini).

The name was mainly confined to Spain and Portugal during the Middle Ages. After the 16th century it was spread to other parts of the Christian world, due to the fame of the Spanish nun and reformer Saint Teresa of Ávila. Another famous bearer was the Austrian Habsburg queen Maria Theresa (1717-1780), who inherited the domains of her father, the Holy Roman emperor Charles VI, beginning the War of the Austrian Succession.
VariantsTeresa, Therese English Teresa, Therese, Theresia German Teresa, Teresia, Therese, Theresia, Terese Swedish Teresa, Therese, Terese Norwegian Teresa, Therese, Terese Danish
DiminutivesTeri, Terri, Terrie, Terry, Tess, Tessa, Tessie, Tracee, Tracey, Traci, Tracie, Tracy English Tessan Swedish
Other Languages & CulturesTerese Basque Tereza Bulgarian Terezija, Tena Croatian Tereza, Terezie Czech Theresia, Tess, Thera, Trees Dutch Teresa Finnish Thérèse French Terézia, Teca, Teréz Hungarian Toiréasa, Treasa Irish Teresa Italian Therasia Late Roman Trees Limburgish Teresa Polish Teresa, Teresinha Portuguese Tereza, Terezinha Portuguese (Brazilian) Tereza Romanian Terézia Slovak Terezija Slovene Teresa, Tere, Teresita Spanish


Depiction of Saint Teresa of ÁvilaDepiction of Saint Teresa of Ávila


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Entry updated May 31, 2018   Contribute