Means "spider" in Greek. In Greek myth Arachne was a mortal woman who defeated Athena
in a weaving contest. After this Arachne hanged herself, but Athena brought her back to life in the form of a spider.
Possibly means "bee wolf" (in effect equal to "bear") from Old English beo
"bee" and wulf
"wolf". Alternatively, the first element may be beadu
"battle". This is the name of the main character in the anonymous 8th-century epic poem 'Beowulf'. Set in Denmark, the poem tells how he slays the monster Grendel and its mother at the request of King Hroðgar
. After this Beowulf becomes the king of the Geats. The conclusion of the poem tells how Beawulf, in his old age, slays a dragon but is himself mortally wounded in the act.
From Japanese 蝶 (chou)
meaning "butterfly" and 子 (ko)
meaning "child". Other kanji combinations can be possible.
DEBORAHfEnglish, Hebrew, Biblical
Means "bee" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament Book of Judges, Deborah is a heroine and prophetess who leads the Israelites when they are threatened by the Canaanites. She forms an army under the command of Barak
, and together they destroy the army of the Canaanite commander Sisera. Also in the Old Testament, this is the name of the nurse of Rebecca.... [more]
Elaboration of Mel
, either from names such as MELISSA
or from Greek μελι (meli)
meaning "honey". A famous bearer was Greek-American actress Melina Mercouri (1920-1994), who was born Maria Amalia Mercouris.
Combination of Mel
(from names such as MELANIE
) with the popular name suffix inda
. It was created in the 18th century, and may have been inspired by the similar name Belinda
. In Hungary, the name was popularized by the 1819 play 'Bánk Bán' by József Katona.
MELISSAfEnglish, Dutch, Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology
Means "bee" in Greek. This was the name of a nymph that cared for young Zeus
in Greek mythology. It is also the name of the fairy who helps Rogero escape from the witch Alcina in Ludovico Ariosto's poem 'Orlando Furioso' (1516). As an English given name, Melissa
has been used since the 18th century.
VANESSAfEnglish, Italian, Portuguese, German, Dutch
Invented by author Jonathan Swift for his poem 'Cadenus and Vanessa' (1726). He arrived at it by rearranging the initial syllables of the first name and surname of Esther
Vanhomrigh, his close friend. Vanessa was later used as the name of a genus of butterfly. It was a rare given name until the mid-20th century, at which point it became fairly popular.
From the Roman cognomen Vespasianus
, derived either from Latin vesper
meaning "west" or "evening" or vespa
meaning "wasp". This was the name of a 1st-century Roman emperor, Titus Flavius Vespasianus, the founder of the Flavian dynasty.