Literary invention; also a species of butterfly

Vanessa Origin and Meaning

The name Vanessa is a girl's name of English origin.

Vanessa was invented by writer Jonathan Swift for a lover named Esther Vanhomrigh—he combined the first syllable of her last name with the initial syllable of her first. Swift used it in the poem Cadenus and Vanessa in 1713. A century later, Johan Christian Fabricius used Vanessa as the name of a genus of butterfly.

Vanessa was one of the ultra-feminine three-syllable hits of the eighties, but has proved to have had more staying power than others like Tiffany, Kimberly, and Melissa, due to its classic beauty.

Vanessa Redgrave is the doyenne of the renowned Redgrave family; Vanessa Hudgens, the young actor and singer from High School Musical is a more youthful bearer. On TV there have been Vanessas on The Cosby Show, Gossip Girl and Vampire Diaries.

# 304 in the US

Vanessa Rank in US Top 1000

# 406 on Nameberry

Vanessa Rank in Nameberry Top 1000

Vanessa Popularity

Famous People Named Vanessa

  • Vanessa RedgraveEnglish actress
  • Vanessa Anne HudgensAmerican actress
  • Vanessa BellEnglish painter; sister of novelist Virginia Woolf
  • Vanessa Lynn WilliamsAmerican actress and singer, Miss America 1983
  • Vanessa Estelle WilliamsAmerican actress
  • Vanessa KirbyEnglish actress
  • VanessaMae Vanakorn Nicholson, British violinist
  • Vanessa Joy MinnilloAmerican TV host and actress
  • Vanessa Lee CarltonAmerican singer,songwriter
  • Vanessa ZahorianAmerican ballerina
  • Vanessa VadimFrench,American film producer, daughter of actress Jane Fonda
  • Vanessa Alice BensimonFrench graffiti artist, known as "Miss Van"
  • Vanessa BeecroftItalian performance artist
  • Vanessa Haydon Trumpdaughter,in,law to President Donald Trump
  • Vanessa Marie Bryantwife of basketball player Kobe Bryant
  • Vanessa BrunoFrench fashion designer
  • Vanessa Fallon RohannaAustralian children's performer
  • Vanessa EviganAmerican actress
  • Vanessa Jo Merrelltwin sister of Veronica Merrell, YouTuber, fashion designer
  • Vanessa Vailatti (b. 1992) Brazilian Model
  • Vanessa Gleason (b. 1979) American model & actressPlayboy Playmate of the Month for September 1998
  • Vanessa Sue DiBernardoAmerican soccer player
  • Vanessa Adriana Nadallawyer, chemical engineer and professor, wife of Lin,Manuel Miranda.

Vanessa in Pop Culture

  • Vanessa WeatherfordPanessa Baegotti
  • Vanessa Abramscharacter on TV's "Gossip Girl".
  • Vanessa Huxtablecharacter on TV's "The Cosby Show".
  • Vanessa Bennettcharacter on American soap "All My Children".
  • Vanessa Turnbillcharacter in 2000 movie "Cut".
  • Vanessa Doofenshmirtzcharacter on animated series "Phineas and Ferb".
  • Vanessa Kensingtoncharacter in the Austin Powers series.
  • Vanessacharacter in movie "Big Daddy".
  • Vanessa Loringcharacter in movie "Juno".
  • Vanessa Monroecharacter on TV's "The Vampire Diaries".
  • Vanessa Hansencharacter in movie "City by the Sea".
  • Vanessa Moschellacharacter on TV's "Da Vinci's Demons".
  • Vanessacharacter in movie "Corvette Summer".
  • Vanessa Ivesmain character on TV's "Penny Dreadful".
  • VanessaUrsula's human form in Disney's "The Little Mermaid".
  • Vanessa PikeThe Baby,sitters Club character.
  • VanessaWade Wilson's girlfriend in the movie "Deadpool".
  • Vanessa Moritacharacter on Disney's Backstage.
  • Vanessa Wrigleycharacter on TV's "Odd Mom Out".
  • Vanessacharacter in In The Heights.