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Gender: Female Meaning of Clarissa: "bright, clear" Origin of Clarissa: Elaboration of Clara Clarissa's Popularity in 2017: #678

The name Clarissa is a girl's name of German, Latin origin meaning "bright, clear". Clarissa is ranked #678 on our popularity charts and is often added to lists like Classic Baby Names with a Twist and discussed in our forums with posts like "Girls Makeover - Two Middles".

From the experts:

Clarissa, the daintier version of Claire, has a long literary history of its own, having been featured in the novels of Samuel Richardson, Charles Dickens, and Virginia Woolf—Clarissa was the title character of Mrs. Dalloway—not to mention the 1990s teen sitcom, Clarissa Explains it All.

Clarissa is a name definitely worth considering as an alternative to the overused Vanessa and Melissa. Appealing diminutives are Clarry and Claris.

Red Cross founder Clara Barton was born Clarissa.

Find other names based on Clarissa using our baby name generator.

Famous People Named Clarissa

Clarissa "Clara" Harlowe Barton, American nurse; founder of the Red Cross
(Anne) Clarissa (Spencer-Churchill) Eden, Countess of Avon
Clarissa Davis, American basketball player
Clarissa Caroline Decker, 6th wife of American Mormon leader Brigham Young
Clarissa Cordelia "Clara" Moses Cannon, American Mormon counselor
Clarissa Kyoko Mei Ling Chun, American Olympic wrestler
Clarissa Eshuis, New Zealand field hockey player
Clarissa Ward, American TV journalist
Clarissa Miriam Bowers, America's Miss World 2017
Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, English novelist

Pop Culture References for the name Clarissa

Clarissa Dalloway, title character of "Mrs. Dalloway" (1925) by Virginia Woolf
Clarissa Darling, main character on TV's "Clarissa Explains It All"
Clarissa Harlowe, beautiful and saintly heroine of the novel "Clarissa; or, the History of a Young Lady" (1747-8) by Samuel Richardson
Clarissa "Clary" Fray/ Fairchild/ main character in Cassandra Clare's "The Mortal Instruments" series, Shadowhunter's TV series, The Mortal Instruments movie.
Clarissa von Reckwitz, main character in 1941 German film "Clarissa"
Clarissa Alpert, character on TV miniseries "Maneater"
Clarissa Worthington Howe, minor character in L. A. Meyer's "Bloody Jack" series
Clarissa Saunders, Mr. Smith's cynical secretary in film "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," "She called me Clarissa"
Clarissa, character on TV's "Reign"
Clarissa Stein, character on TV's "The Flash"
The Honerable Clarissa Carter, character in Enid Blyton's "Malory Towers" series


Tiera H. Says:


I used this name for a character. (Though the character hated it because she thought it was too girly and went by "Rissa"

Daiseymae Says:


Pretty name.

indiefendi2 Says:


This is so darn cute to me!!!

Claire Bear Says:


Yay! My name is Clarissa, too!

Floris Says:


true. I remember loving this name when I read the books years ago... I'm honestly not sure whether I prefer Clara or Clarissa...

TheSlothPrincess Says:


I think Clara is a nicer choice, Clarissa sounds like a spoiled little girl who thinks she's better than everyone.

FantasyandPrayer Says:


My absolute childhood favourite girls name, and I still love it <3

KassemJ Says:


Pretty name.

headintheclouds Says:


Like Eloise, I've really associated Clarissa with a spoiled-type children's book character, making me feel like it's an eternal little girl's name that doesn't quite age well- although that's not necessarily true. Clarissa is a pretty name, but I much prefer the simpler, more vintage and soft-sounding Clara.

Pucko Says:



clarissaleighanne Says:


My name is Clarissa and I happy to know that it not a commen name it not like the other names 😊

Clarissa. Says:


That's my name =) .. the best about having this name is that I know since now just one another Clarissa personally. It's not such a outworn name.

Shishi Says:


So did I! I adore this name!!!

HollyMaxSpencer Says:


I discovered this name because of Clary Fray :)