The name Vanessa is a girl's name of English origin. Vanessa is ranked #204 on our popularity charts and is often added to lists like Vintage Baby Names for Girls and discussed in our forums with posts like "Girls Makeover - Two Middles".
From the experts:
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 was invented by Jonathan Swift for a lover named Esther Vanhomrigh--he combined the first syllable of her last name with the initial syllable of her first and used it in the poem Cadenus and Vanessa in 1713.
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.