Menu

Names to Substitute for Melissa

Melissa is a favorite girls' name from the 80s and 90s that at this point is overused. Here are some possible substitutes.

ElizaHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Elizabeth, Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "pledged to God"
  • Description:

    Eliza originated as a diminutive of Elizabeth and eventually became used as a name in its own right. Despite its similarity to the Hebrew name Aliza, meaning "joyful," the two are unrelated. Eliza Schuyler Hamilton was the wife of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, recognizable today as one of the lead characters in the musical "Hamilton."

ElianaHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "my God has answered"
  • Description:

    The Hebrew variation of Eliana was taken from the elements el, meaning "God" and ana, meaning "answered." Eliana also has roots as a variation of the Late Latin name Aeliana, a feminization of the male given name Aelianus, itself derived from the Roman family name Aelius. Aelius is related to the Greek word helios, which refers to the Sun.

FrancescaHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian variation of Frances
  • Meaning:

    "from France or free man"
  • Description:

    Francesca is a lighter and much more feminine choice than the classic Frances, and one that is increasingly popular with upscale parents.

SelenaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latinized variation of Greek Selene
  • Meaning:

    "moon goddess"
  • Description:

    Selena is smooth, shiny, and sensual, a nineteenth-century name that found new life in the Latino community, following the biopic of slain Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla, starring Jennifer Lopez. But you don't have to be Latin to love Selena, which is both distinctive yet in step with stylish modern names such as Seraphina and Celia.

MillicentHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "strong in work"
  • Description:

    Combining the mild and the innocent, this sweet and feminine name is worthy of a comeback, in the mode of Madeline and Cecilia. Its original, also attractive form is Melisende, which came from Germany to France and was borne by a daughter of Charlemagne.

JulianaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "youthful or sky father"
  • Description:

    Long common in Europe, the elegant and regal Juliana, also spelled with two n's, has invaded these shores, in tandem with the more classic Julia. Together with Julian, the name derives from Julius, a Roman family name. Its origin is shrouded in history, but possible roots include Latin iuvenis, meaning "youthfu"; Greek ioulos, meaning "downy-bearded"; or Jovis, a form of Jupiter, which means "sky father".

LarissaHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Larisa, Greek and Russian
  • Meaning:

    "citadel"
  • Description:

    Larissa is a nymph name that's daintily pretty and a fresh alternative to Melissa or Alyssa. Though this is the more common variation in the Western World, the original is actually Larisa.

MarissaHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Maris or a combination of Maria + Louisa
  • Meaning:

    "drop of the sea, bitter, or beloved + famous battle"
  • Description:

    Pretty feminissima name that never became as overused as cousin Melissa. The more streamlined Maris is a more modern sounding option.

NerissaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "from the sea"
  • Description:

    An offbeat possible replacement for the overused Melissa and Marisa, Nerissa was used by Shakespeare for Portia's witty confidante in The Merchant of Venice. Queen Elizabeth has a cousin named Nerissa.

AlexaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek, English
  • Meaning:

    "defending men"
  • Description:

    Alexa was a steadily popular modern classic until Amazon's virtual assistant Alexa was released in 2013. It remains relatively well used in the US despite this, but has dropped from #50 in 2010 to #230 in 2020 as a result.

MeloraHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "golden apple"
  • Description:

    Euphonic hybrid of the sounds of Melissa and Laura. Melora Hardin is an actress who was featured on The Office.

AnissaHeart

  • Origin:

    Arabic
  • Meaning:

    "friendly"
  • Description:

    A pretty and delicate cousin of Anna is often heard in Scotland and is also currently popular in France. In the US it was brought to public attention by child actress Anissa Jones, who played Buffy on the popular TV show Family Affair, which debuted in 1966, bringing her name onto the charts the following year. Born Mary Anissa, her middle/stage name reflected her Lebanese heritage.

MarisaHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian and Spanish combination of Maria and Louisa
  • Meaning:

    "drop of the sea, bitter, or beloved + famous battle"
  • Description:

    A name made famous by Marisas Berenson and Tomei, never became as saturated as its cousin Melissa, so still a feasible choice. Marisa is one of those Spanish and Italian names for girls that sounds at once unusual and familiar, which makes it truly an international choice.

MelisandeHeart

  • Origin:

    French form of Millicent, German
  • Meaning:

    "strong in work"
  • Description:

    This old-time fairy tale name is rarely heard in the modern English-speaking world, but it's so, well, mellifluous, that it would make a lovely choice for a twenty-first century girl--a romanticized tribute to an Aunt Melissa or Melanie.

MelaniaHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish and Greek variation of Melanie
  • Meaning:

    "black"
  • Description:

    The current Mrs. Donald Trump, Slovenian model Melania Knauss, brought this pretty version to the fore. Saint Melania was an heiress who freed thousands of slaves.

CarissaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "grace"
  • Description:

    Trending down, along with others of both the Car and the issa groups.

LissaHeart

  • Origin:

    African and Arabic mythology name; diminutive of Melissa
  • Description:

    Lissa might be an abbreviation of Melissa, but it's more substantial in its own right: Lissa is the name of a supreme mother goddess in African mythology and an Arabic symbol of rebirth.

MelanthaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "dark flower"
  • Description:

    The th sound both softens and complicates this Melanie relative.

AmarissaHeart

  • Origin:

    Combination name, Ama + issa
  • Meaning:

    "little lover"
  • Description:

    Amarissa is kind of cobbled together from two traditional elements: Ama, which means "love" or "lover" and is found in such more established names as Amabel and Amariah, and -issa, which is a common feminine suffix that functions as a diminutive. While Amarissa is pretty and frilly, it may frequently be misunderstood as Marissa, Melissa, and may ultimately be more trouble than it's worth.