Meaning and name origin
Nerissa \n(e)-rissa, ner(is)-sa\ as a girl's name is of Italian origin, and the meaning of Nerissa is "black-haired". From Nericcia. Created by Shakespeare for the name of Portia's waiting woman in "The Merchant of Venice". Also possibly derived from Nereida (Spanish, Greek) "sea nymph" or a variant based on Marisa or Marissa.
For more information, see also the related girl name Nerine.
Nerissa is a somewhat popular first name for females (#2774 out of 4276, Top 65%) but an uncommon surname or last name for all people (2000 U.S. Census).
Displayed below is a comparison of the popularity of the girl name Nerissa and its variant forms. Popular variation forms ranked in the Top 1000/100 are Marissa (#473), Nereida and Marisa. (2014 statistics).