Meaning and name origin
Vanessa \v(a)-nessa, van(es)-sa\ as a girl's name is pronounced va-NESS-ah. It is of Greek origin, and the meaning of Vanessa is "butterfly". The name of a genus of butterflies that includes the Red Admiral and the Painted Lady. Also possibly an early-18th-century literary name of English origin created by Jonathan Swift for "Gulliver's Travels" as a pseudonym for Esther Vanhomrigh, based on the first syllable of her surname, and possibly the Latin verb "esse", meaning "to be". Jenessa, Vanita and Vannaleigh are compound forms. See also Venetia. Actresses Vanessa Redgrave, Vanessa Williams; celebrity Vanna White.
Vanessa has 50 variant forms: Jenessa, Nessa, Nessie, Nessy, Van, Vanassa, Vaneeta, Vanesa, Vanesha, Vaneshia, Vanesia, Vanesse, Vanessia, Vanetta, Vaneza, Vania, Vaniece, Vaniessa, Vanija, Vanisa, Vanissa, Vanita, Vanna, Vannaleigh, Vannesa, Vannessa, Vannetta, Vanneza, Vannie, Vanya, Varnessa, Venesa, Venesha, Venessa, Venesse, Venetta, Venessea, Veniesa, Venisha, Venishia, Venna, Vennesa, Vennessa, Vennisa, Vinesha, Vinessa, Vinisha, Vonessa, Vonesse and Vonnessa.
Vanessa is a very popular first name for females (#195 out of 4276, Top 5%) but an uncommon surname or last name for all people (2000 U.S. Census).
Displayed below is the baby name popularity of the name Vanessa for girls. Vanessa reached its highest rank of #46 in the U.S. in 1980-1989. (2014 statistics).
Displayed below is a comparison of the popularity of the girl name Vanessa and its variant forms. Popular variation forms ranked in the Top 1000/100 are Vanessa (#171), Janessa (#761), Venessa, Vannie and Vanesa. (2014 statistics).