How popular is the baby name Clarissa in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, check out all the blog posts that mention the name Clarissa.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Clarissa


Posts that Mention the Name Clarissa

Name quotes #110: Marné, Wulfstan, Brandon

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Time for another batch of name quotes!

From the book A Life Observed: A Spiritual Biography of C. S. Lewis (2013) by Devin Brown:

Although born and baptized as Clive [Staples Lewis], Lewis soon took a disliking to the name his parents had given him. Sometime around the age of four, he marched up to his mother and, pointing at himself, declared that he was now to be known as “Jacksie.” This name, later shortened to Jacks and then to just Jack, became the only name he would answer to. In his book Jack’s Life, Douglas Gresham, Lewis’s stepson, provides the following background on why Lewis chose this name: ‘It was actually because of a small dog that he was fond of that he picked the name Jacksie, which was what the dog was called. It was run over (probably by a horse and cart as there were almost no cars in the time and place where he was a child), and Jack, as he later became known just took the name for himself.’

From a lecture on writing sci-fi and fantasy [vid] given by author Brandon Sanderson, an aside [at 36:05] about the name Brandon:

When I grew up in Nebraska, I was the only Brandon, like, in my school. It was a really original, interesting name. I’m like, ‘My parents came up with this great, original, interesting name.’ And then I moved to Utah to go to BYU and there were five in my freshman dorm. And then I realized: It’s a Mormon name! Who would have thought? It’s not in any of the scriptures but it totally is a Mormon name. There’s a ton. Brandon Flowers, right? Brandon Mull, Brandon Sanderson. There’s a lot of Brandons out there with an LDS background. Who knew?

[Brandon Flowers is the lead singer of The Killers, while Brandon Mull — like Sanderson — writes fantasy. Brandon Sanderson is behind the debuts of the baby names Kaladin and Sylphrena, btw.]

Speaking of Mormon names…from a recent Deseret News article about Utah’s unusual baby names by Meg Walter:

Heather Marné Williams-Young is named after Marné Whitaker Tuttle. According to legend, Marné Whitaker Tuttle’s mother named her Marne (with no accent) after the French town on the frontlines of World War I, thinking Marne, which rhymes with barn, was a beautiful name.

But Marné disagreed, so she added the acute accent over the e, and pronounced it “Mar-nay.” “There is nothing more Utah to me than women of a certain generation trying make their names more French by putting accents places they shouldn’t be,” Williams-Young says.

[Marné Tuttle (1920-2014), the wife of LDS church leader A(lbert) Theodore Tuttle, served as “temple matron” in the Provo Utah Temple in the early 1980s. During that time, Heather’s mother worked as a Temple employee. Both Heather’s mother and Heather’s mother’s roommate ended up giving their future daughters the middle name Marné.]

“There are a handful of us around Utah County who were all named after the same woman with the made-up name,” Williams-Young says. “I feel such a kinship with them.”

[One of Marné Tuttle’s own daughters, Clarissa, was also given Marné as a middle.]

From a 2015 article in History Today about Anglo-Saxon personal names by James Chetwood:

While it is hard to tell exactly how important the meaning of name elements were, it seems likely that people were aware, to some extent, that names carried some kind of meaning. Indeed, one of the most famous, or infamous, Anglo-Saxons is most often known to us today as Ethelred the Unready, the king who lost his kingdom to Cnut. However, the name Ethelred signified ‘noble counsel’. So, when his contemporaries labelled him Æðelræd Unræd they were not calling him ‘unready’, but using the meaning of his name to mock his lack of good counsel. Similarly, when Archbishop Wulfstan entitled his homily to the English people ‘Sermon of the Wolf to the English’, he was clearly doing so in the knowledge that the first part of his name did not just sound like, but signified, ‘wolf’. Surely it cannot be coincidence that ‘rich’, ‘strong’ and ‘beautiful’ were used in names, where ‘poor’, ‘weak’ and ‘ugly’ were not.

A feature of this naming system was flexibility. There was a finite number of elements, but they could be combined in a multitude of ways. This meant that, in essence, a name was created for, rather than given to, each person. So, while elements could be repeated to emphasize parentage and family links, there was very little repetition of full names and it would be unlikely that any two people within a community or family would have the same name.

From a recent article about baseball player Zebulon Vermillion in the New York Post:

Zebulon Vermillion, as he has to explain to just about everyone he meets, was born in Vail, Colo., not too far from the Rocky Mountains and a summit known as Pikes Peak. His parents, the outdoorsy type, read that the apex was named after Zebulon Pike, and it stuck with them.

Vermillion’s last name is Nordic and middle name — Cassis — French, after a fishing port in Southern France. His mother, who is trilingual, loves the city.

From the book Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire (2022) by Brad Stone, on the process of naming Amazon’s Alexa:

Bezos said he wanted the wake word to sound “mellifluous” and opined that his mother’s name, Jacklyn, was “too harsh.” His own quickly discarded suggestions included “Finch,” the title of a fantasy detective novel by Jeff VanderMeer; “Friday,” after the personal assistant in the novel Robinson Crusoe; and “Samantha,” the witch who could twinkle her nose and accomplish any task on the TV show Bewitched.

For more quotes about names, check out the name quotes category.

Where did the baby name Rissa come from in 1947?

The character Rissa Fortune from the movie "Time Out of Mind" (1947).
Rissa from “Time Out of Mind

Rissa has always been a logical nickname for Clarissa and other -rissa names. But it first appeared as an independent name in the U.S. baby name data in 1947:

  • 1949: 5 baby girls named Rissa
  • 1948: unlisted
  • 1947: 5 baby girls named Rissa [debut]
  • 1946: unlisted
  • 1945: unlisted

This was the year the movie Time Out of Mind came out. One of the central characters was Clarissa “Rissa” Fortune, played by actress Ella Raines.

The protagonist was her brother, Chris, an aspiring composer/pianist who had to battle various things — his stern father, his spoiled wife, his own alcoholism — while trying to find his footing as an artist.

Do you like Rissa as a stand-alone name, or do you prefer it as a nickname for a -rissa name (like Clarissa, Nerissa, Marissa, or Larissa)?

P.S. I also mentioned Rissa in the Risë post.

Name quotes #86: Sena, Fennis, LeBron

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Time for the monthly quote-post!

From the speech “How Everything Turns Away” by children’s book author Lois Lowry (b. 1937):

My first photograph…or the first photograph of me…was taken, by my father, when I was 36 hours old. My name was different then. They had named me Sena, for my Norwegian grandmother, and that was my name until she was notified; then she sent a telegram insisting that they give me an American name, and so I was renamed Lois Ann for my father’s two sisters.

From an article about baby-naming in Armenia:

Armenia does not have a censorship for names, while its neighbor Azerbaijan has. There are three categories of names in Azerbaijan: “allowed,” “undesirable,” and “prohibited.” No comment is necessary for the first group. The second group includes funny and bizarre names. The third group refers to Armenian names.

On the names of spirit guides, from the book Journey of Souls (1994) by LBL hypnotherapist Dr. Michael Newton:

The personal names my clients attach to their guides range from ordinary, whimsical, or quaint-sounding words, to the bizarre. Frequently, these names can be traced back to a specific past life a teacher spent with a student. Some clients are unable to verbalize their guide’s name because the sound cannot be duplicated, even when they see them clearly while under hypnosis. I tell these people it is much more important that they understand the purpose of why certain guides are assigned to them, rather than possessing their names. A subject may simply use a general designation for their guide such as: director, advisor, instructor, or just “my friend.”

From a 1987 Sports Illustrated interview with basketball player Fennis Dembo:

With apologies to World B. Free, Shaquille O’Neal and, yes, even God Shammgod, when it comes to staking a claim to basketball’s alltime name, Fennis Dembo enjoys Jordanlike distance from the pretenders. “I’m always a bit stunned that people still remember me,” says Fennis, whose mother, Clarissa, selected his name, along with that of his twin sister, Fenise, as a declaration that after 11 children, her childbearing days were finis. “I tried to set up an E-mail account, but two other guys–basketball fans, I guess–were already using my name in their address.”

From a 2018 interview with basketball player LeBron James [vid]:

I still regret giving my 14-year-old my name […] When I was younger, obviously, I didn’t have a dad. So, my whole thing was, like, whenever I have a kid, not only is he gonna be a junior, but I’m gonna do everything that this man didn’t do. They’re gonna experience things that I didn’t experience, and the only thing I can do is give them the blueprint, and it’s up to them to take their own course.

(LeBron, Jr., is nicknamed “Bronny” — no doubt to differentiate son from father, but perhaps also to take some of the pressure off. Here’s a post about how LeBron James has affected baby names over the years.)

From a 2016 Maxim interview with movie director Ron Howard:

Q: Is it true that your kids’ middle names come from the locations where they were conceived?

A: David Letterman got that out of me, and my kids will never let me forget it. My daughter, Bryce [Dallas Howard], was conceived in Dallas, and our twins [Jocelyn Carlyle Howard and Paige Carlyle Howard] were conceived while we were doing a publicity tour at the Carlyle Hotel in New York City. For the last one [Reed Cross Howard], we were on Lower Cross Road, so we decided to go with Cross. “Volvo” wouldn’t be such a good middle name.

From a review of the memoir The Kennedy Chronicles by former MTV veejay Kennedy (full name: Lisa Kennedy Montgomery):

According to Kennedy, her secret dalliance with the then-married lead singer and frontman of the Goo Goo Dolls led to one of the group’s most well-known songs, the 1995 mega-hit “Name.” To Kennedy, the lyrics hit a little to close to home: “Did you lose yourself somewhere out there? Did you get to be a star?” And then “You could hide beside me/ Maybe for a while. And I won’t tell no one your name.”

She writes: “When I asked him about it he indeed admitted the inspiration and told me there was no way all we’d shared wasn’t going to show up in his writing.”

Here’s the song:

Numerology & baby names: Number 1

Baby names with a numerological value of 1

Here are hundreds of baby names that have a numerological value of “1.”

I’ve sub-categorized them by overall totals, because I think that some of the intermediate numbers could have special significance to people as well.

Within each group, I’ve listed up to ten of the most popular “1” names per gender (according to the current U.S. rankings).

Beneath all the names are some ways you could interpret the numerological value of “1,” including descriptions from two different numerological systems.

1 via 10

The following baby names add up to 10, which reduces to one (1+0=1).

  • “10” girl names: Eda, Dea, Ebba, Ade
  • “10” boy names: Ade

1 via 19

The following baby names add up to 19, which reduces to one (1+9=10; 1+0=1).

  • “19” girl names: Mae, Ema, Abbie, Alea, Acadia, Aela, Mea, Jace, Aide, Gabi
  • “19” boy names: Adam, Jace, Dan, Jed, Fahd, Bob, Ra, Beka, Amad, Addai

1 via 28

The following baby names add up to 28, which reduces to one (2+8=10; 1+0=1).

  • “28” girl names: Eva, Eden, Lana, Ari, Nala, Andi, Adalee, Dani, Vada, Jael
  • “28” boy names: Alan, Ari, Eden, Case, Mack, Ira, Jael, Ash, Om, Adin

1 via 37

The following baby names add up to 37, which reduces to one (3+7=10; 1+0=1).

  • “37” girl names: Elena, Cora, Alina, Rebecca, Kate, Ariah, Alani, Liana, Amalia, Mina
  • “37” boy names: Luca, Baker, Axl, Jamal, Coen, Van, Brice, Niam, Nick, Ajay

1 via 46

The following baby names add up to 46, which reduces to one (4+6=10; 1+0=1).

  • “46” girl names: Hannah, Zoe, Gianna, Reagan, Lucia, Daniela, Adaline, Zara, Vera, Raegan
  • “46” boy names: Elias, Ivan, Juan, Zane, Leon, Damien, Arlo, Erick, Cesar, Malik

1 via 55

The following baby names add up to 55, which reduces to one (5+5=10; 1+0=1).

  • “55” girl names: Nevaeh, Hadley, Iris, Joanna, Camille, Freya, Aspen, Gabriela, Heaven, Mariam
  • “55” boy names: Edward, Jorge, Jett, Edwin, Grady, Davis, Conrad, Kellan, Vihaan, Grey

1 via 64

The following baby names add up to 64, which reduces to one (6+4=10; 1+0=1).

  • “64” girl names: Emily, Piper, Makayla, Tessa, Sabrina, Mercy, Miley, Frankie, Natasha, Azariah
  • “64” boy names: Jaxon, Brody, Zion, Peter, Knox, Lukas, Israel, Arjun, Ronald, Roland

1 via 73

The following baby names add up to 73, which reduces to one (7+3=10; 1+0=1).

  • “73” girl names: Brynn, Carolina, Kaylani, Jazmin, Elliot, Calliope, Karter, Jurnee, Bexley, Nataly
  • “73” boy names: Jackson, Joseph, Ezekiel, Elliot, Karter, Nicolas, Jayceon, Sergio, Sincere, Alberto

1 via 82

The following baby names add up to 82, which reduces to one (8+2=10; 1+0=1).

  • “82” girl names: Allison, Julianna, Kamryn, Meredith, Addyson, Clarissa, Kaisley, Lizbeth, Kaelynn, Charlize
  • “82” boy names: Maverick, Zachary, Hendrix, Phillip, Mitchell, Crosby, Thaddeus, Kamryn, Alfonso, Dimitri

1 via 91

The following baby names add up to 91, which reduces to one (9+1=10; 1+0=1).

  • “91” girl names: Katherine, Taylor, Everleigh, Sawyer, Payton, Phoenix, Braelynn, Kensley, Liberty, Lauryn
  • “91” boy names: Sawyer, Giovanni, Phoenix, Johnathan, Matthias, Taylor, Cassius, Yousef, Payton, Agustin

1 via 100

The following baby names add up to 100, which reduces to one (1+0+0=1).

  • “100” girl names: Presley, Vivienne, Clementine, Brynleigh, Joselyn, Austyn, Yaritza, Jordynn, Temperance, Lillyanna
  • “100” boy names: Maximus, Ezequiel, Quentin, Quinten, Presley, Everette, Shivansh, Austyn, Ignatius, Yunus

1 via 109

The following baby names add up to 109, which reduces to one (1+0+9=10; 1+0=1).

  • “109” girl names: Sutton, Brittany, Raylynn, Joslynn, Zipporah, Hennessy, Sunshine, Kimberlyn, Rowynn, Faithlynn
  • “109” boy names: Kingston, Sutton, Westley, Tristin, Khristian, Rigoberto, Montrell, Rayshawn, Justyn, Stryder

1 via 118

The following baby names add up to 118, which reduces to one (1+1+8=10; 1+0=1).

  • “118” girl names: Rosalynn, Westlyn, Shaylynn, Jesslynn, Kynzley, Sharlotte, Krystiana, Christyana, Isabellarose, Timberlyn
  • “118” boy names: Demitrius, Oluwatobi, Braxxton, Anastasios, Barrington, Stanislaw, Bryxton, Braxtynn, Youness, Jatavious

1 via 127

The following baby names add up to 127, which reduces to one (1+2+7=10; 1+0=1).

  • “127” girl names: Quetzaly, Karrington, Rosselyn, Roselynne, Lillyrose, Onyinyechi, Terralynn, Annavictoria, Torilynn
  • “127” boy names: Stratton, Odysseus, Kristoffer, Maksymilian, Augustino, Ozymandias, Theophilos, Chukwuebuka, Jaxxston, Kingarthur

1 via 136

The following baby names add up to 136, which reduces to one (1+3+6=10; 1+0=1).

  • “136” girl names: Kourtlyn, Oyinkansola, Brookelynne, Rosslynn, Tanitoluwa
  • “136” boy names: Jaquavious, Xzayvion, Oreofeoluwa

1 via 145

The following baby names add up to 145, which reduces to one (1+4+5=10; 1+0=1).

  • “145” girl names: Montgomery, Maryelizabeth, Elizabethrose, Peneloperose
  • “145” boy names: Montgomery, Sylvester, Quantavius, Constantinos

1 via 154

The girl name Summerlynn adds up to 154, which reduces to one (1+5+4=10; 1+0=1).

1 via 163

The boy name Constantinos adds up to 163, which reduces to one (1+6+3=10; 1+0=1).

1 via 172

The girl name Trinityrose adds up to 172, which reduces to one (1+7+2=10; 1+0=1).

What Does “1” Mean?

First, we’ll look at the significance assigned to “1” by two different numerological sources. Second, and more importantly, ask yourself if “1” or any of the intermediate numbers above have any special significance to you.

Numerological Attributes

“1” (the monad) according to the Pythagoreans:

  • “The Pythagoreans called the monad ‘intellect’ because they thought that intellect was akin to the One; for among the virtues, they likened the monad to moral wisdom; for what is correct is one. And they called it ‘being,’ ’cause of truth,’ ‘simple,’ ‘paradigm,’ ‘order,’ ‘concord,’ ‘what is equal among greater and lesser,’ ‘the mean between intensity and slackness,’ ‘moderation in plurality,’ ‘the instant now in time,’ and moreover they called it ‘ship,’ ‘chariot,’ ‘friend,’ ‘life,’ ‘happiness.'”
  • “They say that the monad is not only God, but also ‘intellect’ and ‘androgyne.’ It is called ‘intellect’ because of that aspect of God which is the most authoritative both in the creation of the universe and in general in all skill and reason”
  • “They consider it to be the seed of all, and both male and female at once”
  • “They call it ‘Chaos’ which is Hesiod’s first generator, because Chaos gives rise to everything else, as the monad does. It is also thought to be both ‘mixture’ and ‘blending,’ ‘obscurity’ and ‘darkness,’ thanks to the lack of articulation and distinction of everything which ensues from it.”
  • “They call it ‘Prometheus,’ the artificer of life, because, uniquely, it in no way outruns or departs from its own principle, nor allows anything else to do so, since it shares out its own properties.”

“1” according to Edgar Cayce:

  • “One indicates strength, power, influence” (reading 261-15).
  • “All activities emanate from the one” (reading 5751-1).
  • “As in numbers…all are formations or divisions or multiples of units of one, so the universe and the expressions of all natures within same are the manifestations of that one force, one power, one spirit, one energy known as or called a Universal Force, Creative Energy, or God.” (reading 1462-1).
Personal/Cultural Significance

Does “1” — or do any of the other numbers above (e.g., 19, 55, 64, 109) — have any special significance to you?

Think about your own preferences and personal experiences: lucky numbers, birth dates, music, sports, and so on. Maybe your favorite song is “When I’m Sixty-Four” by the Beatles, for example.

Also think about associations you may have picked up from your culture, your religion, or society in general.

If you have any interesting insights about the number 1, or any of the other numbers above, please leave a comment!

Source: Theologumena Arithmeticae, attributed to Iamblichus (c.250-c.330).

Who Was Hilo Hattie?

Hilo Hattie, album, 1941

If you’ve heard of Hilo Hattie, your first association is likely to be the Hawaiian tourist shop known selling “aloha wear” clothing and souvenirs.

But the name Hilo Hattie originated with a real person. “Hilo Hattie” was the stage name of Clarissa “Clara” Haili, a Hawaiian singer and comedienne who was born in Honolulu in 1901.

Her humorous live rendition of the hapa-haole song “When Hilo Hattie Does the Hilo Hop,” which she first performed in the late 1930s, was such a hit that she began using “Hilo Hattie” in place of her own name. (Hilo, pronounced hee-loh, is a town on the east coast of the Big Island.)

Some sources claim she made Hilo Hattie her legal name in the early ’40s, but the records I’ve seen don’t support this idea. Billboard was still calling her Clara Inter (her first married name) in the late ’40s, and she’s identified as Clara H. Nelson (her second married name) on her headstone.

Clara passed away in 1979. The same year, the Hawaiian fashion company now known as “Hilo Hattie” bought the rights to her name.

Source: Hawaii retailer Hilo Hattie sold