Of Irish origin.

Vanessa is a name invented by Irish writer Jonathan Swift.

Swift created the name from the name of a close friend called Esther Vanhomrigh. He used the first syllable, “Van”, of her last name and then he added “Essa”, a pet form of her given name.

The name Vanessa appeared in print in 1726, in Swift’s autobiographic poem “Cadenus and Vanessa”.

In 1807 the name was used to name a genus of butterfly by Danish zoologist Johan Christian Fabricius.

Vanessa was rarely used until the mid 20th century.

Alternative forms of the name are: Vannessa, Nessy, Vanesse, Vanna, Vanetta.

Famous bearers are Vanessa Redgrave, Vanessa Mae, Vanessa Lynn Williams, Vanessa Paradis, Vanessa Kirby, Vanessa da Mata, Vanessa Ray, Vanessa Amorosi, Vanessa King, Vanessa Paul, Vanessa Hudgens, Vanessa Beecroft.

Vanessa Redgrave is an acclaimed English actress.

Tennessee Williams considered Redgrave “the greatest actress of our time”. She has received Academy, BAFTA, Golden Globe, Emmy, Tony and several other stage and film awards.