When Anglo-Irish author Jonathan Swift needed a name for a certain character for a poem he was writing in 1712, he didn’t just settle for what was available—he created a new one! By combining the first few letters of his lover’s given name (Esther) and surname (Vanhomrigh), he came up with Vanessa, which was part of the poem’s title, “Cadenus and Vanessa.” Fast-forward to the 1980s, when Vanessa was a top name on the charts. It’s still popular, as is actress and singer Vanessa Hudgens. The name is also a type of butterfly.

Famous Vanessas

Wondering who else shares this name? Check out these well known people who made this baby name famous.
  • Vanessa Lachey

Popularity Trend Chart

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Source: Social Security Administration

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