April 11, 2009

Marissa, Marisa, and Maris

updated Sept 2015
Maris ~ Star of the Sea ~ Latin

Marissa was the name of a childhood friend of mine. Together we had picnics in the backyard, played games with the neighborhood kids, and made forts in the livingroom. She had pretty dark hair and eyes, and a particularly fashionable mother. I have always loved her name.

I think Marissa's mother was a little ahead of the times by choosing a name that didn't hit its peak until 1995. It's a nice alternative to the more common Melissa, and it has a beautiful meaning. Derived from Maris, the name comes from an epithet for the Virgin Mary, who is a guiding star to the "sea" or the Isrealites. The Latin is Stella Maris, meaning Star of the Sea. Gorgeous!


This name and its variants are all over the map. Maris is not in the top 1,000 names at all. It sounds perhaps a bit less flowing and modern, and it doesn't help that Maris was the name of a (never-seen) neurotic character on the t.v. show Frasier.

Marissa, the most popular form, is in the middle of the top 1,000 and falling a bit in popularity since the mid-nineties. The spelling Marisa is substantially less popular. That doesn't make any of these names a bad choice, of course.

Marissa is still a well-liked name with a nice sound and meaning. It will always have a soft spot in my heart.

Facts and Stats

  • Variations of Maris include: 
    • Marisa
    • Marise
    • Marish
    • Marisha
    • Marissa
    • Marisse
  • For 2014, Marissa has fallen to 473, and Marisa is no longer in the top 1,000.
  • Marissa is the name of a character on the O.C.
  • Marisa is a character from The Golden Compass

1 comment:

  1. What a great idea for a blog! I was going to have my students blog about their names but I will certainly have them visit your blog.


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