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Origin, Meaning, And History Of Clarissa

The feminine name Clarissa has roots in Latin, Portuguese, and Italian languages, and was originally used to denote nuns historically associated with the Roman Catholic Order of St. Clare. It is a combination of the Latin name ‘Clara,’ which means ‘clear’ and ‘bright’ and the suffix ‘issa.’

Clare of Assisi was also spelled as Clara, Clair, Claire, or Sinclair. She was an Italian saint and was deeply influenced by Francis of Assisi. She was the founder of the Order of the Poor Ladies, which was a monastic religious order for women. She was also one of the first women to write a set of monastic guidelines. To commemorate her, the Order she founded was renamed in her honor as the Order of Saint Clare and is today known as the Poor Clares.

The name is a Latinate form of Clarice, which was derived from the name Clara. Some other variations of the name are Clarisse in French, Klárisza in Hungary, Claritia in Late Roman, Clarisa in Spanish, and Clarice or Clarisse in English. Names like Clara, Claire, and Clare, as well as surnames like Sinclair and St. Clair, are all cognates.

Some adorable and unique nicknames for Clarissa are Clarie, Clarrie, Clary, Clarry, Cissy, Rissa, and Rissie.

Clarissa is a name that is popularly found in the literary world. This name was greatly popularized by Samuel Richardson’s epistolary novel “Clarissa.” It is also known as “The History of a Young Lady.” This novel is one of the longest English novels ever written and has earned its place in history for its psychological insight.

In Virginia Woolf’s psychological fiction novel “Mrs. Dalloway,” Clarissa Dalloway is one of the main characters. She is lively, self-reflective, and philosophical. Clarissa “Clary” Fray is Cassandra Clare’s protagonist in “The Mortal Instruments” series. She is portrayed as determined, headstrong, and motivated. Clarissa Hailsham-Brown is one of the characters in Agatha Christie’s 1954 play, “Spider’s Web.”

On-screen, the name can be found in the 1939 film “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington” where Clarissa Saunders was played by Jean Arthur. “Clarissa Explains It All” is also the title of a tee, where Melissa Joan Hart played the titular role of Clarissa Darling.


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Clear; something that is easy to understand and interpret
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How To Pronounce Clarissa?


Famous People With The Name Clarissa

  • Clarissa Harlowe BartonAmerican nurse who founded the American Red Cross
  • Clarissa DavisFormer American professional basketball player who was inducted to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006
  • Clarissa Pinkola EstésFirst-generation American writer and Jungian psychoanalyst, known for her book ‘Women Who Run With The Wolves’
  • Clarissa WardBritish-American television journalist, who is the chief international correspondent for CNN
  • Anne Clarissa Eden, Countess of AvonEnglish memoirist, wrote the book “Clarissa Eden: A Memoir – From Churchill to Eden”

Clarissa On The Popularity Chart

According to the Social Security Administration, the name was highly popular during the late 20th and early 21st centuries and made it to the top 250 names in those years. Check the graphs below for a better understanding.

Popularity Over Time

The name made a slow ascent in its popularity and reached its peak in the year 1995 with 1,201 babies per million sharing the name. However, the name saw a gradual decline in usage over the next 25 years.

Source: Social Security Administration

Rank Over Time

The name held its highest rank in 1995 at 239. The following years saw a drop in rankings but continues to remain in the top 1000 list.

Source: Social Security Administration

Names With Similar Sound As Clarissa

Clarissa is a wonderful name with a feminine vibe to it. If you like the sound of the name, we have a few more choices along the same resonance.

Names With Similar Meaning As Clarissa

Clarissa’s meaning is direct but steeped in history. If you are looking for something along these lines, here are a few suggestions.

Name Numerology For Clarissa

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