Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Alyssa

Alyssa is typically accepted as a variant of Alicia, which is a modern Latinate form of Alice. Alice is an English off-shoot of the ancient Germanic female name Adalheidis, composed of the words “adal” meaning “noble” and “heid” meaning “kind, type”. From this perspective, Alyssa is said to mean “the noble one”. However, the name Alyssa may have been inspired by the alyssum flower of the mustard plant family found in the Mediterranean (among other places); “alyssum” comes from the Greek root “-a” (meaning “not, against”) and “lyssa” (meaning “madness, rage, insanity”) because in ancient times the plant was believed to cure madness. “Alyssos” (αλύσσο) essentially meaning “curing madness” and was used to treat people bitten by rabid animals. The low-growing white and yellow flowers (some pink/purple) are said to symbolize “worth beyond beauty” and the sweet smell of alyssum is believed to restore emotional balance. As a female given name, Alyssa was first made popular in the United States in the 1970s and 80s but has since spread to other English-speaking countries. While the name is still most popular in America, Alyssa also shows up on the Top 100 lists of baby girl names in Australia, Canada and Scotland.

All About the Baby Name – Alyssa

Personality

OF THE GIRL NAME ALYSSA

The number Five personality loves the excitement of life and can easily adapt to all situations. As natural adventurers, these personalities thrive on the new and unexpected and prefer to be in constant motion. It makes them feel alive. They'll stir up some action if there's not enough around, and as inherent risk-takers they enjoy pushing the envelope. Naturally rebellious, the Five personality has no fear and never resists change.  Traveling and new experiences feed their souls. Fives are very social and attract friends with ease. People love to be around the Five fun-loving and exciting energy.  This is also a lucky number in numerology (like the Threes), so fortune seems to shine on them, helped along by their own optimism and good-nature. Fives have a quick wit, a cerebral mind, and are generally very persuasive. 

Popularity

OF THE GIRL NAME ALYSSA

Alyssa made her first appearance on America’s Top 1000 list in 1963 so we would consider her quite modern in both style and sound. The name took off up the charts fairly “rabidly” and eventually achieved Top 100 status in 1986. American parents basically went “mad” for this name; it was one of the most commonly used baby girl names through the 1990s on up through the turn of the 21st century. Alyssa’s peak popularity came in 1998 and 1999 when she was the 11th most favored choice for baby girls in the country. Today the name is dropping down closer to the Top 50, but she’s still going strong on a relative basis. We love the “curing madness” etymology from the pretty little flower and the peaceful balance the plant is said to bring (a great name for Libra baby girls – the sign of balance). Alyssa reminds us of Melissa and Jessica – names with modern appeal yet ancient roots.

Quick Facts

ON ALYSSA

GENDER:

Girl

ORIGIN:

English

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

3

RANKING POPULARITY:

57

PRONUNCIATION:

ə-LIS-ə

SIMPLE MEANING:

Noble one; Curing madness

Characteristics

OF ALYSSA

Freedom-loving

Adventurous

Adaptable

Intellectual

Easygoing

Progressive

Sensual

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Alyssa

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME ALYSSA

We cannot find any significant literary characters by the name of Alyssa

Popular Songs

ON ALYSSA

Alyssa Lies
a country song by Jason Michael Carroll

Famous People

NAMED ALYSSA

Alyssa Milano, actress

Children of Famous People

NAMED ALYSSA

We cannot find any children of famous people with the first name Alyssa

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME ALYSSA

We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Alyssa