Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Denise

Denise is said to be the French feminine form of Denis, a medieval form of Dionysius, the Latin name for the Greek god of wine and celebration, who was the son of Zeus. The name ultimately comes from the Greek Dionysos from Διος (Dios) meaning ‘of Zeus’ and Νυσα (Nysa) which is the name of the mountain where rain nymphs raised Dionysius. So the etymology of Dennis ultimately means ‘Zeus of Nysa’. More importantly to the French, however, was the 3rd century Saint Denis who is now considered one of the patron saints of France. He was a missionary credited with converting the Gauls to Christianity but was ultimately beheaded for his endeavors in Paris by pagan priests. It was said that Denis picked up his severed head and walked six miles holding it as he continued to preach his sermons before dying (yah, kinda creepy, we know). A few hundred years later, a Basilica was erected to honor him at his burial spot. Additionally, the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Denis is where nearly all of the French kings were buried between the 10th and 18th centuries. Due to Saint Denis’s importance to the French people, the name has been common there since the Middle Ages. It’s not clear when the female version Denise came into play, but we do know that it was picked up regularly by English speakers since the 1920s.

All About the Baby Name – Denise

Personality

OF THE GIRL NAME DENISE

The number 11 is a Master Number, and embodies heightened traits of the Two. This personality is on a life journey to find spiritual truth. They are extremely idealistic and intuitive. Elevens have a rare and exceptional spiritual energy that brings a sense of obligation to illuminate the world around them. It's a very powerful responsibility, but these people have far more potential than they know. It's important that they surrender to higher ideals. They have the capacity to see the bigger picture, and they possess the skills to inspire others spiritually. Elevens have strong diplomatic skills and can become great peacemakers. Master numbers can be both a blessing and a curse, as they walk the fine line between greatness and the potential for self-destruction.

Popularity

OF THE GIRL NAME DENISE

Denise lurked in the shadows of American female names until sticking to the charts in 1926. For the subsequent two decades, Denise climbed the charts with a determination to reach the Top 100. She achieved this triumph in 1950 but she wasn’t content to stop there. The heyday of Denise’s glory was during the 1950s and 60s, so we’d call her a mid-century favorite. She averaged around #30 in terms of name popularity for 20 straight years beating out a lot of competition. By the 1970s, this fast favorite was clearly heading back to the shadows from whence she came. The name fell off the Top 100 in 1983 and has been in decline ever since (especially now that we’ve entered the 21st century). Denise is a name no longer in vogue and is barely given to 600 baby girls born each year. Most people consider this name out-dated now; in the same category as Nancy, Patricia, Barbara and Linda – their days are behind them. It doesn’t mean this isn’t a pretty name. Those named Dennis or Denise could be considered followers of Dionysius who was pretty much the god of wine, debauchery and good cheer. So if you’re an “oenophile” (lover of wine), you might want to keep this name in your bodega.

Quick Facts

ON DENISE

GENDER:

Girl

ORIGIN:

French

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

760

PRONUNCIATION:

də-NEES

SIMPLE MEANING:

Zeus of Nysa (Dionysius)

Characteristics

OF DENISE

Inspirational

Highly Intuitive

Spiritual Teacher

Extremely Bright

Uplifting

Truth-seeker

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Denise

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME DENISE

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

Popular Songs

ON DENISE

Debbie Denise
a song by Blue Oyster Cult

Denise
a song by Randy and the Rainbows

Famous People

NAMED DENISE

Denise Richards (actress, reality TV)
Denise Crosby (actress)
Denise Austin (fitness guru)
Denise Matthews (aka Vanity, former 80s pop-singer turned evangelist)

Children of Famous People

NAMED DENISE

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

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME DENISE

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