Vanessa \v(a)-nessa, van(es)-sa\ as a girl's name is pronounced va-NESS-ah. It is of Greek origin, and the meaning of Vanessa is "butterfly". The name of a genus of butterflies that includes the Red Admiral and the Painted Lady. Also possibly an early-18th-century literary name of English origin created by Jonathan Swift for "Gulliver's Travels" as a pseudonym for Esther Vanhomrigh, based on the first syllable of her surname, and possibly the Latin verb "esse", meaning "to be". Jenessa, Vanita and Vannaleigh are compound forms. See also Venetia. Actresses Vanessa Redgrave, Vanessa Williams; celebrity Vanna White.
Vanessa has 50 variant forms: Jenessa, Nessa, Nessie, Nessy, Van, Vanassa, Vaneeta, Vanesa, Vanesha, Vaneshia, Vanesia, Vanesse, Vanessia, Vanetta, Vaneza, Vania, Vaniece, Vaniessa, Vanija, Vanisa, Vanissa, Vanita, Vanna, Vannaleigh, Vannesa, Vannessa, Vannetta, Vanneza, Vannie, Vanya, Varnessa, Venesa, Venesha, Venessa, Venesse, Venetta, Venessea, Veniesa, Venisha, Venishia, Venna, Vennesa, Vennessa, Vennisa, Vinesha, Vinessa, Vinisha, Vonessa, Vonesse and Vonnessa.