The name is either derived from the alyssum flower which is composed of the Greek elements, α “not; against” and λυσσα (lyssa) meaning “madness; rabies.” The plant was used as a cure against madness.
Alternately, it may be an anglicized form of the Greek Elissa which is a Hellenized form of the Phoenician name Elishat meaning “wanderer.” Queen Elissa (also known as Dido) was the name of the legendary foundress of Carthage.
Currently, Alyssa is the 20th most popular female name in the United States, (2010). Her popularity in other countries is as follows:
- # 42 (Canada, BC, 2010)
- # 45 (Australia, NSW, 2010)
- # 100 (Scotland, 2010)
- # 129 (France, 2009)
- # 157 (the Netherlands, 2010)
Other forms of Elissa include:
- Alissa/Alissar اليسار اليسا عليسا عليسة (Arabic: a very popular name among Assyrian and Lebanese Christians)
- Élissa (French)
- Elissa (Greek/Italian)
- Elyssa (Greek)
- Elisa (Spanish)