Eng (teh-REE-sah; teh-REESE); Spanish (teh-REY-sah); German/Polish (teh-REH-zah); French (teh-HREZ).
The name was first recorded in the 4th century as Therasia. It was borne by the wife of the ex-Roman senator turned Christian Bishop, St. Paulinus of Nola. Therasia had hailed from the Northern Region of Spain, and the name took off as Teresa in both Spain and Portugal.
Its origins are most popularly attributed to the Greek, therizo, meaning, “to harvest” or “to reap.” However, some sources believe that it might be from the Greek word theros meaning “summer” or that it is derived from the name of one of the Santorini islands. It could also very well be an old Iberian name of uncertain etymology. What is certain is that the name’s usage was confined to the Iberian Peninsula up until the 16th-century when it was made famous throughout Europe by St. Teresa of Avila, a Roman Catholic nun and mystic. She is revered as a Doctor of the Church.
In the German-speaking world, it was popularized by Habsburg, Maria Theresa (1717-1780), Empress of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
It is also borne by a 19th-century French nun, St. Thérèse de Lisieux. She is also revered as a great theologian and Doctor of the Church.
Currently, Teresa/Theresa is the 31st most popular female name in Austria, (2010), the 65th most popular in Germany (2011) and the 100th most popular in Spain, (2010). While in the United States, she comes in at a lowly # 936 (2010).
Popular English nicknames include: Trace, Tracy, Terry, Tess, Tessa, Tressie (also used as a nickname in Malta), Tress & Reese.
Other forms of the name:
- Teresa تيريزا (Albanian/Arabic/Catalan/Finnish/German/Italian/Latvian/Polish/Portuguese/Spanish)
- Terese (Basque/Norwegian/Swedish)
- Terezija (Croatian/Slovenian)
- Rezika (Croatian/Slovenian)
- Resa (Bavarian)
- Reserl (Bavarian)
- Resi (Bavarian)
- Tessa (Bavarian/English/German/Italian)
- Tereza (Bulgarian/Czech/Maltese/Portuguese-Brazilian/Romanian/Slovak)
- Teresia (Corsican/Swedish)
- Terezie (Czech)
- Thera (Dutch)
- Theresa (Dutch/German/English)
- Theresia (Dutch/German/Swedish: common Dutch nicknames are Thera and Trees)
- Tereesa/Tereese (Estonian)
- Thérèse (French)
- Tereixa (Galician)
- Terisa (German)
- Therese (German/Scandinavian)
- Theres (German/Scandinavian)
- Terézia (Hungarian/Czech/Slovak. Hungarian diminutive form is Teca)
- Teréz (Hungarian)
- Teresía (Icelandic)
- Toiréasa (Irish)
- Treasa (Irish)
- Teresiana (Italian)
- Teresina (Italian)
- Terina (Italian)
- Teresija (Latvian)
- Terēze (Latvian)
- Tèrìz (Lebanese)
- Teresė (Lithuanian:Teresijus)
- Threissya (Malayalam)
- Trezza (Maltese)
- Teresita (Spanish)
- Tessan (Swedish: traditionally a diminutive form, occasionally bestowed as an independent given name)
The designated name-day is often October 15.