Nerissa was first used by William Shakespeare for his play The Merchant of Venice (1596), possibly based on Greek Nereis (also known as Nereid) meaning “nymphs, sea sprites”, used to refer to the daughters of Nereus, the Greek god of the sea. Though the name seems to be derived from Greek neros meaning “water”, it seems more likely that comes from a pre-Greek origin.

Origin: Ancient Greek



  • Nerisa (English)
  • Neryssa (English)
  • Nerysa (English)
  • Nereida (Spanish)
  • Nereid (English)
  • Nereis (Ancient Greek)


Male forms:

  • Nereus (Ancient Greek)


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