Baby name consultation: Is this name okay?

Today’s consultation is for a family who has a pretty good idea of the name they’d like to use, but they just need some reassurance. The name is Anessa, a variant of Agnes, and they write,

I worry about missing something — years ago we had friends who named their daughter ‘Sarin’ only later to realize it is the name of a deadly compound in used in chemical warfare!  I think they changed it to ‘Sarah’ before the child was 1.”

Though my gut reaction was that Anessa is totally fine, and a beautiful choice!, I did give some good consideration to the question — names that are more unusual are more prone to having just one association stick, after all. I googled Anessa to see if anything weird came up — there seems to be a brand of sunscreen called Anessa, and an Asian site that have the name but I have no idea what it’s saying and even if it’s bad I can’t imagine it would be the kind of thing that would be a problem here. It seems one of the Cabbage Patch Kids from years ago was Anessa as well. Even the name sites don’t have much on the name, and you all know that any time there’s a chance for someone to voice an opinion online (especially a negative one!), people jump at the chance! So the fact that there isn’t anything controversial to read is encouraging.

It would be really helpful to get your opinions as well. Is there anything about the name Anessa that these parents should know before choosing it?


24 thoughts on “Baby name consultation: Is this name okay?

  1. I think it’s perfectly fine. I remember considering it long ago as well. The only reason we didn’t use it was because it seemed like we were simply cutting off the V to Vanessa.

    As for the friends who changed Sarin to Sarah…they could’ve gone with Seren. Same sound and Seren means star. Lovely name.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I’m reminded of an off with their heads post Laura Wattenberg wrote discussing how removing the initial constant gives new life to fading names. The name seems to be a new spin on Vanessa. I think very few people will know that Anessa is a variant of Agnes.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It is pretty. My first thought was it reminded me of the actress who played Buffy from the old tv show, Family Affair (who has a tragic story). I had to look up the spelling and she spelled it Anissa (Jones) – so different but similar. It sounds like Anissa (or Annissa) is listed as a form of Agnes, too, or a variation of Annelise or from the Greek Anice . There are some close sounding names, Anisa and Aneesa, which are Arabic/Muslim names.

    Anessa seems to be only listed with variations of Agnes – though as mentioned above I doubt most people would make that association. I think it is a sweet option for a variation on Agnes.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, I hope this one gets a birth announcement too! Dying to know what middle name they’ll pair with Anessa! I also think it’s lovely and can’t think of any reason to caution Mom & Dad beyond the usual–are there any nicknames you’d want to avoid, or initials that spell something unfortunate?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t see any problems at all with it, and I’m usually quick to voice them! Like my strong opinions about consonant elision between first and last names that got everyone up in arms in the comments sometime last year!

    I used to work with a woman whose daughter was named Anessa. It’s so pretty.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s the only issue I see. I know a little girl who has an uncommon name that is one letter off of a very popular name and people often assume her name is really just a nickname for the popular name.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. As a Vanessa with a daughter Agnes, I’m not a huge fan of this name choice as a variant of Agnes.

    Anessa is pretty, but it comes across as a variant of Vanessa or a strange Anglicization of the Polish Agnieszka. I vote that if you want to name someone Agnes using English sounds, just go with Agnes – it honestly wears well!

    Anyway – my opinion really doesn’t matter because it’s YOUR baby. So congratulations on your little one. Best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I was about to put in a word for Inessa. I love the name and it is definitely unique.
        As far as the downsides, people do tend to “hear” Vanessa when we introduce her and we have had a handful of people misspell it on that basis. For casual encounters, it doesn’t matter to me and she mostly introduces herself as Nessa anyway, which cuts down on people calling her the wrong name even if their underlying assumption of her real name is incorrect. Based on our experience, I can also see people pronouncing it with the initial long A sound rather than the short sound. Spelling it Annessa would help with that but also weaken the Anessa/Agnes link as well as looking more like a made up name, which some are sensitive to doing.
        All that to say, it is a lovely name and we’ve never regretted using it. I too am interested to see what they pair with it.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. No negative associations with this name. One of my friend’s adult step kid has this name. I’ve never heard any negative comments when the name is used. Seems like a pretty name to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I definitely echo what other people have said with the risk of it being mistaken for Vanessa a lot, especially in loud situations or on the telephone 😛 Not sure if that’s something they’ve thought about or if they care, but I know personally, it would bug me

    Liked by 1 person

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