Friday, March 23, 2012
Odessa (oh-DESS-ah) may be a Greek name meaning "angry man" or "full of wrath," but it does have another meaning. Taken from the word odyssey, Odessa means "adventurous journey." Odessa is the female variant of Odysseus, which gives it that mythical, adventurous allure, and it was the name of a Russian port city supposedly named for the Odyssey. It is currently the 4th largest city in Ukraine, given its name by Catherine the Great, but there are many U.S. cities named Odessa as well. Maybe it's because Odessa is situated on the Black Sea, but to me the name has a nautical property. In fact, it is possible the word Odessa came from was borrowed by the Greeks and that the true meaning is "marine." So, goodbye negative meaning. Odyssa, Odessia and Odyssia are also legit spellings.
Odessa last ranked in 1959 at #959 after slowly decreasing in popularity, but it ranked every year since records started being kept. In 2010 there were only 48 baby girls named Odessa, and in 2011 there were 44. Nicknames include Odie, Dess, or Dessie. Just fyi, there were 19 baby girls named Odette in 2010, 10 named Odyssey, and 16,860 named Olivia. So Odessa makes a great alternative if you love Olivia.