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The baby name Melanie has been passed down through many languages over the centuries, starting with Greek and eventually making its way through Latin, French and English. While it has a dark meaning — literally — many people and characters have changed our perception of the name, including the kind and gentle Melanie Hamilton from the book “Gone with the Wind” and two saints, Melania the Elder and Melania the Younger. Today, it remains one of the most popular names for girls in the English-speaking world.

Meaning of the name Melanie:

Greek: Darkness, blackness

Origin of the name Melanie:

The name Melanie may have roots in Greek mythology. Eventually, a Latin version of the name — Melania — was adopted from the Greek people, and, by the early Middle Ages, the French adopted the name to honor Saint Melania the Younger. After the Norman Conquest, the English adopted the French spelling of the name — Melanie — and it's a name (and spelling) that's been handed down to baby girls for centuries.

Symbolism of the name Melanie:

The modern version of the name Melania was largely adopted to honor Saint Melania the Younger. She was beloved for being virtuous and devoting her life to charity.

Style of the name Melanie:

Traditional

Gender of the name Melanie:

Melanie is a girl's name.

Pronunciation of the name Melanie:

MEL-ah-nee

Number of syllables in the name Melanie:

Three

Emotion evoked from the name Melanie:

The baby name Melanie may mean “darkness,” but these days, it evokes emotions like kindness and gentility.

Alternative spellings for the name Melanie:

  • Melany
  • Melanee
  • Melaneigh
  • Melaney

Nicknames for the name Melanie:

Popularity of the name Melanie:

Melanie first broke into the top 1,000 baby names for girls in the United States in 1938, according to the Social Security Administration. By the 1960s, it was in the top 100. As of 2020, it's fallen out of favor a bit but remains beloved at number 105.

Related names for the name Melanie:

Great middle names for Melanie and their meanings:

Famous people with the name Melanie:

  • Melanie Griffith (actress)
  • Melanie Martinez (singer)
  • Melanie South (tennis player)
  • Melanie Brown (member of the musical group the Spice Girls)
  • Melanie Chisolm (member of the musical group the Spice Girls)
  • Melanie Stansbury (scientist and politician)

Melanies in popular culture:

  • Melanie(character in the book and movie “Gone with the Wind”)
  • Melanie Bush (character on the TV show “Dr. Who”)
  • Melanie Daniels (character in the movie “The Birds”)
  • Melanie Walker (character in TV show “Batman Beyond”)
  • Melanie Carmichael (character in the film “Sweet Home Alabama”)
  • Melanie Jonas (character on the soap opera “Days of Our Lives”)