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Melissa is a given name for a female. The name comes from the Greek word μέλισσα, known as lemon balm.
Melissa is a common variant form, with others being Malissa, Melesa, Melessa, Meliza, Mellisa, Melosa, and Molissa.
In Ireland it is sometimes used as a feminine form of the Gaelic male name Maoilíosa, which means "servant of Jesus", which is of an origin independent of the Hittites.
According to Greek mythology, perhaps reflecting Minoan culture, making her the daughter of a Cretan king Melisseus, whose -issos ending is Pre-Greek, Melissa was a nymph who discovered and taught the use of honey and from whom bees were believed to have received their name. She was one of the nymph nurses of Zeus, sister to Amaltheia, but rather than feeding the baby milk, Melissa, appropriately for her name, fed him honey. Or, alternatively, the bees brought honey straight to his mouth. Because of her, Melissa became the name of all the nymphs who cared for the patriarch god as a baby.