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A female given name of relatively recent invention, Melinda is a combination of the initial sound Mel-, found in more traditional names of Greek origin such as Melissa ("honeysuckle") and Melanie ("dark"), and the Germanic Linda, meaning "soft" or "tender." Famous Melinda's include British model and television presenter Melinda Messenger, and Melinda Gates, wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

The name was originally invented by Hungarian playwright József Katona for use as the name of the main character's wife in his famous (1815) tragedy Bánk bán. It rapidly rose to great popularity in English-speaking countries in the mid 19th century, before all but vanishing in the early 20th century. It then rose again to extreme popularity in the late 20th century, peaking around 1970, before rapidly falling off.

Today, Melinda is not a very popular name for baby girls. In the US, it has not even made the top 1000 girls names since 2002, when a mere 189 Melindas were born in the entire US. This most likely has to do with the natural cycles of baby names. Because the name Melinda was so popular in the 1970s, there are a lot of 30- and 40-something Melindas around today, giving it the feeling of a "mom name" and thus making it not feel "contemporary" enough to give to a baby girl.

That said, in my opinion, Melinda is a mellifluous name with enduring appeal. It has already made one strong comeback from obscurity, and I feel certain it will return again to popularity in the future.

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