Melissa is a given name for a female child. The name comes from the Greek word μέλισσα (melissa), "honey bee", which in turn comes from μέλι (meli), "honey". In Ireland it is sometimes used as a feminine form of the Gaelic male name Maoilíosa, which means "servant of Jesus." Melissa also refers to the plant known as lemon balm (family Lamiaceae; genus and species Melissa officinalis).
According to Greek mythology, perhaps reflecting Minoan culture in making her the daughter of a Cretan king Melissos, 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 nymphic 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.