fem. proper name, Scottish (introduced to a wider English audience in Scott's "The Pirate," 1822), from Old Norse brandr, literally "sword" or torch" (see brand (n.)). Little-used as a given name in U.S. before 1925, bot a top-30 name for girls born there 1944-1966: The popular "Brenda Starr" newspaper comic strip debuted in 1940.