fem. given name, invented by Sir Philip Sidney in "Arcadia," published in the 1590s; it is presumed to have been coined from Greek pan- "all" (before a labialpam-; see pan-) + meli "honey" (also the first element in Melissa; from PIE *melit-ya, suffixed form of root *melit- "honey") with the sense "all-sweetness," but this is conjecture. It was boosted by Samuel Richardson's novel "Pamela" (1741) but did not become popular until the 1920s; it was a top-20 name for girls born in the U.S. from 1947 to 1968.

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