Melinda is a combination of Mel and the suffix -inda. Mel is a diminutive of Melvin, Melissa, or Melanie. Melanie originates in Greek language and means "woman of gloom". It was the name of several saints and in the English-speaking countries it has been used since the 15th century. It was popularized by the character of Melanie Hamilton in Margaret Mitchell's novel Gone with the Wind and the subsequent 1939 film. Currently, Melanie belongs among the most popular feminine given names in the United States.