Of uncertain origin. It was used by Sir John Vanbrugh for a character in his comedy The Provok'd Wife (1697), was taken up by Alexander Pope in The Rape of the Lock (1712), and has enjoyed a steady popularity ever since. It is not certain where Vanbrugh got the name from. The notion that it is Germanic (with a second element lind ‘soft, tender, weak’) is not well founded. In Italian literature it is the name ascribed to the wife of Orlando, vassal of Charlemagne, but this use is not supported in Germanic sources. The name may be an Italian coinage from bella ‘beautiful’ (see Bella) + the feminine name suffix -inda (compare, for example, Lucinda).