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Scriptsיִשַׁי Ancient Hebrew
PronouncedPron.JES-ee English
YES-sə Dutch

Meaning & History

From the Hebrew name יִשַׁי (Yishai) which possibly means "gift". In the Old Testament Jesse is the father of King David. It began to be used as an English given name after the Protestant Reformation. A famous bearer was Jesse James (1847-1882), an American outlaw who held up banks and stagecoaches. He was eventually shot by a fellow gang member for a reward. Another famous bearer was the American athlete Jesse Owens (1913-1980), whose real name was James Cleveland (or J. C.) Owens.
VariantJessie English
DiminutiveJess English
Other Languages & CulturesYishai Biblical Hebrew Jessé French Yishai Hebrew
Same SpellingJessé
User SubmissionJesse


athletes, biblical, black history, Charles Dickens characters, Cheers characters, Fire Emblem characters, gift, history, literature, never out of the US top 1000, Overwatch characters, The Wheel of Time characters, top 10 in the Netherlands, TV show titles, uncertain etymology, Xeno characters
Entry updated May 31, 2018   Contribute