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Jesse Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

Learn about the name Jesse including the meaning, gender, origin, popularity, and more.

Jesse Overview

  • Meaning: The name Jesse means “God’s gift,” “the Lord exists,” or “king.”
  • Gender: Jesse is primarily a boy’s name, but it could also be another spelling of the female name Jessie.
  • Origin: Jesse has both English, Dutch, and Hebrew roots, as the name of the shepherd father of King David in the Bible. It is an English version of the Hebrew name “Yishai.”
  • Pronunciation: “JESS-ee.”
  • Popularity: The 165th most popular boy’s name throughout the 2010s.
  • Nicknames: Essie, Jay, Jay-Jay, Jess, JJ.
  • Variations: Jessy, Iessai, Iessi, Isai, Isaj, Ishai, Issei, Yassa.
  • Namesakes: Jesse Applegate, Jesse McCartney, Jesse Cox.

What Does Jesse Mean?

The name Jesse means “God’s gift,” “the Lord exists,” or “king.โ€

What Is the Origin of the Name Jesse?

Jesse has English, Dutch, and Hebrew roots, as the name of the shepherd father of King David in the Bible. It is an English version of the Hebrew name “Yishai”.

How Popular Is the Name Jesse?

Despite Jesse’s historical and biblical significance, it did not become a popular name until the late 1800s. Its popularity fluctuated throughout the twentieth century until it spiked in popularity in the 1970s. Jesse was also the 49th most popular boy’s name in the 1980s (1).

How Do I Pronounce Jesse?

You can pronounce the name Jesse as “JESS-ee.”

Is Jesse a Boy or Girl Name?

Jesse is primarily a boy’s name, but it also works as a different spelling of the girl’s name Jessie.

Variations of Jesse

Jesse may be a simple name, but there are a few international variations on this classic name, like:

  • Jessy (English)
  • Iessai (Greek)
  • Iessi (Italian)
  • Isai (German)
  • Isaj (Czech)
  • Ishai (Spanish)
  • Issei (Romanian)
  • Yassa (Arabic)

Nicknames for Jesse

Sometimes, it is fun or cool to give your Jesse a nickname, such as the following:

  • Essie
  • Jay
  • Jay-Jay
  • Jess
  • JJ

Similar Names to Jesse

Jesse is a great name, but sometimes you feel that a similar name will work better. You might pick from one of the following names in that case:

Middle Names for Jesse

The fun of picking any name is deciding which name sounds best after it. In the case of Jesse, some fun, cute, or cool middle names might include the following:

Sibling Names for Jesse

You can pick a bunch of names that begin with “J” or create a theme among siblings that includes the name Jesse. Whatever you choose to do, there are plenty of fun sibling names for Jesse.

For a Sister

For a Brother

Famous People Named Jesse

Although the name Jesse has not been prevalent for too long, there are several famous people with this name, such as:

  • Jesse Alto: American poker player.
  • Jesse Applegate: American pioneer and founder of the Applegate Trail.
  • Jesse Bradford: American actor.
  • Jesse D. Bright: U.S. Senator.
  • Jesse Camp: Former MTV personality.
  • Jesse Carmichael: Keyboard player for the American band Maroon 5.
  • Jesse Cox: American YouTube gamer.
  • Jesse Dylan: Son of Bob Dylan, American film director.
  • Jesse Eisenberg: American actor.
  • Jesse L. Greenstein: American astronomer.
  • Jesse Jackson: American politician, minister, and civil rights activist.
  • Jesse James: American Wild West outlaw.
  • Jesse McCartney: American singer, musician, and voice actor.
  • Jesse Metcalfe: American actor.
  • Jesse Powell: American R&B singer.
  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson: American actor.
  • Jesse Williams: American actor.
  • Jesse Ventura: American pro wrestler and governor of Minnesota.

Jesse in Popular Culture

Given Jesse’s connotation as a pretty boy’s name, you can probably think of a Jesse or two in popular culture, including:

  • Jesse “Jess” Aarons: A main character from the American novel and film Bridge to Terabithia.
  • Jesse Chambers (Liberty Belle): A DC comics superhero.
  • Jesse Duke: A character from the film and TV series The Dukes of Hazzard.
  • Jesse Fitzgerald: A character from the 2009 American drama film My Sister’s Keeper.
  • Jesse Katsopolis: Also known as Uncle Jesse, one of the main characters from the American sitcom Full House.
  • Jesse McCree: A character from the video game Overwatch.
  • Jesse Pinkman: A character from the American TV series Breaking Bad.
  • Jesse Ryan: A character in the 1998 American horror film The Rage: Carrie 2.
  • Jesse Stefanovic: A character from the Canadian TV series Degrassi: The Next Generation.
  • Jesse Tuck: A character from Natalie Babbit’s American novel Tuck Everlasting.

Jesse FAQs

Even a short name like Jesse has plenty more to unpack.

What Is the Male Name Jesse Short For?

In most cases, the male name Jesse is not short for any other name. It could be a nickname for the Spanish name Jesus.

However, for the feminine form of Jesse, it is the short version of Jessie or Jessica.

What Personality Is Jesse?

Everyone will attach a different personality to every name, but most agree that Jesse is usually outgoing and full of life.

They might be skillful athletes or vivacious leaders in whatever they do. Someone named Jesse may likely be at the center of any get-together, with lots of jokes or charm to share. They may also be inspiring individuals, able to bring a sports team to victory or better someone’s spirit.

Is Jesse an Old-Fashioned Name?

Jesse is an interesting name because it has both a modern and an old-fashioned feel.

If you read the book Tuck Everlasting for example, which takes place in the mid-1800s, there is a 104-year-old named Jesse who would have been born in the mid-1700s.

On the other hand, Jesse has a modern feel because it sounds like an attractive and powerful name for a strong athlete or fraternity leader. It sounds like a name for a high school quarterback or prom king.

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