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fem. proper name, from Late Latin Jesca, from Greek Ieskha, from Hebrew Yiskah, name of a daughter of Haran (Gen. xi:29). Among the top 5 popular names for girls born in the U.S. every year between 1977 and 1997. The familiar form Jessie was one of many fem. names used 20c. for "cowardly or effeminate male."